Light & Shadow #51

Granary — Kendrick, ID Circa 1981

My dad ran a seed warehouse where I worked off and on through junior high and high school. Though I didn’t want to make a career out of it, I have fond memories of working there.

In another post, I referred to an incident of being chased by a forklift. A coworker and I were in one of the grain storage warehouses. As we were leaving the building, my coworker was driving. I was riding on the back — a big no-no these days. Who should appear but our fun-loving foreman, chasing up from behind with the forks raised just high enough to impale us. At full throttle, we turned, hoping to evade the tormentor. The cornering forces threw me off the lift. My feet were in motion midair, and I hit the ground running toward the safety of a giant mountain of grain. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or wet my pants.

Some of the wheat and barley were treated and bagged for future crops. Pallet by pallet, we would stack the bags from the floor 25 feet up to the warehouse ceiling. We had one section completed, but for some reason, it was decided — unwisely — to add 2 rows in front of the stack we’d already built. It was close to quitting time when we finished and were ready to leave for the weekend. Someone noticed the new rows seemed to lean away from the main stack. Then, they began to move ever so slowly. They picked up speed and crashed to the floor, leaving broken bags of wheat scattered everywhere. No bodies were amongst the mess — it could wait until Monday.

Then there was the day a truck rolled in just after quitting time, requiring those of us still on the property to stick around and unload it. One guy saw it arrive and felt guilty enough to come back to help us. Adding flair to his return, he roared into the parking lot. In true Joie Chitwood style, he wheeled into a parking space, jumped from the car, and slammed the door.

A little too much flair, apparently. All the door windows shattered.

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