Summer ended, and I had to go to school. I attended Hall School, a one-room country school down a side road about a mile from home. At age seven, I was in second grade. There were about fifteen students in a small building set by itself on an acre, with two paths out the back to the outhouses. Our teacher, Miss Tanner, cooked noodle soup on a kerosene stove to augment the sandwich we brought from home.
We carried water in a bucket from a hand pump in the front yard for drinking and for washing dishes at the small sink. In the winter, Miss Tanner built a fire in a small pot-bellied stove to keep the room warm. We started each day with the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
A special memory was my developing a love of reading. Miss Tanner had arranged with Bantam Books to get pocket paperbacks for twenty-five cents, and had an incentive for us to read as many as possible. For each book report we turned in, we got a star on our chart, and after so many stars we got to choose a pencil or soap eraser. I collected soap erasers to stack up. I remember reading Frank Buck’s Bring Em Back Alive about capturing animals for zoos.
I usually walked to school, but one day I rode Smokey to school. Smokey was the big attraction of the day! All the kids wanted to ride the pony, pet the pony, or feed the pony! During class they were looking out the window to see what Smokey was doing. Recess was chaos! The teacher and I agreed that Smokey was too much of a distraction for me to ride to school. From then on, I walked to school.
As I walked home from school toward the highway one day, it occurred to me it would be shorter to cut across the pasture, instead of walking all the way to the corner. So I climbed the fence and started across. About half way, I realized I was not alone in the field. There was a herd of cows off in one corner. Afraid, I started running.
COWS IN THE PASTURE
The cows in the pasture, what do they do?
They graze, and gaze, and sometimes they moo.
The cows in the pasture, what do they see?
A little boy running; the little boy was me!
The little boy is running, what should we do?
To see why he’s running, we’d better run too.
The cows in the pasture, running to see,
Why I was running; they were running toward me!
Little boy running, what do I see?
A whole herd of cows, running toward me!
All of us running, was their intent to pursue?
I ran on scared, as any boy would do.
I ran to the fence, and climbed over fast.
I jumped off the fence, to a safe place at last.
The cows ran to the fence, then what did they do?
They stopped, and looked, and one cow said, “Moo.”
I didn’t stop running, I ran home to say,
“Hey folks, guess what, cows chased me today!”
My aunt was amused, “Cows wouldn’t chase you.”
To see who was running, they came running too.”
Little boy walking, what did I do?
I walked home the long way, wouldn’t you too?
The cows in the pasture, what did they do?
They grazed, they gazed, and sometimes they moo.