Prairie Memories by Gary Heintz: Rockin’ in the sixties
My wrist ached. I was afraid to tell my folks, fearing a trip to the doctor and spending next year’s basketball season with my right wrist in a cast. I had jammed it early in the spring, and there was definitely a bone broken or out of place. Shooting a basketball was painful, but I kept that fact to myself.
Bollweg Construction provided summer jobs for local boys when I was in high school (back before child labor laws were so strict). We tore down several old buildings on Harrold’s main street, hauled grain and cleared rock from fallow fields. I struggled all summer, working with my painful wrist, trying to ignore the inevitable trip to the doctor.
Late Fall found us rocking fields near Agar. We would gather at Bollweg’s at 7:00 in the morning, two of the older kids jumping in the cab of the pickup with Don, and the remaining four of us climbing in the pickup box for the chilly ride to Agar. When we got there, one of the boys would drive the dump truck with a stone boat hitched to the back, and the rest of us would walk the field, picking up small rocks and tossing them into the bed of the dump truck and rolling larger rocks onto the stone boat.
The highlight of a day was if we found a big rock buried in the field. We would tell Don about it, and the excavation process started with two of us digging a trench alongside the rock so Don could drill several holes to insert dynamite in. At the end of the day we would sit at the edge of the field and Don would touch the charge off, sending the rock pieces flying through the air, resulting in our cheers of delight. It may not have been the easiest way to dig out a rock, but it was sure the most exciting for teenage boys.
One time we found a rock the size of a Volkswagen, completely buried. Two of us dug for much of the morning to make room for Don to drill his holes. We were all excited about the prospect of this rock being dynamited. As we made rounds picking rock, we kept an eye on his drilling progress. At the end of the day, we inspected his work. Charges had been set low in the rock, many more than Don would normally set. We drove to the far corner of the field, wanting to be safe, not knowing what to expect. When he set the charge off, the ground shook, there was a muffled roar, and the rock, all in one piece, came hurtling twenty feet into the air, landing 15 yards away. We cheered and laughed to exhaustion.
The last week of rocking was about over, just a few more passes around the field would do it. I picked up a rock about the size of a football, and walked it over to the dump truck. I was too tired to walk to the rear of the truck to lift it in, so I chucked it over the side like a shot putter would. As I released the rock, I felt something snap in my wrist. The pain was gone! The bone was back in place! No doctor and no cast! I smiled all the way home. The old saying “hard work never hurt anybody” is true. In my case, it “putt” me back into shape!