IT’S EITHER BRAIN OR BRAWN
The A-Z Blogging Challenge: 2015
“Come on, Jack. You need to be bringing larger rocks than that to the wagon or you’ll just have to go mix the mud with the younger boys.”
I knew it was an idle threat. Uncle Abner loved working with me in the fields on my summers off.
This was the third wagon load of stones for the day. I was dragging from the day’s efforts. So was the mule. “At least I only have to lift and load one stone at a time…” I chuckled as I gently tousled the hair between Rooster’s ears.
What a name… Rooster got his name from braying every morning at the crack of dawn for his breakfast grain. If anyone but my Uncle Abner had owned Rooster, Rooster would probably have been jerky years ago.
Leading Rooster to the next small embankment, I aligned the wagon alongside the embedded rocks. “At least I wouldn’t have to carry these as far.”
“Now you’re using your brain, Jack.” Uncle Abner was approaching with two fresh canteens of water from the nearby stream.
“Yeah, I know. ‘Brain over brawn’ wins every time.” I sarcastically replied as I gulped half a canteen of refreshment.
“Sweatn’ like this makes school more appealing. Doesn’t it?”
“It can hit the high 90s in school too.”
“Sure, but the back doesn’t have to hurt as much.”
“I see it’s been a while since you sat in those wonderful desks,” was my snarky reply. Uncle is always making sure I stay focused on my schooling. I know he cares… but he can be a real pain in showing it.
“Well, just two more years and you get to decide… accepting those scholarship offers, or staying here to do labor at the vineyard.”
“You know I don’t want to leave you and Aunt Maddie.”
“It’s only for three years, if you apply yourself. Summers here every summer. I need you to modernize this place, if you are interested in continuing with the family winery. We’ve had no changes here since your grandfather. We aren’t competing any longer. I can hire any brute from the village to carry rocks with me, you know. Your grandfather had the skills; I am only brawn. We are just gettin’ by on the vestiges and visions that your Grandfather designed- that was thirty years ago.”
“I know. …New blood. New vision. …Brain over brawn…. You know you are like a walking billboard commercial from the new highway going into the village.”
“Well, at least I know you’re listening.”
“Yes, Uncle… I am listening.” Having completed the removal of all the rocks from this embankment we headed to the flood-damaged bridge near the confluence of the two streams that feed our vineyard. If this wagon load of rock is not enough, tomorrow’s should do it.
The refinery has been with my family for five generations. I really don’t know if the winery is where I want to be… I hate the collecting of the rocks, but the reconstruction of the stone bridges across the stream and the upkeep on the fences- those are some of my most cherished memories of the summer. There are double-majors… I wonder if that college has an engineering degree to go along with viticulture major. The best of both worlds! Awesome!
Viticulture: the study of the growing and harvesting of grapes
Jack, Rooster, and Uncle Abner and Aunt Maddie are all figments of my imagination.
Written for The A-Z Blogging Challenge: 2015. Requirements: Each day during the month of April a new blog is written based on a consecutive letters of the alphabet. The theme of my challenge is Alternative Aspirations for Picasso.