1. On The Farm

Barn - Howe - 1904?

1. On The Farm

How did I get to be eighty?

It really all started after my grandparents passed away, and we moved to the farm in central Michigan. I played alone a lot because my sister Jan was eight years older than I was, and gone at school or busy with friends her age. The only boys in the area were more than a mile away, and were real farm kids who had to work and do chores. During the summer, I shot bow and arrow, plinked tin cans with my B B gun, and played in the barn.

Then school started, and I was inside reading comics, Big Little Books, school books, and paperbacks. We played Monopoly, Parcheesi, card games, checkers, and Chinese Checkers.

My youth was highlighted by experiences with critters and wild things. I had a pet raccoon who lived a long time in the house with us before returning to the wild. I had a pet crow whose “nest” was a rag pile on top of the refrigerator in the work room. Daddy brought to the porch three baby skunks who had lost their mother, but they never got tame enough to bring into the house. We always had a dog.

Daddy bought a pony named Smokey for me when I was eight. Mom led me around until I got over my initial fear, and then I could ride outside. I was Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman all in one. What fun times!

One day when I was feeling adventurous, I packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a paper bag, saddled up Smokey and rode across the highway all the way down the lane to the back of the farm. What an adventurous outing! I tied Smoky to a small tree, and sat on the grass to eat my lunch, then started riding back to the barn. When Smokey saw the barn, he took the bit in his mouth and took off running! My pulling on the reins and shouting had no effect on his rush to get home and get something to eat. Thank God there were no cars on Michigan Highway 66 as we crossed. Smokey scraped against the barn door, tearing my blue jeans as he rushed to get to the oat bin.

My adventures are shared in a book I’ve written, Memories of Growing Up On Grandpa’s Farm, a collection of anecdotes and rhyming stories about my life from age seven to eleven.

Did you have pets when you were a kid? Do you have fun memories from when you were little?