A Timely Piece



When it comes to harvest, time is of the essence. That is particularly relevant right now when the daylight hours are getting shorter and the temperatures getting colder. But whenever I think of the fall harvest and the issue of time, I am always reminded of a story about my Gedo that has been told and retold by my mom’s family.

One of my Gedo’s most prized possessions was a pocket watch. He acquired the beautiful time piece when he was working on the railway as a young Ukrainian who had recently arrived in Canada. Like so many other Ukrainian men, he sought such employment to make money in order to start farming. The story goes that the watch was given to Gedo in lieu of money owed.

My Gedo treasured that watch, so you can imagine his dismay when he discovered, after a hard day’s work of binding sheaves and stooking them (leaning them upright in bunches pyramid-style to dry), that his watch was missing .He knew, without a doubt, that he had the watch with him when he headed into the field, so it had to be out there somewhere.

But it was already dark outside and the next day was Sunday, so the search would have to wait for a few days. Meanwhile Gedo was very upset with himself for somehow managing to lose that watch.

The next afternoon as the family sat around on the day of rest, Gedo surprised everyone by announcing that he and his five sons were going to head out to the field to look for the watch. Now Gedo was a very devout man, so the fact that he was going to “work” on the Sabbath indicates just how precious that watch was to him.

So out he and my uncles went – opening up the stooks, shaking the sheaves and even untying them, and then rebinding everything and setting them up again to be ready for thrashing(old-styled spelling). But after several hours of hard work and no sign of the watch, the search was abandoned. The watch was gone!

Several weeks later the big thrashing machine rolled into the field ready to harvest the grain. Every available person was called into duty to load the sheaves onto horse-drawn wagons, haul them to the big machine and then pitch those sheaves onto the belt which took them into the thrasher. As one of my uncles lifted some sheaves with his pitchfork something fell on his foot. He looked down to see Gedo’s watch resting on the top of his boot. And, lo and behold, it was still working just fine!

When my Gedo passed away, the watch was handed down to his oldest son who would pass it on to his own son and so on. The watch has become a family heirloom, and the story of its remarkable journey, a treasured part of our family’s legacy. Sometimes time, indeed, is priceless!



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