Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Surviving Childhood: Over another Farm Fence

A rusty nail through the sole of a six-year-old boy's Red Ball Jets gives meaning to the words "look before your leap."  It didn't stop me from climbing farm fences but I had much better awareness of what I might jump onto or into. I had cousin who, like me, lived in town.

Randy didn't have the same love of farms that I did but, occasionally, he would also go along with his father when, like my father, he worked the farm. We were cousins because our fathers were brothers. Our fathers had an uncle, who farmed. They both helped him out from time-to-time.

I was standing in the driveway at Randy’s house one day when his father pulled his 1952 Ford into the driveway after a day of working at Uncle Jack’s farm. Randy and his cousin, Hans, from his mother’s side, were in the car but neither they, nor Uncle Len, looked very happy.

Running up to the car to greet them, I found both the boys wearing ill-fitting clothing without shoes or socks. I stood by the car, taking in the scenario and trying to understand why everyone looked so unhappy. There was a pungent odor wafting from the car as I stood by the open window with a puzzled look on my face. Like my father, Uncle Len wasn't much for nurturing but he did give up a pretty good clue as what had happened.

“Well, what are you waiting for Hog Shit? Get outta’ my car and go tell your mother what you did.”

That afternoon, Randy and Hans, with another cousin who lived on the farm, had simultaneously taken a jump off of the top of a farm fence. However, they had a much softer landing than I did when I pinned one of my Red Ball Jets to my foot with a rusty nail. The boys had landed, butt deep, in a pile of hog manure that had been pushed up near the gate to be taken out to the fields in the spreader.

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