Actions

Jacob Van Dyke: "Call Me Ishmael" Chapter 1

From Our 'Verse


"Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world."1 So Herman Melville started an epic saga on the dangers of revenge. I too have lived through a tale of woe. Tender young eyes should not have to witness what I have seen. Horrible things in the blackness of space. Things that dwell there still...

As a child growing up on Aphrodite, life was not always easy. When you were the child of a sustenance farmer, it was never easy. There were always chores to do, and if you got tired there were more chores to do. Animals had to be fed. Clothes had to be washed and hung to dry. Buildings and fences needed mending. Food had to be prepped for cooking, canning or drying. Fields to be plowed and planted. Kitchen garden to be weeded. Deer to be shooed or shot, and meat to be butchered, smoked, hung to dry. Skins to be tanned for leather. Wood to be cut and water to be fetched. On the farm, every moment was a busy moment.

Crops and gardens were planted to overlap. But autumn was the busiest time of the year. Neighbors helped neighbors. Harvest was very labor intensive. No new farming implements were to be found. The sythe and sickle were common place. Barley for bread was ground on a hand powered gristmill. Corn was shucked by hand and beans were laced on string to dry. Ma and Pa tried to make the work fun when they could. There were songs and stories, jokes and laughter.