Harvesters and a Groundhog Tale

February 8 – Chris has one more installment left on cleaning the basement, but we’ll change subjects temporarily for now and give you a review of our latest “Harvesters Day.”


[ Beverages for all ]

The coldest day of the week, and wouldn’t it have to be the day that the food truck made its monthly stop at our church to make food available for a long line of cars and trucks! We had heard that it was going to be very cold, so had dressed appropriately before we left home. For me, two pairs of pants, one of them especially heavy, an undershirt and a shirt and a sweater and a yellow church shirt, and then a yellow church jacket, and finally an old work jacket. Put on two pairs of socks, too. A pair of light gloves, as heavy ones would impede hand action in handling the foods.

Arriving at the church, we sat in our truck, awaiting the arrival of the big Harvesters truck, which arrived ten minutes early this time. A much smaller vehicle arrived around then too, with three youngsters from the Summit View Adventist School. Jim Willis picks them up each time and brings them over to help out. Today they seemed to have forgotten how cold it was going to be, and did not dress appropriately, and had a miserable, shivering time of it. Their efforts were much appreciated, and hopefully the March event will be warmer.


[ Papayas anyone? ]

The volunteers hurried over to the truck and began opening the doors to the apartments, bringing out the folding tables, and then lifted out the food containers and put them on the tables. What a surprise to find a whole section full of large papayas from Mexico. Many of the customers who drove through did not even know what they were.

There was another compartment full of big trays of beautiful peaches that had to be put into plastic bags, so many per family. Another compartment had a large variety of items, assorted drinks, etc.


[ An egg comparison ]

On the other side of the truck there was a compartment of very large brown eggs, close to twice the size of regular eggs. Many bags of doughnuts, yet no bread. Lots of yogurt. Each vehicle that drove past had a card on the windshield, showing the number of families that were getting food, and the volunteers had to figure out how much of each item went into that vehicle. Finally the long line came to an end, and what was left over went to the volunteers, which helped to compensate for their time and effort and transportation expenses – and possibly frostbite!

The day before had been a mild day, and we got some exercise by walking around our property. As we approached the house, we came across a dead grackle lying on the ground, with the most beautiful plumage of varying colors. Chris was anxious to take some pictures of it, but we were having problems with the camera which kept requesting fresh batteries, despite our just having put new ones in. I planned to get new ones of a different variety on Thursday, but then decided to try to recharge some that we had stored away. So I put four into a recharger plugged it in, and left it for several hours.

When I eventually put two of them into the camera, hooray, it worked again, and Chris was able to take all sorts of pictures. Some of the pictures were of old phonograph records from her collection, along with old newspaper sheets between them that advertised foods from long ago. But for some reason, those prices do not reflect the prices shown in our present newspaper ads. Prices are way up now, yet the interest rates we get on our bank funds are way down.


[ A toothy grin ]

One last story I was reminded about once again on Groundhog’s Day, about a week ago on February 2. This story actually did not happen on Groundhog’s Day, but did involve a large groundhog, many years ago. This happened when our family lived in Erie, PA. Walking out in the country one day, we found an animal’s burrow and decided it might be fun to pour water into the burrow and see what came out. What did finally emerge was a big/wet/upset groundhog!

Since we were walking along a small stream bed, happened to find an old bucket to carry the water in. It took quite a few buckets of water, but then there in the mouth of the burrow was the head of a big woodchuck. It made a dash for safety to somewhere but I grabbed it from behind by the hindquarters and managed to escape any damage by those large biting incisors. Son David came to my rescue by helping to turn the animal over so it could not bite my arm, which it was endeavoring vigorously to do. The water bucket now became a temporary cage with a board over the top.

We carried our prisoner home and put it in a wood and wire cage on the front porch, where it sat morosely chomping its teeth instead of us. Next morning the cage was empty, having been chewed apart overnight. This escapee may have been the forerunner of the woodchuck family that had their den in the far backyard and would periodically raid our garden. They had many happy Groundhog Days in following years, eating our bean plants there. – DALE

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