Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Me 'n my Pappy
Me n' Pappy in 1967. He's holding the pony still so Mom can take my picture. (Love those little red boots...and the buzz cut!)
I wasn't fortunate enough to grow up on a farm...I probably would have turned out a lot better if I had...oh well. Anyway, my maternal grandparents had a farm in Wellersburg, Pennsylvania. 167 acres of lush, green rolling hills that was fed by 7 underground springs. To a 6 or 7 year old kid, that farm was a little slice of Heaven on earth.
So when I got the urge for a little adventure I went to Pappy and Grandma's place. We didn't live all that far away, and all I had to do to get Mom to take me up to the farm for the weekend was to sign a piece of paper...in my own blood...saying that I would do my chores, behave for the next 50 years, eat my veggies, and stop running off to play with those rotten kids down the street (they weren't really that bad, but my parents thought so.)
Having signed my life away, Mom would toss me in the old family car...a Rambler sedan, and off we'd go. Upon arriving at the farm, Grandma would stuff me til I was ready to bust...to this day no one, not Mom, or Goody Two Shoes, can make mashed potatos that can even come close to Grandma's. After supper it was out to the barn with Pappy, where I was his shadow til it was time to come in. I don't recall working much, but then again I was little. But I did ask a lot of questions.
Saturdays it was out to the barn with Pappy to feed the cows, while Grandma raided the chicken coop for eggs. After the cows were fed it was up on the tractor to spread manure and fix fences and move the cows from one pasture or another. Funny, I don't recall manure smelling as funky back then as it does today. There was also hay to make. Since I was little I was never asked to help, but I got to ride on the tractor while Pappy or my cousin Billy drove.
Once I even got to drive the tractor. Okay, so I steered, while Pappy worked the pedals and the gear shift. That was a big thrill!
Me and my cousin Billy up on the old Allis Chalmers in 1963.
The afternoons were my own. I'd play with Laddie, who was a cross between a Collie and a Clydsdale. I mean, this dog was big. I remember seeing Laddie knock Pappy down once or twice. But the old mutt was gentle as a lamb and loved to play. I also spent a great deal of time playing with the cats...all 17 of them! Yep you read it right, 17! I played in the tree out front, picked apples from the trees on the upper side of the farmhouse, rode the pony, and rummaged through the barn. Another favorite pastime was playing in Grandma's sewing room...actually, I stared out the window at the barn and the lower pasture and the road and watched the world go by.
Evenings were quiet time. Sitting on the porch and watching the deer or sitting in the living room watching a little television. How can T.V. be considered quiet time? Easy, it was 1967, they didn't have cable and only got 2 or 3 channels. So watching the boob tube was a big deal.
Sunday morning we went to church, then it was back to the farm to make dinner and wait for Mom and Dad to pick me up. I miss those days.
Today, the farm is still in the family, but I don't go there much anymore...the reasons for going now are gone now...Pappy died in 1968, and Grandma in 1979.
More on the farm later.
My Pappy in 1965.
'In all the years he walked this earth, I swear all he did was work.'
From Help Somebody by Van Zant.
'I'm gonna walk with my Granddaddy, and he'll match me step for
step. And I'll tell him how I missed him every minute since he left.
The I'll hug his neck.'
From When I Get Where I'm Going by Brad Paisly