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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Most Unusual and Frightening Events I Experienced as a Child

Actually, these are two different events so we’ll take the unusual first.

Cow pasture - Free clipart

I grew up on a farm in rural southern Texas, as you know already if you’ve been following this blog. We very seldom left the farm except to attend school. I was too young to recall this unusual event, so I had to enlist the help of my mother for this one. The things she told me about I don’t even remember because I wasn't even walking yet. This is what led up to that unusual incident.

During my first year, we lived in an old farmhouse on the other side of the pasture from my grandparents. We referred to this place as the Chernosky house, for the people who owned it. Daddy leased it from them before I was born. Mama said it was awfully run down, an old wood house with 2 x 4’s on the walls. There was no sheetrock or plywood, and no running water. Daddy ran a pipe to the kitchen from the well, which was about 20 or 30 feet from the house. The floors were bare wood and put splinters in my knees and hands when I was old enough to crawl.

I honestly don’t know how my mother put up with some of the things she had to with farm life, being the city girl she was. She told me they used a hot plate for cooking and an ice chest as a temporary refrigerator. There was no heat, so Daddy got a space heater for the bedroom. They would keep that door closed to keep it warm. Mama and Daddy even ate their meals in there because the daytime temperature in the kitchen was 40 degrees in the wintertime.

The roof had leaks all over it, so my parents placed foot tubs and buckets around to catch the water. There was a terrible ice and snowstorm that year, so they took me and went to stay with my grandparents until spring.

Mama and Mamaw (grandmother – Daddy’s mother) were going out to the corn barn one time to get corn to feed the cows. The corn barn was a small, wood building on stilts that was located in the middle of the cow pasture. It had holes cut in the walls to serve as windows and a door. In later years, we would all have to spend our time out in that barn, shoveling corn from a wagon, to fill it up every year after the harvest. The cows would always gather around trying to get at the corn and none of us particularly liked that part of the job.

Mama had me in her arms that day and, Vergie, one of the milk cows, came along and stuck my whole arm in her mouth thinking it was an ear of corn. Mama screamed and she and Mamaw got my arm out of the cow’s mouth before any damage could take place. Mama said, “I forgot how slimy cow’s mouths can be.” I can only picture the expression that must have been on her face that day, because of course I was too young to remember that.

That following summer we moved into a travel trailer that my Daddy bought from a trailer park in Houston. He parked this trailer next to the milk house, which was across the driveway from his parent’s house. It was a palace compared to the Chernosky house, I guess, but it still had none of the modern conveniences we have today. This small, silver trailer also got awfully tiny and crowded with four kids and two adults living in it. However, you have to manage with what you have when you grow up on a farm.
Similar to trailer we lived in - Free Clipart

We lived there for five years doing all the things kids would normally do growing up and then we moved into the sharecropper’s shacks. Kid number six was on the way and we definitely needed more room. It is when we were living there that life got more exciting and my first sister and I experienced the most frightening event in our lives.

When I was about ten or eleven my sister, Scherri, and I were out fooling around in the cornfield when a Brahma bull got out of the pasture and started chasing us. I can’t remember a time in my childhood that was more frightening than that. Of course, we had many bulls while we lived on the farm because Daddy would change them out every few years, but the others did not compare to this creature.
Brahma Bull - Free Clipart

We tried not to let panic set in as we were running across the rows of corn. It was almost harvest time, so the stalks towered above our heads. We were down toward one end of that field and the bull was at the other. We could see him keeping up with us as we crossed the rows and there was a clearing in the field. We ran and ran as fast as we could; darting around the corn stalks and wondering if we were going to make it to the house alive.
Corn Patch - Free Clipart

That bull was a very terrifying sight to a kid, white and big with large horns and a hump on his back and he always looked particularly mean. At that point, it was each man for himself, so we did our best to keep the fright at bay. The only thing to do was to keep running. The house never seemed so far away! I was out of breath and my heart was pounding. My legs felt weak and tired, but I knew I didn’t dare stop until I got in the door. I kept trying to run faster.

I made it home before Scherri and I was still panting when she got to the house. Her face was beet red and she was shaking like a leaf, so Mama put her in a tub of cold water to cool her off and calm her down.

For a few years after that, we kept looking around behind us every time we went out to the cornfield.

Does anyone have a frightening experience to share?


  1. amazing stories, Sunni. The story of your early homes is very salutary... people think they have to have so many appliances and gadgets to have a real home... but you didn't and it sounds as though it WAS a real home, filled with love and fun and hard work and decency.

  2. Hi Valerie,

    Thank you for reading and posting.

    Yes, life was so much simpler back then than it is today. We had few luxuries, but we all survived just fine. None of us ever ended up in jail or addicted to drugs like so many of today's kids. Sometimes I think people grow up with way too much in today's world. They get so spoiled they think they could never survive without all those things.

    Of course I'm glad the Internet and computers were invented so we can meet and keep in touch with all the nice people all over the world, whom we would never know existed otherwise. But, I'm glad we didn't have all that when I was growing up because it left us to play outside and be creative in coming up with fun things to do.

    Most kids today don't get enough exercise in body or in mind because they are addicted to all their modern devices and would rather sit in front of the computers, etc. Shame on the parents that let them do those things.



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