Putt needed some help in the late fall and winter when he went to farms in the area to "glean" the corn which had been missed when the fields were harvested by machines. There were always a great many stalks and ears of corn which had been missed, and pressed down into the soil in the process.
One of the farmers, Bucky Sheehe, had an old Willys Jeep - a red-painted and battered vehicle with an enclosed cab and a cargo bed at the back. The gear shift mechanism was on the floor with a long, slender lever rising up between the two seats.
I was about 8 years old when Putt took me to the fields one day in the borrowed Jeep. He taught me the fundamentals of starting the Jeep, putting it into gear, and steering it down the fallen rows of corn. He taught me how to use the clutch and the brake. He gave me instructions on what I was to do with the vehicle as he, and his father Tom Forsythe, walked down the rows on either side of the Jeep while tossing ears of corn into the back cargo area.
I spent hours that day pushing in the clutch, shifting gears, braking, and driving the Jeep slowly down the rows. It was cold and frosty, and the Jeep had no heater to keep me warm. It was strenuous and stressful as I tried to focus on driving the vehicle just as Putt had instructed me, while at the same time shivering from the cold.
At the end of the day, my first day of driving completed, we bagged up the corn into burlap bags. We took these to the local grain elevator to be weighed and redeemed for cash. We made quite a haul that day, as I remember it, and Putt rewarded my driving expertise with two one-dollar bills.
We repeated that same process at several other corn fields over the course of the winter months, before the deep snows arrived. Each time I sat behind the wheel of that old Jeep, clutching and braking and gearing while Putt and Tom walked the rows gleaning the corn. Funny how some childhood memories remain with me.