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When harvest-time came he would piece together his old one-row corn picker and oil it up for the season. It had seen many seasons. He pulled it behind a little Ford 9-N and hooked a wagon on the back. It was a noisy contraption unlike these huge modern green monsters you see shaving the grain off wide, flat fields in wide gulps these days.
His whole operation was like that. Basic. His life was like that, too. He worked hard, helped others and you could count on him keep his promises. That's what made it so hard one autumn when time and responsibilities and difficult circumstances closed in on him. He needed to harvest a few acres of his own corn. He also promised to harvest a few ribbons of corn that wound around the hills on a friend's farm, too. Problems came. First equipment trouble. Usually he was able to fabricate something or rig the equipment so the job could be done but after he had harvested his own corn his little corn picker coughed, sputtered and quit. It was out of use until a special part came from distant lands and that would be too late to help his year. Then the equipment problem was followed by a time problem. The factory had orders to fill and began to require overtime. He was leaving the farm before light and arriving home after dark.
He sat at the kitchen table and nursed a cup of awful coffee while he wondered aloud what to do. His wife said that there was simply nothing he could do. He would have to tell his friend that he couldn't help with his corn. He thought long and the idea didn't set well with him. His friend was depending on him. "If you don't have the equipment, you just can't do it," his wife said. "Well, I could do it the way we used to do it. I could harvest it by hand." "You don't have time to do that with the overtime, besides it would be dark."
He consulted the Farmer's Almanac. Late in October there would be another full moon. It is called the harvest moon because it gives farmers more light and increases their harvest time. If the Lord gives us clear weather, I think I can do it.
And he did. The weather was cold and clear and the moon was brilliant. After work he made his way to the field and his wife met him in the truck with dinner and a thermos of more of the awful, strong, black coffee. Then he worked through the night to keep his word.
Late one autumn in 1958 he had a grandson. He and his wife got in their car and drove across the state to see him. They would share the same name. Kenneth Pierpont.
I know this story well, because the farmer was my grandfather. I'm proud to have the same name as he did. I've spent hours on the fender of the tractor with my grandpa. I've even suffered through some of that same awful coffee. But I had never heard about this incident until I was having a talk with my grandmother one day about values she and grandpa believed very deeply in. Hard work, and keeping your promises.
My grandpa did work hard and keep his promises. He also loved his family. I am proud to have his name. Sometimes, when I am tempted to cut corners or defer responsibilities, I think of my grandfather out under the harvest moon bending low and swinging his sharp corn-knife in a wide arch. I can hear the thump of ears of corn hitting the floor of the wagon and the music of geese honking their way across the cold October sky against the brilliance of the harvest moon.
In the dark early hours of the morning, when his work was done He crawled his tired body up in to the seat of the old tractor and made his way home. Behind him in the pale moonlight, I can see row after row of corn shocks standing at attention in respect for a man who keeps his word.
Write Ken and let him know your thoughts on his story!
I'm Ken Pierpont. I speak, sing, and write to inspire others. I mentor people and organize things and do what needs to me done to support my story-telling habit. I am not above telling stories for food.
I have been married to Lois, my college sweetheart since 1979. We have eight children, four sons and four daughters. We live near Chicago in Hinsdale, Illinois where I work for the Institute in Basic Life Principles. (www.iblp.org)
On the weekends we are free to minister in Churches within driving distance. My goal in life is to communicate truth about Jesus Christ and demonstrate that truth in my own life and family every day.
Ken sends the Stonebridge Newsletter, a free weekly electronic newsletter, to over 5,000 subscribers every Monday morning. You can visit his site http://www.kenpierpont.com
"There is one thing alone that stands the brunt of life throughout its length: a quiet conscience." --Euripides
"If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God." --1 John 3:21
A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five
"In an effort to insure my children's tomorrows, I have lost their todays." --Danny Thomas
"Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good." --Joe Paterno
"A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer." --Karl Kraus
"When I was born I was so surprised I didn't talk for a year and a half."
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This Week: "Water Walking" by Jeff Williams
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I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever!
Let me make you a video from your photos!