Some of this is from several posts in 2012
Our days on the farm flew by especially in the summers when there was no school and no bus to catch. We could play outside all day and we made the most of every minute, letting our imaginations take over. Sometimes the unexpected happened making the day even better.
Besides playing in the hay barn and our games in the pasture, during summer months, we got into stumbling pursuits after fireflies (lightning bugs) that we would catch in jars or in our hands. We would also go out, catch those hairy caterpillars, and put them in jars, being careful to take a nail and poke holes in the lid so they could breathe. Sometimes we even put a blade of grass in there with them, just like home.
My sisters and I loved to make mud pies too and would while away a summer afternoon sitting on the bench under the chinaberry trees sifting dirt to make it fine. We used screen wire and an old tin can for this and would try to gather dirt from a few places to get some different colors.
“Oh it still isn’t fine enough,” one of us would say as we looked at the assortment of tin cans and screen and we would sift it some more. When we were satisfied it was smooth and fine enough we would add water and make it into patties that we would place in an old iron skillet or on a piece of screen to ‘cook.’ On a few occasions, we would add some straw to make it different. When I think about it, there sure does seem to be a million and one uses we had for tin cans back then.
Daddy would make us bows and arrows out of tree limbs and old inner tubes that he would cut into strips. We also had slingshots from forked branches. These things could shoot a mean chinaberry. Daddy also would try to teach us to shoot his twenty-two rifle and would line up cans on the fence posts. Of course, we only did this under his supervision. Otherwise, the gun stayed locked up. We all had lectures on being extremely careful with it too and he would always be standing right beside us. This was not one of the favorite things for us girls to do, but I guess he thought we needed to know how.
Sometimes, as the oldest, I would play teacher. We had enough kids for a classroom. Everyone always went along with what I wanted to teach or do. I even gave everybody tests and quizzes and no one seemed to mind.
Once in awhile all of us would pile around the little black and white television and watch Ed Sullivan, Lawrence Welk, or Gunsmoke. Gunsmoke was Daddy’s favorite show. We got that little television when I was six. Most of the time, we played outside, which is something kids don’t do enough of today.
We rode our bicycles down the dirt road to the highway to count the cars on the freight trains and wave at the man in the caboose, or to watch for a certain color car to go by on the highway. My sister, Scherri, and I learned to ride on Daddy’s big, old brown bicycle. We got a blue bicycle for Christmas in 1960 and our sister, Bonni, got a scooter that was pink.
You can imagine this menagerie as we stopped at each fencepost on the way back from the highway, pretending they were different places in town such as the grocery store, the post office, or the doctor’s office. If two of us ended up at the same post at the same time, we would say:
“Oh hello Mrs. So and so. How are you?” or something to that effect. We would carry on these conversations in this pretend game all the way back to the house.
All of us spent quite a bit of time wading in the muddy ditches of water after it rained. This muddy water seemed to be as enticing to us as the old barn and kept beckoning us to enter, so off the shoes would come and before long we would all be knee deep in water. This was especially fun in the summer when it was so hot.
Once in awhile all of us piled into that old pink and white station wagon to go to the dollar a carload drive-in movie in town. We had to keep the windows down in that car all year because the exhaust fumes leaked in, but we didn’t care. It was a day out and off the farm. The first thing we would do is go to the snack bar and buy one of the pic coils for mosquito’s that we could light and place on the dash. In summer, the nights were sticky and the mosquitoes were plentiful. Once the old metal speaker was in place on the edge of the window, we all settled back to watch the movie. Then it was just a matter of saying “shut up” once in awhile and slapping a stray mosquito or two.
Once in a great while, we went to the Dairy Queen after. We would all pile out, sit on the curb, and have an ice cream cone, or eat their broiler burgers. They were the best hamburgers I ever had. I wonder now if it was just the event of going to town and I just thought they were fantastic because they aren’t like that today.
As you can see, life on the farm wasn’t all work and no play. The work was hard because you had to deal with all the heat and humidity along with it, but we had our fun times as well. The entertainment was very diverse because there were so many of us. Somebody always had an idea for a game or competition. We had our moments of fighting and disagreeing with each other too, but looking back on it, we had lots of fun because there were so many to play with and not too many dull moments.