On this Monday of Spring Break my thoughts go back nearly 50 years to the first Spring Break that I was considered old enough to do some real work. These memories are quite clear.
My great-uncle, Gordon Galbraith needed some help on his farm. I was hired for the five days of Spring Break. The main task was “picking rocks”. More precisely, “picking up rocks”. The winter cold has a way of pushing buried rocks to the surface. There was a bumper crop that year. Uncle Gordon would drive his tractor, hitched to a flat bed trailer and I would toss the rocks in.
I remember at one point some digging was necessary. I knew my way around a pick and a shovel. My dad had taught me. Eager to impress, I started digging furiously. Uncle Gordon stopped me. He told me I wouldn’t last until noon working like that. There was no need to be in such a hurry. Slow and steady beats fast and furious every time.
My clearest memory is being trusted to drive his tractor. My first driving experience. Where we were working was flat, so I got in the habit of using the clutch to coast to a stop. Then at the end of the day, I got to drive the tractor home with Uncle Gordon standing up and holding on for dear life behind me. He farmed on the plain above his house. A steep, winding road took us home. The tractor was going a little fast for all the bumps and curves. Uncle Gordon told me to slow down. I used the clutch. On the flat that had worked fine. But not on this steep downhill grade. We were going faster. How could that be? He yelled, “the brake!” I tried to remember which pedal that was. Eventually I must have figured it out, because we didn’t die.
Gordon Galbraith has been gone for almost 16 years. His kids kept the land in the family until it was sold last fall. My kids have many memories of adventures on the Galbraith property. Thanks for the opportunity to share some of mine with you.
Farmers are in their fields. Maybe some of them are using kids on Spring Break to help. Many of you are in your yards. There’s lots of outside work when spring comes. What a blessing to be part of what God is doing as nature comes back to life! I love working in my yard. But I learned long ago that Uncle Gordon was right. Slow and steady beats fast and furious every time.