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The starchy emeralds.

Posted by Barron von Hammer , 30 January 2013 · 328 views

Well, my daughter’s class had a field trip to a farm the other day. Riveting. The parents were invited and the whole lot of us boarded tractor-pulled wagons that meandered down a dirty uneven road to a sparse field. I could not help but feel some solidarity with grainy film showing the artificial smiles on Ukrainian peasants forced to till the field until a lone potato was extracted, the byproduct of forced collectivization in the former worker’s paradise known as the Soviet Union.

We then assembled in front of the centerpiece of the trip, a large barn that stood like an imposing monolith; like a bad game show host, the kids were exhorted by the appointed guide to guess what was behind the barn door. The kids offered various explanations as to what was indeed inside the barn (cows, horses, chickens, the farmer’s wife, etc). My daughter, showing the imagination inherited from her father, decided to rip the space-time continuum asunder with all of its constricting physical laws by suggesting that there was “another barn” inside (the result of her ongoing fascination with Matryoshka dolls in which each doll has another inside of it, resulting in smaller and smaller dolls being discovered upon investigation). Being somewhat excited she merely assumed that the barn itself must be self-replicating.

Alas, my daughter’s expectations were dashed when it was revealed (to a bewildering amount of fanfare) that the barn contained potatoes. Thousands of them. There was a hushed silence as the tour guide silently nodded her head in satisfaction as if to imply that these were no mere potatoes, they were the nectar of the gods, each potato a facsimile of the most coveted emerald. She then began to ask the group questions about the growing, nurturing and caring of potatoes. My wife, constantly nudging me to get more involved with her teachers (my retroactive attempt earlier was not terribly pleasing to her when, after the tour was delayed for an hour, I remarked to anyone within ear shot that her teachers had all the preparation of the Hindenburg ground crew; this was compounded by my insistence that she witness “how far I can hurl” one of these starchy emeralds, the resulting thump against an empty grain solo culminating in a sound not unlike incoming howitzer fire).

So I decided to get involved by answering the query “how are potatoes collected?” Judging from the horrified look exhibited by those in attendance, “migrant workers” is apparently incorrect.

The correct answer is “a harvester.”
Khrushchev would have not had a problem with that answer.

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Tom Marvolo Riddle
Jan 30 2013 06:02 PM

Love the last part about Kruschchev. Seems like the worst field trip ever (Other then the one when i had to go to a farm).

Barron von Hammer
Jan 30 2013 06:17 PM

I teach International Conflict and Soviet history is a specialty of mine, so while I was enduring this episode I kept thinking of Khrushchev's tour of an Iowa farm in '59. Oddly enough my wife's grandmother served under Nikita and was trapped in Stalingrad during the German offensive.

Tom Marvolo Riddle
Jan 30 2013 06:20 PM

Wow man. That can only mean one thing. That schools Principal is a reincarnation of Krusshchev!

You're very imaginative about seemingly dull events and make interesting blogs every once in a while. I admit I smirked when you abruptly thought about Ukrainian peasants and collectivization.

Barron von Hammer
Jan 30 2013 08:55 PM

Yea, I don't blog here much. Ten posts in almost three years.

Were there bugs?
Barron von Hammer
Jan 31 2013 11:43 PM

I did not notice any.

Thats good. very good, bugs are the bane of field trips.

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