The Summer of '62; Episode 60


The next day Rich was up early. Mr. Larsen and Mrs. Larsen had already gone to work. Uncle Bob had to harvest beans at another farm. Before leaving he gave Rich orders to disc a field. It had to be ready to plant winter wheat.
Rich said nothing to him. He stopped replying to Uncle Bob. He was only going to follow orders and that was it. He resented Uncle Bob telling him to do anything.
Like many men of that era who ordered others to do something he never instructed how to do it, then complained and belittled the person because it was not done correctly. Men like that rule with the assumption that others are eager to please. There is little doubt he learned it from his father, but Rich had no intention or desire to please Uncle Bob He was determined not to take another order from him.
Rich did not understand him. He was a man who hated work. He loved to tinker with electronic things, but nothing that really accomplished anything. His tinkering amounted to hours of trial and error, not really learning from either. Work to him was drudgery and everybody else should feel his disdain. If Rich found an easy way to accomplish a task he would have to do it the hard way to satisfy Uncle Bob, because work was drudgery – after all. If it’s not drudgery, it’s not really work. Work and accomplishment were not supposed to be exhilarating or satisfying.
By 8:00 AM Rich had hitched the discs to the tractor and headed to the field. It was easy work. Rich just drove the tractor up and down the fields until the furls left by the plow were smoothed. It was mindless work. It gave him time to think about recent events and what he might do. Nothing was really resolved.
Instead of the usual gear employed by Uncle Bob, Rich shifted up one more. He was now at the speed he witnessed other farmers disc.
Later Uncle Bob came home for lunch
Rich asked Uncle Bob on his way from the garage to the house, “Can I do another field tomorrow?”
Uncle Bob asked skeptically, “Did you get the field done that I asked you to do?”
I was done by noon,” Rich replied happy with the accomplishment and eager for a compliment.
It should have taken all day if you did it right,” Uncle Bob said.
It's a small field and I decided not to take two hours off for lunch,” Rich replied sarcastically. “I don’t need to watch soap operas.” (a reference to Uncle Bob's typical 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM lunch break)
Uncle Bob glared and marched toward the field. He dug his fists into his sides as he stood and inspected work. He returned and said, “Got to do it over.”
It looks the same as the field next to it that you did,” Rich pleaded for him to recognize the obvious.
He said nothing.
Go ahead look for yourself,” Rich said flinging his arm in the direction of the field.
Uncle Bob shook is head and looked as if he were going to say something, but he turned away and stomped off to the house.
The next morning Rich got up and disked the field again.
Rich unhitched the tractor and parked it in the barn. Uncle Bob stood at the edge of the barnyard looking at the field Rich just finished. Rich walked up and stood beside him. “Is it the fact I got it done too quick and enjoyed doing it that bothers you or did I really do a bad job?”
Rich waited for a replay. When it was obvious Uncle Bob had nothing to say Rich pressed his lips and sauntered to the house.
Uncle Bob was not used to that sort of retaliation. It required thought and not vacant emotion, vengeance, or prejudice.

Later Mrs. Larsen chastised Rich for his impertinence. He was not apologetic nor ashamed; actually he hid his amusement.