Another Harvest in the Bag
The delivery should have been quick and in the bag.
At suppertime, my husband tilled into the darkness of a late fall evening. I planned one of those drop-off-and-go meals. But instead, I arrived just in time to grab a pry bar to help remove mud and cornstalk residue from a plugged tillage reel. An estimated 90 minutes of preparation for a hot, home-cooked meal sat in the minivan. I maintained composure because the pizza delivery bag averted the meal’s chill-down.
I own an insulated delivery bag large enough for four pizzas, despite never working for a restaurant. And I love it. Carryout pizza stays warm during travel home to our remote area of Illinois. It maintains heat for eight containers of home-cooked meals to the field. Ten, if you squeeze. It also transforms into a cooler if you throw in a few ice packs.
I baby-stepped past the embarrassment and now take it out in public. The red bag has earned some glances from patrons of a retail pizza kitchen. Even kids take notice.
“Do you work at a pizza place?” It seemed a legitimate question and observation from a second grader. She watched me deliver four sausage and cheese pizzas in the insulated bag for a class party.
No, I’m just a volunteer mom and a farming wife. This bag became a permanent fixture in my minivan. It ranks among my favorite, must-have gear during harvest season. My mom and sister-in-law carry one, too.
Much of what I love about farm life convenes in a cornfield on a harvest evening. Family and food. Fresh, crisp air. Golden sunsets on God’s earth. And I particularly love the energy that permeates from the harvest process.
Three generations of my family and employees (who feel like family) work in concert. They operate combines, tractors with grain carts, and semi-trucks to gather and haul the crops. Long days stretch across a two-month span. Rainy day breaks and food re-energize the workers. The farm moms in our family cannot control the weather, but we can manage the food. We want these meals to generate family time and deliver love through a container of warm, flavorful cuisine.
We modern-day wives have harvest roles on the farm beyond food. I handle production records, grain inventory and provide routine progress reports. In a pinch, I have operated a tractor with a grain cart. We stay on call to locate parts for equipment in need of repair. And by tradition of farm moms before us, wives in our family provide hot suppers every evening.
The ritual mimics any family’s commitment to dinners around the table, minus the table. My hungry children and their cousins have a chance to dine on the kiddie picnic table in the van. Yet most of us stand nearby or sit in a camping chair. Some eat on the go.
Delays occur frequently. Sometimes, we just missed the man who left in the grain semi-truck. Perhaps two work in the farthest corner of a field. A half hour later, they may reach the field’s roadside ready to eat. All the while, the pizza delivery bag ensures a warm meal after a hard day of work.