The Year The Crops Failed (Part Two): A Dry Spell

–Stories From The Dirt Road

The fields were dry and the wind blew the dust across the dying crops, some wilted tobacco lay on the ground a casualty of the summer drought.  I walked slowly down the rows picking up dry dusty soil and watching it flow through my clenched fist.


The Year The Crops Failed

Life is hard when we are without hope, despair grips the spirit and darkens the soul.  In the distance the tractor sits silent, sand drifts gathered around the tires.  The gas tank was empty, and daddy had no money to fill the tank.  Hope had forsaken him, leaving his heart as dry and empty as the barren field, yet daddy was still unbroken.  He stood looking back across the wasteland that was once a green crop.  He knew his family stood still, quietly watching him, wondering what he would do next.

Maybe he could give us hope or words that would make us hold our heads up again.  Maybe he would comfort us with his words and wisdom

Tears ran down daddy’s face leaving wet streaks on his dusty face.  I had never seen him cry and I could feel his pain, knowing I would never forget this moment. The weight of the crisis was raw, bearing a pain that breaks most people’s spirit.  It was a time of no hope, a desperation unknown ever before in my daddy’s life.  We all waited on the edge of the tobacco field, silent, helpless, just wanting daddy to say something that would make the pain go away.  Maybe he could give us hope or words that would make us hold our heads up again.  Maybe he would comfort us with his words and wisdom.  Daddy walked off the field, down the dirt road, climbed into the truck, and drove away.  We just stood there in that dusty, dry, and windblown field until night fell and one by one, we walked home and ate supper in silence.  There were no words that we could find to say, only the weight of silence filled the room.  Even our dogs would make no sounds that night.

Just before the morning light, I could hear the rooster crowing and in the distance, I could hear daddy’s old truck making its way down the long and bumpy dirt road.  One by one we walked through the dark house and saw mom standing on the porch watching daddy back the truck into the yard.  He had a big trailer attached and slowly backed up to the lip of the porch and cut the engine off.  He had a large picnic basket filled with biscuits, ham, and a bowl of scrambled eggs.

We all gathered around, and daddy spoke with a voice that cracked with emotion.  He said, we find ourselves at a loss as to what we might do to remedy this frightening time.  Let us not say we failed, nor look at the ground and embrace that hope deserted us.  We are not forsaken and hope lives like a dim flame within each of us just waiting to burn like a bright flame.  Let us just say we had a dry spell, a rough patch of road.  We will never walk these dust fields again.  We will walk away from this place and once again we shall know hope, joy, and a new future.

Within a few hours we had packed up everything we had in the old plank house and daddy drove us toward a place where the sun rises every morning over the ocean waves.  I never saw daddy cry again and he never lost sight of hope.  He lived a life filled with a love for family and his last moments were fishing by a lake with his grandchildren.  Daddy gifted me with many words of wisdom, and they were used a lot in my life.  No matter what happened in my life I knew I could walk past it and I never had to give up or lose hope.


Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

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  1. This is so touching writing, Larry. I call only imagine what that all meant to your father and family. The land is everything to people who have it and work it, and having to let go must be the hardest thing. He was a brave man. So many are having to deal with this uncertainty now.