Perched high above the road, the wind cooled my reddening face and tangled my blond bowl-cut hair that I was not quite old enough to be embarrassed by. I was only 5 years old, but I loved riding in my special spot high on top of the carefully loaded apple boxes that had been roped down on the trailer. Every few minutes my Grandpa turned in his seat on the old, underpowered tractor, looked up, smiled and yelled something over his shoulder at me. Then, laughing, he looked forward again to guide the tractor onto the shoulder to allow another vehicle to pass. I could never figure out what he had said. I expect he knew I could not hear him over the wind and the roar of the tractor as it strained under the heavy load at the breakneck speed of 30 mph (50 kph). The usually orchard-bound Massey-Ferguson was unaccustomed to traveling in 5th gear on paved surfaces, as it only made these journeys each year at harvest time.
Despite the obvious truth to the contrary, I felt a part of a critically important chain of commerce. Somehow, when I would be invited along, even if my Mom sometimes did not approve of my precarious placement on top of the loaded trailer, it seemed my Grandpa was offering me a partnership. Somehow, I played a significant, if undefined, role in this red apple business. In those days, what others classified as work was to me adventure. Everyday held endless opportunities for exploration, whether bouncing over furrows in the small orchard, pretending to drive the tractor while balanced on Grandpa’s knee, “helping” him find brown eggs in the chicken coop or trying to squeeze milk from the uncooperative cows in the barn. Everyday was a kaleidoscope of new sights, sounds, tastes and smells. I never remember being bored with Grandpa, or he with me.