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The Kansas Plowboy

Story ID:6129
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:retired
Story type:Poem
Location:Hemet CA USA
Year:1939
Person:Plowboy, Chelsea Kansas Kid
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The Kansas Plowboy

The “Plow Boy”

I don’t see how
I did the things I did
Day after day
When I was a kid

I would sit on that
Old hot Iron seat
On that tractor
In the summer heat

For twelve to fourteen hours
Every day for a week
With hot floor of iron
Cooking my feet.

No head cover but my straw hat
And of course no shirt
With the lugs of the iron wheels
Kicking up clouds of dirt.

No muffler just a straight stack
No ear plugs, none of that
The noise of the engine
Fighting clouds of crazy gnats.

When Dad picked me up at Sundown
And as I rode back home
I could barely hear Dad talking
In my ears just a muted monotone.

The monotony was unbelievable
After a few hours each dirt clod
Looked the same
While you are trying not to nod

Off to sleep
That’s not good, you know
To fall in front of a
Moving plow

So you fight the noise and monotony
And the burning sun
The thing that’s in your mind
“Let’s gitter dun”

If a summer shower came up
Mixed in with some hail
Under the tractor
You’d bail

With the cracking of the lightening,
And the roar of thunder
You hoped it didn’t strike the tractor
That you were huddling under.

Until the storm was over
Then back to that wet seat
Chilled from the hail
Waiting for the summer heat

To warm your chilled body
The temp from 105 to 60 a radical change
That was almost a daily occurrence
Out here while plowing on the range

Now back in the furrow
That loud engine roaring in my ears
Summer thunderstorm over
Back to the monotony I fear

Funny how I survived these old times
With thousands of other farm kids
We had only one thing to do
That was to do the thing we did.

Monte L. Manka 7-2-10

The picture is me on the Hart Parr Tractor. Dad had it put on rubber tires and a canvas canopy after a few years --Whoopee??? Monte