To My Children (Part 5)

It is December 11, 2014, and after two full days of hard rain and strong winds we are in a respite of temps in the mid 30’s and no wind. The rain has taken away much of the snow and left the driveway in a skating rink of sheer ice. The bluejays, cardinals, and morning doves are plentiful around the bird feeders, and so are those blasted squirrels. I put my bird feeders on metal poles this year so the squirrels couldn’t climb them and steal all of the birds food. But much to my dismay, they must have suction cups on their feet because they have no problem scaling an 8 foot pipe. Next year I am going to add barbed wire, that is electrified!! Let’s see how they scale it then. More than likely I will forget that it is electrified and shock myself. Speaking of which…

It was springtime on the farm, and most of my family was outside cleaning up around the yard and preparing the lawns for summer. I was and still am extremely anal about my lawns. I have a particular way in which I mow them. I have yet to find anyone who could, or can mow to my satisfaction. There is a certain pattern that must be used whether mowing with the rider or the push mower. And, once mowed no one is allowed to cross the lawns with anything that would leave a line or trail, like a bike or ATV. Anyways, while I was prepping lawns my father was building fence in one of the pastures so that we could put the cows out on them. Milk production always spiked up when they were introduced to fresh grass every year. Some of my cousins showed up on their bikes to spend the day with us, so they took hold and started to help us. My cousin Adam and I noticed my father way up on the side hill in one of the pastures so we decided to see if the fence was working up to that point in which he was at. We went into the horse barn where the fencer was kept and plugged it in. We ran to the window to see if my father noticed. Sure enough, my father jumped up in the air and yelled down across the valley, and I quote, “you baaaaastards”. We laughed till we almost peed our pants as Dad continued jumping up and down and hollering at us. I should mention that I come from a family of jokesters, and these type of events were a daily thing. Well finally my Dad calmed enough to hear me holler to him that it was okay now and I unplugged the fence charger. Of course he didn’t believe me, nor should he of had. After another 4 or 5 attempts I agreed that I would promise to unplug it so that he could continue repairing the fence. As expected, he still didn’t believe me and there was absolutely no way to convince him that it was in fact okay now. Dad walked all the way down to the horse barn and took out the fuses in the fencer so that I couldn’t possibly plug it in. This trek down the valley took him probably 30 minutes but he was intent on not trusting me to do it again. We never let my father forget it either. I would give anything to have him here so that we could prank each other more. I miss him so much. I think I was about 10 or 11 years old when this event occurred.

I remember a time when I was probably in that 14 or 15 year old range, when my father bought a new bull to breed the cows with. The cattle dealer showed up with it one rainy, and cold autumn evening. My brother Gary’s friend Jeff Alley happened to be at the farm with us as we were attempting to unload it from the truck. The cattle dealer had a halter on the bull with a lead line but lost grip of it so Jeff picked it up to hold it from running off. Well, that is just what the bull did. It took off running at top speed across the yard with Jeff in tow. We were yelling for him to let go but  there was no way he was going to do that. We have all seen in the movies how a person is dragged across the field or yard and the person just doesn’t for what ever reason let go? That is just what happened here. The bull proceeded to go through the electrified fence, which it did not like at all by the way. The fence ended up getting wrapped around Jeff too, so he let go of the lead line and the bull continued on its gallop across the field. Meanwhile Jeff was lying on the ground with the electric fence wrapped around him giving him an electrical jolt through his body in soaking wet clothes, and in the pouring rain. The jolt was about 2 joules, so not deadly by any stretch. If you grow up on a farm you are going to get zapped a few times at least every summer. But the jolt is greatly amplified if you feet are wet. And Jeff’s everything was wet!! We still tease to this day about that and I am certain that in his later years it will be mentioned in his eulogy. (Not that you’re going anywhere soon Jeff> Love ya buddy)

Another thing that we did growing up was play Cowboys and Indians. Some of my brothers neighborhood friends used to come and play with us as well. After our evening chores were done (this was during the summer) we would gather to pick teams and play for 3 or 4 hours till it was so dark we couldn’t see anything around us. We were forced to quit, vowing that we would pick it up where we left off the next day. And we did. Our jail was an old unused outhouse that was attached to our old farmhouse. We would pick one person to be the sheriff who would guard the prisoners. The problem was that our jail had flaws in it, two to be exact. Those of us that were small enough could fit down through the two holes in the outhouse. Yup, that’s right, we would squeeze through the toilet holes and escape. Mind you, this outhouse was never used as near as we could tell, for if it had been than we certainly never would have escaped! On a good evening we would have at least twenty of us playing, and honestly, it was some of the most fun things that I ever did as a kid. A couple of those “kids” have passed away now, and a couple of us have diseases that will take us as well. One is in a nursing facility and has been since he was in his early thirties. Like I have said so many times before, everyone has a story, and I with the help of God, am still writing mine.

This is just a few more memories that I have as I was growing up that mean something to me. There are so many more that have meaning as well and I will continue to write them for as long as I am able. Thank you all for taking the time to read a little bit about me.

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