KeyesSide The rain pebble-dashed off the canvass of the potato harvester as three teenagers  stood beneath the cover of the steely giant, moored in an ever-softening field in  South Tipperary.
Two were positioned on one side of the belt which, when operating, coughed up  potatoes and slabs of churned earth in great volumes; with the third positioned on  the opposite flank. His hands had to move that little bit quicker to, quite literally,  ditch the dirt, so he thought anyway.
But as the rain continued to fall, with a grey tablecloth of cloud draped across  nearby Slievenamon, the trio grinned at their relative good fortune.
There they were, in a field near tranquil Faugheen, it was bucketing down and at that moment in time, while on the clock, they were getting paid while doing nothing other than chuckling. I happened to be one of them.
The muddied field in question just happens to be one that I’m now living nearby – talk about circle of life stuff or what? And as I walked by that very field on a recent Sunday morning, memories of my first paid employment came rushing back to me.
In truth, the good humour and all-round craic had while working in that potato field and many other paddocks across South Tipperary, South Kilkenny and my own lovely Deise for four summers ‘way back when’ has never left me.
Thanks to Johnny and Joe O’Shea of Iverk Produce, over four different school holidays, I spent a total of 13 months picking, grading and bagging spuds, snagging turnips, working on the cabbage crew (6.30am starts), washing carrots and much more besides!
Many a bag of vegetables was loaded onto many a trailer, which were in turn unloaded from trailers into the darkness of the cold storage sheds in Iverk’s yard in Piltown.