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View from the Cab: Rows of Memories

The Casson cousins walk beans at Grandpa's one final time.

Pulling a few weeds in the field the other day took me back to my younger days of walking beans.

This was not everyone’s favorite chore back in the day but it sure does bring back memories. Somehow, going up and down the rows doesn’t seem so appealing to me as it used to. I guess back then, I wasn’t the only one doing it since my brother and cousins would often accompany me to the field.

I recall waking by 6 a.m., putting on work jeans and shoes and heading out into the wet soybean plants while the dew was still fresh. My legs were completely soaked by 8 a.m. and there was no turning back. Casual conversation and 1990s tunes from a Sony Walkman did seem to make time pass a little quicker. Each field was a surprise since we didn’t know which location Grandpa would drop us off at next.

A mid-morning break sitting in the ditch was perfect on a late July or early August day. You could gaze up at the blue sky and count all of the clouds if there were any that day. Walking beans also provided a good math lesson for all involved since we each had to count a certain number of rows to our left and right. I’m sure some were more accurate counters of rows than others. Some were probably more accurate weed pullers than others, too.

Times really changed when we got the Weber Weeder, also referred to as a “bean walker.” This was top notch stuff at the time since we no longer had to walk the entire row. We could simply ride this machine with a small Briggs and Stratton engine on it to arrive at the weed patches much quicker. It even had a place to put water jugs and hand sprayers!

My cousins and I relived some of those old bean walking memories last year following Grandpa’s funeral. We made a sad occasion into a most memorable one as we strolled out into Grandpa’s soybean field west of Fairbury for old time’s sake. It was a beautiful summer day with not one cloud in the sky, much like those days walking beans during my youth except Grandpa wasn’t there to drop us off at the next field.

(The View from the Cab blog is powered each week by Petersen Motors in Fairbury)

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