It was 4:30 pm on a western Nebraska farm, in the summer of 1969 with the humid July winds blowing as usual while the Wheeler twins Jason and Jacob who were age six and digging a hole in the backyard of their parent’s farm.
Their 15-year old brother Johnathan was driving one of the families tractors into the barn next to their home. As usual, Johnathan followed the routine dictated by his stern and disciplining father to care for the farm equipment. He checked all the fluid levels, greased the steering fittings, rinsed the dust off and was wiping the excess water from the tractor when he overhears his mother yelling at his brothers to stop digging a hole in the ground and to play in the sandbox their father built them.
A few minutes later, Johnathan hears his mother yelling again at the twins to stop digging in the yard, but her tone changed when she threatened to spank them both if they did not stop. She adds that she was preparing for a night out with their father after dinner and he better not find them digging in the yard.
The last statement by Johnathan’s mother had his eyebrows raised as he peered through the barn’s window to see the twins walking to their sandbox and that’s when he entertained an idea for his Saturday evening.
He watched the twins with frowns on their faces and lips stuck out, seated inside of their sandbox, when Johnathan walked out to the twins and asked why were they digging a hole in the ground?
They both said, “they were digging a hole to China.” Surprised with their comment and trying not to laugh, he told his brothers to dig their hole in the barn behind his tractor because their mother would not see them.
The twins looked at Johnathan a little perplexed, then with smiles on the faces they stood up with their shovels and started walking towards the barn when Jacob turned to asked Johnathan.
“Will, dad be mad if we dig to China in the barn?”
Johnathan’s response was immediate, telling them to pull the dirt in behind them when they get to China.
The twins looked at one another nodding in agreement and continued towards the barn.
Johnathan smiled as he walked towards the house knowing if his mother planned a night out with his dad, he would have to babysit the twins, ending all chances for his Saturday evening.