Dreams, Dreams, Dreams

There has to be a formula for what a person does to stimulate dreams, like eating a particular food or drinking a specific beverage. In my case, none of that is key. Although I know I dream if I eat late or drink too much. Last night was no exception. I drank the exact wine I always drink, in the same quantity. I ate the same portions for supper, but I had a milkshake with Lovely. If it was the milkshake, then the dreams were somewhat happy. The theater of my mind showed films of times past when I was young and still in college. The scene occurred in a field on the International Harvester Research Farm during a summer internship 1958.

A group of starched white shirt IH executives came to the field to watch a demonstration of a new machine called a hay crusher. The function of the crusher was to split the stem of green hay. Lab experiments proved that doing so would speed the drying process and allow the hay to be baled much sooner and with more nutrients preserved. My part was the least important of the execs and engineers. I drove the Farmall 560 tractor with the crusher attached over a windrow of newly cut hay. I made one pass, and the crowd of white shirts all ran to the crushed hay to pick up a handful for first-hand observation. A consensus was that the machine did a credible job of crushing. Then, one of the higher white shirts asked, “What happens if a farmer runs the machine through a muddy field? Won’t the mud mixed with hay plug the machine and jam things up?” One of the lower white shirts asked me to drive down to the creek with a five-gallon bucket and to fill it with mushy mud.” I did as requested and returned. The highest white shirt himself spread the mushy mud along the top of the windrow of newly mown hay. He wouldn’t be ambushed by some youngster who improperly applied mud. My direct supervisor took me aside and told me to drive to the end of the row and proceed forward upon signal in fifth gear and at max throttle. (At this point, I must explain that the hay crusher was a simple device consisting of two counter-rotating rollers: one was smooth, and the other was a cylinder with a series of ridges welded to it. The hay fed through the rollers was crimped and crushed between the rollers.)

I sat on the Farmall 560 at the end of the row, waiting for the signal to advance. Then, it happened: the top white shirt dropped his hand holding a white handkerchief, and I moved the throttle lever to full speed ahead and hung on for dear life. The tractor built speed and bumped down the windrow, crushing hay. As I hit the muddy section at full speed, the tractor never slowed, but mushy mud hit my back and flew all over. White shirts ran in all directions to get out of the line of fire as the counter-rotating rollers were slinging mud far and wide. I wanted to laugh but feared for my job instead. It was a successful demonstration, and no one got hurt, but they sure got dirty. The dream ended because I woke myself laughing out loud.

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