My stepmom Sheri sent me these pictures she scanned. While reading WOOL, she became convinced the germ of the idea began right here, at the back of my father’s farm. We used to spend hours crawling around inside and on top of the old silos.
That’s me on the grain chute in the blue shirt. There’s a continuous screw inside the chute that pushes the grain up and into the silo. My father stepped over the chute once while it was operational. It was lucky for him that his pants were so worn. The screw grabbed the crotch of his jeans and ripped them right off of him. It could have been worse.
Here I am helping Sheri across the gap. It’s a little wider than it appears from this angle, and even wider in my youthful memories. I remember sliding down from that bar she’s holding on my butt, letting my feet hit the lip, then launching over to the other silo. It felt reckless at the time, but was probably quite tame.
Here’s my stepsister Jen showing us how it’s done! Jen, btw, is a real-life Jules. Smart and capable, she’s one of those women whose power doesn’t come from emulating what men do, but by doing everything better. There’s a quiet fierceness and raw determination behind Jules. That’s my sister Jen. This picture captures it all. Daredeviling with grace.