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Memoir-Story Page  /


They say threshing is the festival of those who cultivate the land. Indeed, at the time of threshing, the atmosphere of our village would change, and the smell of straw would fill the place. The threshing floor was on a slightly elevated plain on a slightly elevated hill just outside the village. I am talking about the old times when the threshing machines did not come to the village. Forty-nine years have passed, still fresh in my memory those beautiful yellow piles of straw, oxen, heifers, the dust of straw that goes from our necks to our backs…


The most beautiful thing was the great farewell of wheat and straw, which was blown into the wind with the help of a pitchfork. A year's work, the grains of wheat that would feed the hungry stomachs would fall right down, and the straw and straw pieces would fly a little more in the wind, making a separate pile. Then the wheat grains separated from the chaff with the straw were packed in sacks and carefully placed behind the ox cart.


Riding the heifers at threshing time was very enjoyable for us, so the threshing floor was our favorite playground. What I call a heifer is a long wooden device attached to a pair of oxen. Beneath it are rows of pebbles, these pebbles serve to separate the wheat grains in the ears. Ears were laid on the soil at the threshing site, and a heifer tied to a pair of oxen was constantly turned to separate the ears of wheat from their stalks. Missing pebbles from heifers would also adorn the pockets of our breeches since we discovered that they create sparks when they rub against each other. Now either in an antique shop or in a tired and aged Anatolian village; You can stumble upon it in the dusty nook of a barn wall. Hedge is an old friend forgotten after the threshing machine, in other words, came to the villages...

Sometimes they would put us on top of it, whether it was a weight to the heifer or to make us happy. This was our favorite game. We were frail children at the age of seven or eight, weighing only twenty-five kilos. What weight do we have to the pebbles that circulate over the wheat ears on the heifer pulled by the oxen slowly, now I understand why. They would obviously let us ride to make us happy. But with the mischief of childhood, we would stand on the heifer, wrestle and fight.

Rıdvan was a freckled yellow boy a little bigger than me, with a constant red on his cheeks. Uncle Tahir's threshing was beaten that day. Uncle Tahir's daughter Emine, who was at the age of wedding dress, was in charge of herding the heifer. We begged to get on, Rıdvan, me and Jacob… When I called Jacob, he was a weaker black and dry boy than me. We were the gang of our childhood, we used to play together, fly kites, fish in the creek and swim. Emine sister couldn't break us, we all huddled behind the heifer. As if the oxen knew what they were doing, they were turning slowly and pulling the heifer, and yellow wheat ears were scattered about below.

Our mischief caught on again, we did not rest comfortably on the heifer. We stood up. We tried to keep our balance, as windsurfers do, but every now and then we bumped into each other. Emine sister's warnings were in vain, then I remember that when Rıdvan pushed me, I lost my balance and fell face down between the hind legs of the oxen and the heifer.  My head was out, but I remember like it was yesterday the heifer slipped over me and the pebbles passed over my back. If the weight on the heifer was too heavy, it was an accident that would result in serious injury, but for some reason I don't know why now, maybe because of the thickness of my clothes, the pebbles didn't have much of an effect. I remember smiling when I stood up, my head covered with straw, straw and dust; but I felt a slight tingling in my back, just above my waist.

"I'm nothing!" I said, embarrassed, shy  While I was cleaning my head with an attitude...Then  We ran away before Emine had a chance to control me. We dived into the nearby vineyard of Uncle Sevket, where a small spring flowed in summer and winter. We washed our hands and faces in that spring and the heifer damage just above my waist…

When I got home in the evening, it didn't take long for my mother to notice the traces of blood on my clothes. When you ask what happened; “I fell!” I said. I think my wounds were already dry by the evening; He didn't push too hard, the matter was closed.

Years passed. We continue our military service in Erzurum. Erzurum is famous for winter, but we also experienced the heat of summer. It's one of those days. We cut layers of grass with the soldiers taking off their uniforms in the military training zone under the sun. As a lieutenant, I lead the team. One of the short-term soldiers, who must have been curious, asked; “Commander, what are those lines on your back?”

I said, "Oh, they're the helix," and I added, hiding what I just made up.

“Have you never heard of this proverb?”

“The one who falls into the well gets wet, the one that falls into the heifer gets up with the line.”

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