« NodakJack Sunday

Here, it's BEET HARVEST. Back in my day, it was SPUD HARVEST!

by Jack Sunday

This time of year brings back memories of World Series past, Spud Harvest and pomegranates.  I grew up in southeast Idaho, or as we said it, "POTATO COUNTRY."  The schools allowed students and teachers to take part in harvest by closing down for a week, or ten-days, depending on weather.  The kids that didn't work the harvest called the time off "Spud Vacation."  The rest of us called it "Spud Harvest." Even as young boys, they had something for us to do.  I mostly "picked spuds."  We'd filled baskets and empty them into gunny sacks which would be picked up by kids that were older and stronger.  They were "buckin' spuds" onto the back of a trailer.  I don't know if "bucking" was a regional phrase or a real term, but, it meant lifting 100 pound bags onto a moving trailer.  I finally got old and big enough to do it, but technology and combines replaced me.  I think us kids earned something like 7-cents a bag.  We'd always pack a lunch and eat out in the open at lunch time.  And, if we were really lucky someone would have a transistor radio by which we listened to the World Series!  Baseball and pickin' spuds go together.

But, why did I mention pomegranates back in the first sentence?  Well, back then, it seems, pomegranates, the bright red seed-filled fruit was not available all year long like now.  Heck, they grow 'em everywhere. It used to be we got them from Greece.  Now, they probably grow them in Graceville.  But, around spud harvest/world series time, pomegranates would show up at John's Grocery in my hometown.  We'd spend some of our spud money to buy one.  Then, we'd dig into the juicy mess and come away with red, sticky stains over most of our faces, hands, pants and each other.  What a mess.  

Back to Spud Harvest:  After we got our final check, most of my friends would use the money for school clothes, pomegranates and a pop and hamburger at The Spudman Bar.  We never got rich at it, but all of us have that story in our back pocket.