1938 was an especially memorable year for me. I was eighteen years of age. First of all, it was a time of spiritual enlightenment. In the midst of the struggles of my teenage years, I was troubled about my relationship with God, in the light of guilt for sin. My close friend, Allen Bond, had left home to escape what he considered religious restraints. He hitchhiked to New Jersey. There he was converted and returned home as an enthusiastic witness for the Gospel. He brought me to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, for which I am happily indebted to him. That year the Nortonville church hosted Youth Conference for Midwestern church youth. That was an inspirational experience for me.
I graduated from high school in the spring of 1938. I agreed that I would stay at home and work on the farm until financially able to go to college. That was in January 1941.
Fall was a wonderful season in Kansas. Summer heat was broken, the corn had ripened and crops were taken in to prepare for the winter. I remember the rustle of dry corn leaves, gray and cloudy skies in the north, shorter daylight hours, and flocks of Canadian geese heading south. Late September and early October we listened to the weather news. We would hear that Denver had snow, and we began to expect colder weather. That signaled time to start husking corn.
The drought years ended in 1938, and we had a bumper crop that year. Dad put Charles and me to husking corn off the standing stalks. Our wagon had high sideboards on one side, and as we shucked the ears out of the husk, we threw them against the board, and the ears fell into the wagon. We wore inexpensive cotton gloves, with a hook attached to a metal plate, which was secured to our left hand palm by leather straps. These pulled the husks loose so that we could snap the ears out. I would walk a little ahead of Charles doing the first row and helping on the second row as necessary. Charles did the second and third row. Rarely would I catch an ear on the side of the head!
We worked early and late in all kinds of weather in the fall of 1940. We got to the field a mile from home soon after sunup and unloaded the last load for the day after dark in the evening. We would see the school bus on which younger brother Bob rode to Effingham.
I stayed on the farm until harvest was over in the fall of 1940. Charles and I finished husking just afternoon at the Ashley Riley farm about two and a half miles from home. I remember the relief as we rode home on the wagon load of corn. We enjoyed a late Thanksgiving dinner with Dad and Mom.
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