By Rick Houser –
Have you ever had something that you were pretty sure occurred but you can’t confirm that it ever did happen? If you have then you probably understand that an unaccounted for period of time leaves a pinhole in your total life. At least that is the way it feels for me. An event happened about 63 years ago and to this day I think I can account for it, but I have nothing solid to verify it did indeed happen.
Let me go back to when I think this all happened. In about 1954 or when I was about five years old, I spent a day with my Dad as he put in a day’s work. It was late in the fall and Dad had hooked up his corn picker along with his two box-bed wagons. He hooked up our elevator that had been built out of wood and had metal wheels on it. He hooked the wagons to the back of the picker and the elevator to another tractor that our hired hand Wilbur drove. Dad put me in the first wagon and that was where I stayed during the trip.
A tractor, corn picker, and two wagons hooked together gave me the feeling that I was riding on a train. I know we went down Fruit Ridge Road but turned on to a township road and then on to a gravel trail and then we went into a field and continued riding along a fence line. That is until we came upon a farm in the middle of what felt like was a scene from another time. There was a small house and a big barn that seemed to be shaded by a few big trees. In front of the barn was a small field of corn. (Only a few acres maybe.) When we arrived, two older men, stocky in build but not more than five foot six inches in height, greeted us. They wore bib overalls and denim jackets as even though it was mild weather for the time of year it still was chilly. They smiled a lot and had rosy red cheeks from years of exposure working in the elements.
Upon our arrival Dad talked with the men for a few minutes and then sent Wilbur with the elevator to one end of that barn as I recall. Since Dad was going somewhere and I found out, he had to take me along. After just a few minutes conversation with these men, Dad began to pick their corn. I heard one man say that he was so very happy that Dad was picking it for them as they had always picked their corn by hand and they were getting too old to be able to do that any more.
The day turned into a sunny one and soon warmed up. The two men seemed happy that I was there and stayed busy finding things for me to do and look at. I think that since they were so isolated that some company was more than the norm for them and a little boy full of questions and energy was very much to their liking. As the day moved on, Dad completed picking their corn and Wilbur hauled the wagons to the elevator and unloaded them.
Once they had finished, Dad hooked all the items up and we headed back home the same way we came. Once we got all the equipment out of the field and on to the road is where my recollection of that day has ended. Maybe I fell asleep on the return back home, but more than not remembering the trip home, in all honesty I can’t confirm that the entire event ever happened. It seems like every year as we head into the harvest season, this recollection or perhaps a little boys dream reoccurs.
It has always been true that I am very good at recalling events and happenings even if they are minor. I am the one who can give all the details. Yet when it comes to this story I just told I have nothing to prove it to be true. It isn’t the event, even though it did run out of the ordinary to a degree, but I can’t tell you where this place was or who those men were, but those two men and that barn and the fence line we drove along I can see as clearly as if I saw them yesterday.
When I think back, this story always comes to me in a cloudy dreamlike state. I think I had to ask my Dad about this and if I did I don’t remember his answer that he would have given me and trust me, I listened closely to my Dad when he spoke. Just think if you couldn’t make an accounting for a day out of your life. It has bothered me and no matter how trivial the day was, it continues to haunt me.
Now here is where I will tell you I am not one to believe in ghosts or goblins or the paranormal. Our lives are what they are and what happens, happens. It is just that simple. At least it has been for the rest of my life. I hate the unexplainable and what bothers me more now is that there isn’t a soul alive today that could have been there that day other than me. I think this is why I want to confirm an answer as I am puzzled as to why something as memorable as that day continues to come back to me and cause me to question this event and its validity.
So I guess I will end this story pretty much the way I started it. Did it happen or did it not? When I think of the two men and their smiling faces, I can’t believe they came from a dream. For a place to be so secluded and difficult to get to causes me to think that, well, maybe it was a dream. So here I sit, looking back at a memory (maybe) and not a single person to run the issue past. It is to a point of torment but I will tell you this. I doubt I dreamed it. At least I don’t think I did.
Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.