For the next two weeks Jack’s life became bouncing across the blue stubble hanging onto the tractor’s seat, eating in a hurry at home or in the field and sleeping like a dead man. The only moments of note were when something fell off the tractor or plough and needed repair. Toby’s little wire feed welder used half a tank of gas during those two weeks and Jack got pretty good at some basic welding techniques. Jack’s friends made plans for the first days of school and enjoyed their last days of freedom but as every hour passed Jack computed the money that would be added to his car fund and how far away he was getting from having to drive a nineteen ninety one Ford pick up truck. Everyday the field became less blue and more brown. Jack’s pores filled with the brown dirt that held the secret of the blue stocks and red grain. He could feel himself becoming healthier and stronger as he spent long days immersed in the unique square of land.
“Just grind a little more of that rust from the edges and I think it will be ready to weld,” Toby said pointing to a spot Jack had missed. Jack moved the grinder to the spot and cleaned the rust off the metal.
“I’m going to miss this,” Jack said giving Toby’s field a general wave.
“Like I said every Saturday I’ll have something for you to do. And all the vacations you want to fill,” Toby added with a grin.
“There is something about not only being on this land everyday but being covered with it,” Jack blew some of the dust off his arm as a visual aid.
“I suppose we are the only two people on earth who know that feeling,” said Toby sitting down on the ground with his back against one of the tractor’s rear tires. Jack clamped the two broken pieces of metal together and prepared to start up the welder.
“It’s a combination of the hard work, your company, and whatever it is that this dirt does; but I’ve enjoyed this time I’ve spent on your land just about as much as anything I’ve ever done.”
“So you haven’t kissed Ellen yet?” Toby said with a laugh.
“Haven’t had time, but it’s gonna happen,” Jack said with a confidence that made Toby believe him. Jack’s eyes went kind of spacey, “She’s just about the prettiest thing.”
“Well, stop by the house on your way out tonight. I want you to have at least one Saturday off before you start school next week. I can finish up whatever is left.” Jack finished the welds and plowed the field until he could no longer see and then pushed into the night following the dim light the tractor’s headlights produced for an hour. It was ten thirty and dark night before he gave up the thought of finishing his task and headed the little tractor toward the barn.