In previous blogs I talked about my chores and the field work. But I hope I didn’t give the idea that I was working all the time. The chores were only in the morning and evening, and the field work was mainly during the harvest season. And even then, my dad didn’t always give us jobs to do. Sometimes he got so busy plowing or whatever, that he sort of forgot to give us jobs. So, we just ran off somewhere. And there was plenty of things to do. In fact, my mom didn’t mind at all that we were out playing. She just wanted us home for supper. And if we weren’t home at supper time, believe me she had a loud voice and she would call us home by name for supper—at the top of her lungs.
I think the main fun thing I remember doing is exploring, sometimes by myself and sometimes with my brother Mark. My sister was more of a bookworm and I think she preferred just reading, even if it was in the house. I liked walking along the creek that ran in a large circle around the farm. Sometimes we would see frogs and we would try to spear them with a sharp stick we made. It never bothered us that we were killing them and reducing their population. We were like fierce hunters.
Some days, when we knew that we had a few hours to kill before we had to be home for supper, we would go deep into the woods until we came to a great river. We didn’t know what river it was, but we knew it wasn’t the creek. It was too wide. I remember the imposing sound of the water. I just loved standing by its banks and feeling its strength and majesty. It gave me the shivers! Another time we encountered a few red-haired cows with long horns. And they were mean looking, so we ran out of there!
Back behind the grainery, which was not too far from the house, there were two old junk cars. One of them was a light cream color with lots of chrome on it. The other car was clearly a Ford model T, all black. We would often see rats crawling in and around the cars…cool! I remember one time we were there with our dog Brownie, and he spotted a squirrel under the cars. I’ll never forget what happened. When the squirrel tried to run away, out from under the car, Brownie, as quick as a flash, caught him between his teeth, and he was dead instantly. I couldn’t be more proud of him. What a great dog. And he was fast. One time we clocked him as he ran along side of our car. I think he got up to about 40 miles per hour!
I don’t know where I got it from, but it seems like I was always doing things to try to prove and challenge my bravery and strength—me more than my brother. Besides spearing frogs, I remember more than once trying to ride our buck sheep. It was kind of silly.
I also liked wrestling with my brother Mark. I liked it mostly, I think, because I knew I would win. Mark didn’t seem to care. I guess he just liked being with me. Now that I think back on it, he had a better spirit than me, a very sweet spirit. All I cared about was winning, being number one, being better than him. That selfish attitude has been with me for years, and now I regret it. I should have treated my brother better and now it’s too late.