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Harvest Tales - Ottawa County 03

Harvest stories submitted by Kansans for the online exhibit, Wheat People.
Submit your own at KansasMuseum@kshs.org.

Anna Allison Peck

Trapped in a Straw Stack

Taken from her book, Anna Plus: Tales from a Town Called Wells

Today Papa was helping with the threshing of the wheat crop and Dale and Anna were to go along to run errands and to help with some of the chores. . . . The closer they got to the field--the noisier and busier the place became. There were teams and wagons filled with bundles of ripe wheat. The bundle haulers were waiting their turn to toss the bundles into the threshing machine. It was a beehive of activity around that big steam engine and the thresher pouring out a small stream of grain on one side and a big mass of fluffy straw on the other side. The straw stack was huge--higher and bigger than the thresher, the steam engine and all the wagons put together. It looked so golden, beautiful and inviting in the morning sun.

Dale and Anna played in the loose, fluffy straw around the base of the stack and watched the straw being blown out--making the stack higher and bigger all the time. It was tempting to Anna, and she climbed higher and higher onto the stack--sliding back down--bonnet strings and long skirt blowing up--bare feet and arms outstretched like the wings of [an] airplane.

As she climbed back up to the top, Anna suddenly began to sink into the fluffy straw and the more flailing about that she did--the more she sank. Then the straw was all about her and she did not know which way was up. Anna's heart began to pound. She could hear it louder than the muffled roar of the threshing operation. What if she had to stay here forever and never could find her way out?

Anna tried once more to 'swim' to the top. It was hot and dusty and dark--no light shining through the straw! She realized she had lost her bonnet. . . . She continued to struggle without success. Then suddenly a big foot appeared in the straw and a big rough gloved hand. It was Papa! He dragged her out of the straw and down the side of the stack--it was hard going, even for Papa. He was holding her bonnet in his other hand by one string.

Dale was waiting at the bottom of the stack. Anna really didn't mind the scolding she got from her father or the teasing she got from her brother. And she didn't really mind the bonnet after that, with its string undone. That's how Papa had found her. It was lying on top of the stack where she had sunk!

Anna Peck also submitted World War II.

"Harvest Tales" is part of the online exhibit, Wheat People:  Celebrating Kansas Harvest.