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SUMMERS ON THE FARM

Shooting rabbits, gigging frogs, climbing trees

I guess Hiawatha, Kansas was another town where we had two sales.  I remember a friend there by the name of Pricilla.  I spent the night with her a couple of times.  They lived on a farm outside of town and I believe there were 6 kids. Don’t remember for sure.  But, it seemed like there was a passel of them.  We wrote back and forth for some time then I got a letter that their house had burned and one or two of her brothers died in the fire.  I was so sad, they were such a good family. I didn’t hear from her again.  I only remember one boy in Hiawatha whose name was Roger.  Of course he was a cutie.

We also had two sales in Hooker, Oklahoma.   I’m in the 4th grade.  Now this I remember because it was my first kiss and it happened at recess.  He was the cutest boy in class and his name was Carroll.  As you can see, I’m not giving last names because I don’t want to offend anyone.  However, Carroll, and I wrote for years.  He sent me a Parker ball point pen for Christmas one year.  That was the newest thing.   Of course, some of you will remember that back then before ball points you had to fill your ink pens out of a jar which could get real messy if you weren’t careful.  At any rate, I got a letter from Carroll that they were moving to California and that he was taking tap dancing lessons.  I hated loosing touch with him.

I sometimes wonder a lot about some of the people I met over all those years and what and where they are now.  Most of them meant a lot to me even though we only had a few weeks together and I’d sure like to find some of them.  So if you know or suspect you know any of the people I mention, please don’t hesitate to let me know. 

During some summers, I got to spend several weeks with my grandparents (mom’s parents) in Perry, Oklahoma on the farm.  Depending on when mom and dad could be close enough to drop me off or pick me up.  My uncle Jack, mom’s youngest brother, was only two years older than me.  He was more like a brother than an uncle.  We had such good times on the 160 acres.  We were Tarzan and Jane swinging on ropes off a huge mulberry tree.  We ate mulberries and raw potatoes we would dig up out of grandma’s potato patch.  Occasionally, we would go out in the evening and gig frogs.  Jack made us a couple of poles with a nail in the end and brake off the head so we could gig the bullfrogs.

We’d play in the equipment shed on the old surrey and look at all the old harnesses that were used years before to hook up mules and plow the fields.  Jack also had a BB gun and we would go rabbit hunting. 

For supper, grandma would go out late afternoon and grab a chicken, swing it around a couple of times by the head and whip it off.  The chicken would flop around, bleed out and stop and then she would gut it, put it in boiling water, pluck it, sear off the remaining hairs and stubs over the fire and then cut it up and fry it.  Boy, that was good eaten.

About 4 a.m. every morning, grandpa would get up to milk the cows before heading into town to barber, and grandma would separate the cream for butter, which we churned in a mason jar with wooden paddles until it thickened for butter.  I got to gather the eggs in the afternoon and we always had a great breakfast. Grandma made all her bread, biscuits, pies etc. with the flour from those 100 pound sacks that would be used when empty for my skirts and dresses.  There were times we’d sit on the back porch and snap peas and beans.

Of course, the highlight and my treat of all treats was going to the picture show on Saturday.  It was usually two pictures and in the middle between the two pictures there would be cartoons.  We watched Speedy Gonzales, Heckle and Jeckel, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse and of course Pluto to name a few.  Grandpa would save all his tips from the week and give us 20 cents a piece.  One dime to get in and the other dime for a 5 cent  popcorn or candy bar and 5 cents for a coke.  When the picture was over we’d go over to the drug store where my aunt worked and she would give us an ice cream cone and we’d sit on the floor and read comics until Grandpa came to take us home.  Boy, what a day.

One year I even got to go to vacation bible school.  They made me feel special and it was so nice to get away from traveling and daddy.  I loved them so much.  There was no bathroom in the old two story farmhouse but there was cold water to the kitchen sink, but you couldn’t drink it.  You had to go out to the cistern and fill a bucket to bring in the house.  Every Saturday night, we got a bath in a number 2 galvanized tub on the back porch.  Grandma would boil water and pour it in the tub and give you a bar of homemade soap.  Being the “girl” I got to bathe first and poor Jack would have to use my soap film to bathe in and after playing Tarzan and Jane we were pretty grimy even after washing off  every evening in the bowl on the back porch where grandpa would shave in the mornings.  There were times grandpa would have to dig a deep hole and move the outhouse over because the old hole was full. Gotta do whatcha gotta do. Of course, there was one of the old Sears Roebuck catalogs hanging on a wire. Just tear off a page to use for wiping.

Grandma would have her old wringer washer every week set up on the porch to do laundry.  The smell of freshly hung out sheets was something I can still smell in my imagination.  And grandma would always put some bluing in one of the #2 tubs which I think was kind of used the same way bleach is used today.  It made everything whiter and the cork in that bottle of bluing was also used to dab on an ant or wasp bite.

I remember one year that grandpa was really sick and couldn’t get the crop in.  Well, here coming up the road was probably 3 or 4 combines as I remember and trucks for hauling the wheat to the granaries all coming to bring in grandpas wheat.  They were some neighboring Indians as I recall.  And, before dinner (lunch) the Indian women showed up and started cooking and I remember it was really good eating.  That’s the way things were done back then.  No matter what was needed there was a neighbor or neighbors to help get it done.  Brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it.

Sometimes on a Saturday night there would be a big get together at the Bohemian Hall. People came from all the surrounding farms and they would bring covered dishes and  any instrument they played and people would dance and sing and us kids would run around outside playing hide and seek or whatever else we could come up with to do.  It was lots of fun.   There was no drinking inside, but lots of trips outside.

Stay tuned, I’m still remembering things that happened.   RodeHardPutUpWet.com

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