On this date in 1954, the temperature soared to 115 degrees in the Midwest and stayed there for 3 days. To this day, this is a record temperature. I know this because every year around this date my father tells about how lush and green everything was. Until the hot northwest wind started blowing. In three days everything turned brown and dried up. My father and his cousin were 10 years old that year. My dad's nickname was Cottontop for his white blond hair and his cousin's name was Butch for his buzzcut. My dad tells about how the crops that year were baked to almost nothing. Dad and his cousin harvested the entire crop of corn in their coaster wagons. They made trip after trip and fed the dried up ears to the livestock. There was nothing of quality or quantity to sell that year. I can almost see them in my mind's eye. Dust rolling off the wagon's wheels, two sweaty little boys doing what they could to help the farm.
I know the rest of the year must have been a struggle with no corn crop to support the rest of the seasons. I can only imagine the impression this must have made on a 10 year old child. I'm sure my grandpa wore out a lot of pencils stretching what resources there were that year to provide for the family and the farm. I'm sure my grandma's mama wondered why she married a farmer. I'm proud to know that I come from such a strong family and I can't wait to pass along this kind of tenacity to my children.