This goes way back around 1964. It was summer, tomato picking season in Mendota. My father, brothers, our friends and I were out there in the fields like everybody else. This was back when tomato picking was done by hand! I was 15 years old. Sometimes it could be hard work, getting up early and working all day in the sun. For me it was fun, sort of, at first. There were a lot of people and families working in the fields in those days. My friends and I used to call it a tournament. At these tournaments, some workers had a small radio attached to their belts so they could hear their favorite music. It was kind of funny because you'd be hearing different kinds of music, a baseball game, a Mexican soap opera, people talking, all at the same time -- one big sound.
It was a Saturday morning and we were assigned our rows and began picking. I remember how cool the morning was, a little bit chilly almost. The air was fresh and clean with no clouds in the sky. The sun had just begun to peek over a line of trees in the distance that border the tomato fields.
Suddenly, over all this sound came a loud different one, like metal hitting metal, grinding, banging! I looked to the southern end of the field where the sound was coming from. There in the morning sun, moving slowly, was a saucer-shaped object 100 feet in the air, flying erracticlly in a northerly direction. It traveled parallel to us from across the field with its front end going up and down. I couldn't believe it! I was all excited!
The object was the size of a small house. It had a dark color, smooth surface, no windows or markings. It seemed to be having difficulties. The clanking noise was coming from the object. At one point it stopped, hovered for a while, raised its front end and with a loud whinning screech it looked like it was trying to climb. When this happened several men and women ran from the field.
My friends were so caught up in their own excitement by what they were seeing they started cracking jokes that sounded like commercials. They were saying things like, "When your transmission is on the blink, go down to Bob's" or "They don't make them like they used to." I was laughing, too, because we didn't know how to act! It's not everyday you see something like this!
I remember one big guy running toward the object. The UFO continued its crippled flight path heading north toward the town of Firebaugh. Our foreman got in his truck and took off after the object. Everybody was wound up and too excited to continue working, so we took a big lunch break and talked about what happened. My friends and I climbed on stacks of crates so we could keep the UFO in sight, but soon it was gone.