Chapter 31 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part III

Great Blunder and a Gentle Rebuke



Half way through the afternoon I noticed that the tractor was running low on fuel. Harry had gone to town to get some supplies. So I took matters into my own hands and drove the tractor to one of the nearest fuel tanks. They stood high above the ground on sturdy metal legs, letting gravity do the work. After I was done filling up, I restarted the tractor and headed back to the nearest fence post. While I was driving, I detected an acrid smell in the air that I had not noticed before. Heavy black smoke belched out of the vertical exhaust pipe. The engine began to stutter and threatened to stall. Panic stricken I immediately turned off the ignition. At that very moment Harry had returned from town and parked his truck right beside me. From a mile away he had seen the ominous smoky telltale that there was something seriously wrong with his tractor.

“What did you do?” he asked.

“The tractor was low on fuel, so I decided to gas up,” I replied.

“Which storage tank did you use?”

I was getting a bit alarmed by Harry’s questions. Sensing that I might have done something wrong, I answered rather timidly, ”From the one nearest to us.”

“Well, Peter,” he began calmly explaining without the slightest trace of anger in his voice, “this is a gas driven tractor. You just refilled it with diesel. You did well in turning off the engine. You could have damaged it, you know.”

We spent the rest of the afternoon draining the tractor tank and refueling it with gasoline. On startup dark sooty smoke was still spreading its foul stench into the air, but after a few more minutes the oil had been cleared from the internal parts. The engine was chugging along again at its regular smooth rhythm. How grateful I was to Harry for letting me carry on the next morning in spite of my blunder at the fuelling station!


Peter Pulling out Fence Post the Easy Way

At the end of the week I had pulled out all the posts, had loaded them on a utility trailer and had hauled them away. I was beaming with pride, when Harry entrusted me with a much more challenging task I was supposed to start on the following Monday. With the removal of the old posts I thought I had merely cleared away an eyesore, which would in fact be very low on a wheat farmer’s priority list. Rather I had created some more space for the expansion of the existing wheat field. Harry had already plowed that part and said that my job would be to drag the harrow over it to break up the clods and remove the weeds. For that he added he would let me use the brand new John Deer tractor. It goes without saying I was absolutely delighted about my latest assignment.


The Immense Wheat Field behind the John Deer Tractor

Anyone who ever stood in front of a wheat field so large that one could not see where it ended would understand my fascination about the mysterious way the wind was playing with each individual stalk to create the illusion of waves swirling over the giant expanse in front of me. Unlike an ocean wave, where the water molecules bob up and down and actually never move forward except at the surf near the beach, a wheat wave consists of myriads of stalks swaying in the wind following in faithful synchrony its force and direction. This is especially spectacular to watch when the direction of the wind suddenly shifts, at times creating the strangest patterns of circular motion. They appear to dance around as one unit  until they suddenly dissolve and unite again in perfect harmony with the action on the entire field.


22 thoughts on “Chapter 31 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part III

  1. I don’t know how you manage to remember to all these diverse details such as the play of the wind in the huge agricultural area. There was also one famous filmmaker from Japan who featured this special experience also very nice and impressive in a film, but I do not get the name at the moment. Best wishes from good old Germany @ Ulli @

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ulli, I finally get around responding to your thoughtful comment! Thank you so much for taking an interest in our story. While it is a family story, it seems to have a universal appeal that goes beyond the mere telling of family events. Let me also comment on the high quality of your posts written both in German and impeccable English. To answer your questions regarding my memory of past events. I grew up in an era, when letter writing was still practiced . During our separation, my future wife and I exchanged hundreds of letters. Reading old letters works marvels on your memory and brings out details of your life that had been buried for a very long time. Viele liebe und herzliche Grüße aus Kanada!

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      • Vielen Dank, lese das gerade mit Blick auf den Atlantik in Lissabon. Kenne die analoge Zeit auch sehr gut, und meine Mutter hat noch alles in Suetterlin geschrieben (hab ich auch noch gelernt in der Schule irgendwann, aber lang ists her). Das Digitale ist zwar sehr praktisch, aber halt nur virtuell. Nichts greifbares auf dem Schreibtisch oder im Briefkasten, daher für mich immer auch ein wenig irreal. Nun wird es Zeit die abendliche Kühle zu nutzen für Stippvisiten aller Art. (#)

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    • Indeed he was a very nice chap, Bun. Many years later, when he passed on the farm to his son, he came out to British Columbia and paid us a visit. You are right. In my previous job I would have fared differently.

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  2. Wunderschön, Deine Erzählungen Peter. So anschaulich und interessant und unterhaltsam , da kann man alles richtig vor sich sehen, wie in einem Film!
    Ich finde auch, daß Harry ein richtiger Kumpel war, den Traktor habt ihr zusammen jedenfalls ja prima wieder zum Laufen gebracht! 😉😀
    Es ist ja wirklich beachtenswert, was du alles in der Zeit für unterschiedliche “Tätigkeiten ” angenommen und bewältigt hast!👍
    Liebe Grüße an Biene und dich!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Harry war ein Mann, der viel Verständnis zeigte. Später habe ich immer wieder an die schöne Zeit auf der Farm gedacht. Harry war mir auch zum Vorbild geworden. Als Lehrer habe ich später sein Verständnis mit einer guten Portion Geduld bei meinen Schülern angewandt. Es freut mich immer seht, deine herzlichen Kommentare zu lesen, liebe Edda.


    • Thank you very much, dear Ankur, for your kind comment! It is words like these that keep me going on this family project. I guess you also know the positive influence of intelligent comments on your work. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yep, knew exactly what you did when you mentioned that acrid smell.

    Wheat is mesmerizing. I love to watch summer winds chase across a field of wheat, but the sound and color is intensified in the fall.

    Liked by 1 person

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