As I was home the other day I was discussing with my brother the many reasons why we were lucky to have made it through childhood. It’s funny though, my husband talks about people smoking on his bus on the way to school, but that would have NEVER happened on our bus. On the other hand, kids driving themselves to school as soon as they hit their 16th birthday was pretty common. – Mostly because farm kids started driving as soon as they could see over the dash board. I still remember the rules: If you see another car, pull over and park. If they hit you parked it’s their fault, if you are moving it’s your fault – child, no license, driving by yourself. My parents would have me follow to take an extra vehicle to the field, my aunt would have me drop her at the mushroom patch, and my dad would just let us practice.
Childhood though also included rides such as getting in the front bucket of the tractor and my dad spinning us around while he made the bucket go up and down. We would climb grain bins into the air and jump into corn and beans that were drying. Learned to swim by being thrown into a pond (at least doggie paddle). We started hunting as soon as we were old enough to hold the gun to shoot. Mini bikes, horses, and in our case odd animals that my dad collected were all part of childhood.
I remember cold days snowmobiling on a frozen river racing after my father (my dad would make us get off for the really steep hills and he would ride our snowmobile up), skating on frozen ponds where railroad tracks had been removed, and even playing in old railroad equipment that had been left buried on the earth by the removed tracks through a field my parents bought.
One of the dangers of growing up on a farm is getting lost in a field…. Surprisingly I don’t remember anyone I know getting lost, but I do remember wondering into fields when I desperately wanted to pee – and remembering the stories. I always wondered how it happened that anyone older could get lost in a field and die knowing the layout of most field in rows.
One story that my brother and I discussed though was my dad chasing down one of our deer that escaped (with antlers). He chased it up and down the field in an old scout, and then wrestled it back into the pin. My brother remembered looking out to see the deer with my dad pinned against a propane tank. My dad apparently always said he would have been gored if the deer wasn’t worn out from running back and forth down the field.