Nothing can wake you up faster than the prospect of getting chopped into tiny pieces … nothing!
I experienced this somewhere in Tuscany while sleeping in waist-high wheat in a field by a fence I’d jumped the night before. I was enjoying the deep, undisturbed sleep of the young … and the treasured, far-off memory of the aged … when I heard a deafening, dreadful, thumping noise that woke me up quicker than a baby’s scream in the middle of the night.
I sat straight up, which isn’t easy to do in a sleeping bag, but I managed it as easily as yogi! With my hair standing straight on end and my eyes popped open to the size of a bull frog, I saw giant, steel blades cutting everything in their way a few feet away coming straight at me! And when I saw those gleaming goliath blades of the giant harvester, I could see they were going to harvest me in a split second! I would have tried to make peace with my maker if I could have recalled the comforting words of contrition and redemption that Father Coburn taught me years earlier at Vallejo’s Church of the Ascension.
This was my end! I was trapped with no way out!
But at that precise moment a minor miracle occurred. The monstrous machine turned on a dime, making an improbably fast u-turn!
Stunned, I watched in wonder as it thrashed off in the opposite direction when my traveling companion, Doug, still in his mummy bag, yelled out with that nightmare distorted face I’d seen during our tire blow-out near Bologna, “What in the hell was that?”
I stood up and scanned the field. The combine’s operator had just harvested the entire field, with the exception of our little corner, without even waking us up!
“He saw us! He saw us Doug! Thank God he saw us!” was all I could say.
And all Doug could say was “Let’s get the hell out of here!”
We hopped the fence after which we stood as tall as we possibly could and gave the combine operator an enthusiastic two-armed wave trying to convey our undying gratitude and a most sincerely felt grazie, mille mille mille grazie!
Coming next! Driving Around Europe Without A Map, Part 14 … SING MARTHA, SING!
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