A Child Remembers
by Alice Adcock
Gadsden, TN 38337
When I was a child we lived next to a ranch where the owner had a lot of cattle, one of them a big black bull that weighed well over 2500 pounds and was mean as sin.
Anyone who went into the pasture with him had to be on horseback or get trampled – except my mother and me. Why he never hurt us, no one could figure, but he liked us and when we’d go there to Alamo each Saturday, if he saw us he came to be petted.
As in all large pastures this one had a lot of clumps of prickly mustard greens that were delicious cooked with a piece of salt pork. One day mama and I were picking some, she at one large bunch and I some twenty feet away at another. She kept glancing my way, but said nothing, and I thought she was making sure I was picking the mustard right – then, all of a sudden I was face down in that stand of prickly mustard with my rear end in the air, and mama laughing so hard she fell into her clump.
The bull had come up behind us without our hearing a sound, so when I didn’t turn around to pet him he up-ended me. Needless to say, he got his petting and a few choice words from me which made mama laugh all the harder, which made me mad.
After that I watched, as I was more afraid of that prickly mustard than I ever was of the bull – that stuff really hurt!
Stone Walls and Rattlesnakes
by John R. Brann
Fort Scott, KS 66701
To a letter a few years ago, my elder brother, Richard Willard Brann, replied,
“Those stone walls at the farm intrigued me, too. Must have been over two miles of them. What with cross-walls and feed lots. No one man could have gathered the stone, loaded it on a stone-sled, hauled it to the fence line, and built those well-knit walls in one lifetime. Surely not all of that stone came off the surface of that farm, either.
“I’m sure Grandpa didn’t build the walls, but someone told me, perhaps Grandpa, that wall-builders did it under contract at one dollar a rod (16½ feet). Talk about Minimum Wages! But there were no Social Security deductions. They got it all.”
Standing out in my memory is an incident which happened when I was perhaps seven or eight – a barefoot boy with my brother who was cultivating corn – when we went over the stone wall where it was lowest at the far end of the field, to get a drink at the stream in a neighboring pasture.
Coming back, I nearly stepped on a large diamondback stretched along the base of the wall in the sun. How I ever managed to get over the wall in the first place without disturbing it, is beyond me.
Willard, who was tall and thin, with a buggy-whip arm and proud of his rock-throwing ability, began pelting the rattler with rocks, whereupon it set off the alarm with a blood-chilling shrill whirr, that was the first and only time I ever heard a rattler show how to orchestrate its warning – and I don’t care for an encore.
(Note: Willametta refuses to let me describe the end of this story as she is the type who believes “It won’t hurt me, if I don’t threaten it.”)
by Helen Penner
Calgary, AB, Canada T2E 6G1
When I was but a tiny babe
Still prisoned in a baby bed
Heaven so much nearer was
That angels showed themselves instead
Of hiding, as a game from me,
The way they have since I was three.
To watch, protect, and care for me
There, while a babe, they came to me.
They came with singing, music grand
Came streaming from their Heavenland
To make exquisite melody –
Why did they stop when I was three?
They helped me up, to queenly sit,
Before I knew the sense of it,
And gave me strength the bars to grip
To stand there proudly, and not slip.
Then to my tongue they gave the thought
Of making words so I could talk,
While, it seemed, my feet grew winds
– For I would run instead of walk.
And even though the house was there,
Of wooden boards, as houses are,
They let me see the sky, the sun,
And many wonders from afar.
From: Early Memories by the children of J. E. Knelson Helen, Book I, 1986
Helping With the Chores
by S. Louise Rayle
Traverse City, MI 49684
First impressions tend to remain etched in our minds. I was nearly two-and-a-half years of age when we moved from the home where I was born to a farm several miles out in the country. I retain that memory. Dad loaded the little furniture we owned onto a wagon, and with mother holding baby Leda, and my older sister, Florence, and I sitting on the back of it, he climbed onto the seat, jiggled the reins and said, “Get up” to our team of beautiful mares, June and Queen, and we were off to our new home.
I recall my first impression of it. A large red barn, a granary and corn crib, and a big yard surrounded by huge maples. The house was two stories, but sided with dark green tar paper. Attached to it was a shed, or pump house, housing the gasoline engine, needed for pumping water for the cattle and team. A windmill protruded thru the roof and extended high into the air, which was used to pump water whenever the wind blew enough to run it.
One evening when I was not yet four, Florence and I decided we were old enough to help with the chores. Mother and dad were both at the barn milking the cows. Knowing that dad always watered the stock after milking was finished, we decided to fill the trough, so he wouldn’t have to.
Florence tried to start the gas engine, but couldn’t, so I decided to turn the windmill on. But shouldn’t it be oiled first? Dashing outside, I scrambled up the ladder onto the shed roof, then up the steel ladder of the windmill. Once on top, I looked for the oil can. Spying it, I began to look for oil holes and found one.
While carrying in two pailfuls of milk, Dad had spotted me, and setting the pails down by the path, rushed up after me, knowing if he called, I would look down and be afraid, and likely fall.
So his strong arm caught me around the waist and quickly carried me to safety. Dad thought we were being mischievous, but we were only trying to help with his chores. No, I didn’t get a spanking, but I never climbed that – or any other – windmill again, even when I grew old enough to do so.
As we were eating supper that evening a strong wind came up and the fan blades blew off the windmill. Glad I wasn’t up there then!
A Presentation of the Talents of Members of United Amateur Press, shared with BAPA. This issue features Early Memory Contest Entries which bring to an end this Contest: by Alice Adcock, John R. Brann, Helen Penner and S. Louise Rayle. Financed by Betty B. Millar, Helen Penner, Ruby Quillman and Margie Schaffer.
Edited by Wma Keffer, Roanoke, VA 24014