(Another column from the past (2005) about the sugar beet campaign-GN)
I thought before I wrote this column that perhaps I’d already done it once and should perhaps move on. I don’t believe the average person can understand what beet harvest means to me. I use up most of my vacation time to attend the beet campaign so it’s similar to my one big vacation each year. Although I make several enjoyable new acquaintances each year, I have made solid friendships from the harvest.
After the harvest, we all met back at the R and R farms shop near Warren, Mn to talk. It’s more than a job when people don’t want it to end and we were prolonging what we’d just done by talking about. Instinctively, we all formed a little circle and took turns giving our opinions. It was a safe harvest, something we all agreed on. Everyone who walked in with two arms and two legs left with the same. No accidents on the road either. My motto is “I make my time in the field and not on the road.” What that means is I try and be efficient in the field by accomplishing my tasks in the fewest steps instead of speeding on the road. It’s about work ethic and not just mashing down on the accelerator. I think one of the best examples of this is Larry Lacoursiere from Warren, Minnesota. Larry isn’t real tall but he’s real tough. He started out driving milk truck when that meant hoisting eighty-five pound milk cans up to about chest height. He hustles like he’s in his twenties. I guess making sure he works fast in the field seems pretty easy when he compares it to lifting those milk cans.
I almost got the last load this season. It’s kind of an honor to haul in the last load of the season but was more than happy to see Larry Lacoursiere get the nod. My last shift ran a little long so honestly I was glad we’d finally found that last beet. I took one last look at the field before I left. It was bare and all the mystery was gone. You could now clearly see the little gully and the place where the jackrabbit had been hiding. I was glad it was done but it’s always just a little sad. I got home by six that night and slept from six-thirty until the next morning at five.
Harvest was done for another year. The work we’d done will now spread money throughout the area and fill our own pockets as well. The fields are bare and the memories join those from years past. All there’s left is to chisel plow it all up, maybe next year we can do it again.