What do you recall about the summers of your youth? When I think of the summer of 1978, I remember bean-walking with my “Girl Crew” at dawn, trying to get a field done before the mid-day heat found us.

Even though it wasn’t a pleasant job walking the fields, we persevered through 102-degree heat, rain, blisters and the relentless chase of horseflies because we shared a common goal: to get a little spending money we could spend with parental impunity.  

I have many memories of those bean-walking days, and the days spent with friends still bring a smile to my face. But the details of that experience certainly don’t, like the way the heavily-tilled black soil stuck to my shoes and how chunks of manure from a nearby feedlot, which had been flung far and wide by my uncle’s manure spreader, made the terrain uneven. Even on the hottest of days, there was no cooling off in the nearby creek, because it was full of leeches (and not much else).

That wasn’t unusual, because in...