2001 was the first year I reported on the sugar beet harvest of the
Red River Valley although 1991 was my first year in a truck. I don’t
know how many years I have to put in before driving or reporting is a
tradition but I’m calling it-it is tradition.
We are only in the pre-piling stage today. We haul a small portion
of each field to the sugar beet dump so that those green Transystems
trucks can pick the beets up and haul them into the factory. During
pre-pile we harvest the headlands (which are located at the ends of
the field) so that when it comes harvest time, there is somewhere to
turn around and park vehicles. This mini harvest gives everyone a
chance to run their equipment and fix weaknesses. I work for R and R
Farms near Warren and they have their act wired pretty tight so they
experience few breakdowns.
At times, there are some delays at the satellite location where we
dump the beets. If we are to have delays, pre-pile is the time to do
it. I took a little time during a fairly long breakdown to type some
of my most introspective thoughts into my cell phone; here is an
edited sampling in quotes with explanations.
“I wonder if the carbon monoxide coming from the truck next to me
will kill me, should I get out of my truck?” (we wait in line side by
side in order to save room, you can smell exhaust from the next truck
if the wind is right)
(after sitting in the truck for two hours at the same temperature I
use to make beef jerky) “Am I going insane? Or are the sane people
the ones who question their own sanity whereas the people who are
insane are the ones who feel they are doing fine?”
“Should I call home and check for messages again or will Lisa see it
and wonder why what weirdo needs to check messages every hour.”
(intense boredom will make checking for non-existent messages seem
interesting and fun)
“Should I check the temperature yet again on my phone? Will it be any
different” (temperature doesn’t matter, it is the process which
relieves the boredom of camping out in my truck waiting to dump beets)
We pre-piled in Warren and O’Meara this week and will go to Alvarado
next; O’Meara is the beet piling station straight south of Sherrack.
It was good to see my old buds and use their bathroom (long trip from
home) as I have each morning for the last many years. Ed, John, Joe,
Mike, Eldon, Hoss,Will, Dustin, Richie, Joey, Dean, Dean, Heath and
Sammy are all doing great and if I forgot a name it is due to carbon
monoxide poisoning or, possibly, age. One voice I haven’t heard yet
is that of the father time of beet harvesting, Larry Pete. I am
writing this column just prior to our last day in Warren so maybe I
will see him today. I’ll let you know come harvest October first.
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