Last night my son asked what my favorite childhood, summer past-time was. I ventured back to the dark ages and tried to remember.
I had an epiphany! No wonder I get tired of running all the time…
We lived in the middle of the boonies. Just west of Williamsburg Hill ( http://www.prairieghosts.com/w-hill.html) to be precise. We went to a small, country church a few miles from home. A trip to town, approximately 20 miles one way, occurred one day a week. Fridays. It involved errands and grocery shopping and it took the whole morning. It was boring, but we kids went, because it was, after all, a trip to town. Mom would treat us to a donut at the local shoppe, therefore making the trip worthwhile. My favorite was the chocolate-iced donuts with the dollop of white icing in the center. No wonder I still associate donuts with a trip to the store. But, I go to the store practically daily now…not good. And I no longer have the metabolism of a gangly, growing 9-year old…doubly not good.
We entertained ourselves. The one and only TV was not allowed to be on all day long. A favorite show here and there was okay, but it was not an instrument for background noise.
I rode my bike to the drainage ditch/culvert and studied gravity and physics while throwing sticks and rocks in the water.
My sister and I longed (begged? whined?) one summer for a dune buggy or go-kart of some sort. Dad relented…sort of…and started up the old Ford tractor 8M (or N?) for us to joyride through the pasture. We had instructions to not chase the cows.
The highlight of the summer was the Shelby County 4-H Fair. Oh my gosh – we went to town every day for a week! As I got older and started showing beef cattle, eventually I could stay at the fair All. Day. Long. Such freedom I had never experienced before.
However, we kids learned never to express that we were bored. Uttering the words, “I’m bored” on a farm, with parents that worked sun-up to sun-down to keep food on the table was sure to result in a sashay with a weed hook, hoe, mower or bucket to pick whatever fruit or vegetable was maturing in the heat and sun. Feeling bored, was best contended with by finding a book… and hiding! Thus, my well-honed love of reading. It is still an escape to me.
Evenings, I can remember sitting on the steps with my Dad as he watched the cows and their calves move through the pasture. They had a knack for rotational-grazing before it was implemented by professors that studied such benefits. There isn’t much cuter than watching Polled Hereford calves run and kick their hooves in the air. Unless it is when they begin play-butting each other around, head-to-head, pushing back and forth. I would also entertain myself by feeding the cows garden and orchard leftovers, such as spent sweet corn stalks, over-ripe tomatoes and dropped apples. The cows would see me and come running for that night’s treat.
Finally, for my son, I decided the best past-time I had was my cats. I could spend hours following a mama cat around the farm in order to deduct her hiding spot for her kittens. Once that sleuthing was done, I could then spend hours playing with the kittens and coming up with creative names, such as Blackie and Goldie. I had my cats with me every season of the year. We would play in the barn in the summer heat and snuggle in the hay loft in the cold, winter weather. Their purring would almost lure me into a nap.
My son thought I was pathetic. I know…it’s hard to explain but it was a great childhood!