First crop hay is always the thickest, best crop for cutting. Timing is critical. Bale too late, the flakes fall off. Bale too soon, it molds. Dad was always antsy and a nervous wreck. What if it rained? What is the wind blew too hard? Farming is an emotional rollercoaster.
Dad started that spring by cutting the back pasture near the corrals and house and working toward the bottom field. I took him a quart bottle of ice water and climbed on the tractor with him. I noticed my eyes itched and I let out a sneeze. The scent of hay was especially strong this year with the thick stand and my allergies had kicked in.
Every time we made a round, I waved to my mom who was washing clothes with the old wringer washer. She had just hung one of Dad’s blue work shirts on the clothesline when I began to really itch. I gave a wave and then rubbed my eyes with the backs of my hands. My vision blurred.
I waited for Dad to make another round. “I think I had better go to the house now,” I said trying to blink my vision clear.
Dad swallowed the last of the water and asked me to bring more when he got down to the middle section. He stopped the tractor, and I hopped off. I felt peculiar but didn’t say anything. I headed for the house, my sight getting blurrier with every step. I tried to wipe my eyes again, but nothing happened. I was completely blind. I didn’t realize my eyelids had swollen shut. Darkness surrounded me. I didn’t understand what had happened. I called to Mom, but she didn’t answer. Dad couldn’t hear me with the tractor running.
I knew a barbed-wire fence was on my left. I didn’t want to get entangled with it, but I needed to work my way up the fence in order to get to the house. I had dealt with allergies before but nothing like this. I felt alone, lost and frightened. I wanted to curl up in a fetal position and cry, but I continued to stumble my way toward the house.
Suddenly, hands touched me. “What’s wrong?” Mom asked. “I saw you stumbling around.” She gasped. “Your eyes!”
Tears stung my already burning eyes. I clung to Mom, sagging against her in the beautiful comfort of her touch. I just wanted to stand there with her arms around me, feeling comforted and safe. She took my arm and guided me toward the house. Once inside, she sat me down on the couch and retrieved a cold ice pack for my eyes.
I heard the back screen door slam and pounding boots across the floor.
“What's happened?” Dad yelled. “I saw you both from the field.”
I could hear the concern in his voice. I smiled and sighed, feeling loved, cared for, protected…and as blind as a bat.
Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at: http://www.dragonflyromance.com