Life was good for Doyle Heden in 1957.
He got to play baseball. He got lots of great food to eat. And he got to drive a tractor, which led to his making big money.
Doyle, of Buxton, N.D., sent Neighbors some of his stories from the summer of 1957.
“I was 10 years old,” Doyle writes. “I was staying with my grandparents on a little farm a half mile from Trail, Minn. (east of Crookston, Minn.).
“Mornings, I would take my baseball glove and walk to town where I would play ball with the town kids.
“A friend of mine, Jerry, who was two years older than me, told me I should try out for the Peewee baseball team in Gonvick, Minn., a town 9 miles away.
“I made the team, starting at second base.
“Playing the game was fun. We won some but we lost some, too.
“The strange part of this story is how I got to Gonvick; I hitchhiked. In those days, nobody thought anything of it.
“All the people who gave me rides would ask my name and who my grandparents were; very nice people.
“Well, baseball came and went. Then it was harvest time.
“My grandfather, whose name was Art, would cut bundles with a binder. I rode on the binder and tripped the rake and released five bundles. My uncle would walk the field and make shocks.
“My grandfather owned a threshing machine. He would go from one farmer to another and harvest their crops.
“I don’t know how it happened, but one farmer asked me to drive his tractor in the field, going from one shock to another.
“What a great job! I was 10 years old and driving a tractor!
“Soon all the farmers wanted me to drive their tractors in the field.
“Probably the best part was that in the evening, the women would make the best meal a person could eat, doing it on a wood-burning stove.
“That was the great summer of 1957, when I made the baseball team, drove tractor and ate some of the best food I have ever eaten.”
“On one of the last days of that summer,” Doyle writes, “I was in Trail playing catch and just hanging out. Then this old gentleman, whose name was Thomas, came up to me and said, ‘Here, take this, it’s for driving my tractor.’
“It was a silver dollar.
“I remember my heart almost dropped. That was the biggest coin I had ever seen. On top of everything else that happened in 1957, now I was rich, too.”
And on top of all that, Doyle concludes his letter, “The Milwaukee Braves won the World Series.
“What a year!”
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