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My Field of Gold This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

“There’s the type of people who choose to be a farmer, and there’s the type of people who are born farmers,” my grandpa always said. I did not pick to live where I live, learn the trades, or be a farmer, but I would not trade it for any other way of life. Since the day I was born, I watched my dad’s and grandpa’s every move. I have witnessed how farming is not just a job or a business but a trade that takes many years of experience.

Throughout my childhood on the farm, my grandpa was the boss, and my dad was considered “the help.” Although my dad wasn’t far from the boss, my grandpa was still in charge. For example, I remember the vivid conversations between them: “No, that is wrong; it needs to be done this way!” my grandpa would say with my dad’s response, “Whatever, we’ll do it your way!” Throughout these intense arguments, I would innocently stand and watch as a bystander, but I knew one day I would probably be in the same arguments with my dad. Along with the immature or even important arguments, I learned to sense the type of vibe there was with my dad and grandpa: calm, intense, or a mood that seemed as if cuss words were their only known vocabulary. The intensity intensified when something broke on the equipment. I exquisitely remember specific moments that I would hear something such as a quick clunk of some sort, and nerves would quickly tinkle to my brain. I would find myself saying, ‘Oh boy, here we go again,’ so I would basically start praying that nothing unordinary happened because I didn’t want to hear “the bosses” argue.

When I was really little, I could only ride in the tractor and combine. The combine was my favorite to ride in because of its enormous mass. Sometimes my dad or grandpa would let me sit on his lap and drive. When they let me be behind the cold, vinyl wheel of such a mammoth piece of equipment, I felt as I were all-powerful. Looking down through the vast, dusty windshield of the cab, I could see anything that the machine pulverized and then inhaled through the muscular throat. I loved the rhythmic sound of the combine’s head repeatedly clunking and grinding anything it wanted like an enormous blender, while the shiny black reel raked in the stalks with its razor sharp teeth, and the red auger that shows bare metal due too much use, corralled everything to the center. When I sat on my grandpa’s and dad’s laps, they would retake the wheel only when the combine needed turned around or grain needed dumped in the wagons at the ends of the field.

One mid-temperature fall day when the trees were almost bare but still had a pinch of their luminescent, yellow, orange, and red leaves, it was upon me that I had aged enough, so my dad let me dump the grain into the wagon all by myself, of course with his watching me. As I dumped the precious, vibrant grain into the wagon, in my head at that moment I pleaded with myself, ‘Don’t miss the wagon! Don’t miss the wagon! Don’t miss the wagon!’ I was afraid the grain would flow all over the ground which I had seen my dad and grandpa do before, and I didn’t want my first independence of driving the combine to be destroyed by a mistake. As I grew even older, my grandpa and dad trusted me more and more, so soon I drove the combine, hauled wagons, and did almost everything they do all by myself. I felt more independent.

Eventually, my dad became the boss of the farm after all the years of watching and learning from my grandpa. My grandpa then passed away, and I am repeating the life-long cycle of learning the trade, like the importance of good yields and avoiding careless mistakes. When we are finished with a certain field and have all the tickets from the elevator, I always ask my dad, ‘What did the field yield?’ To my dad this time is a bit stressful, for he has the fear that the field yielded terribly, which means there will be no money to be made. Being careful with the machinery is also important. Time after time, my dad lectures, “Make sure you put the auger in!” if the auger of the combine smacks an electrical poll, tree, or another object, damage can be done. Luckily, I have never done this, but I have seen it happen. When the auger hit a pole with a terrifying crunch on impact, the metal was mangled like a crumpled piece of paper. I have never set foot in the combine and not heard this famous warning speech from my dad.

Have I chosen to be a farmer, or was I born a farmer? Well, the only way to answer my grandpa’s question is to capture the priceless moments while farming when the sunset never fails to produce a peaceful evening while harvesting the field of gold, when the bright colors of the setting sun glare on the burning color of the field, and when the freshly captured grain flows into the deep wagons, like water of gold as the wagons become heaped over to the top. I would never give these moments up for anything. I was for sure born a farmer.



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