Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween Adventures

"Rocks and splintered glass flew across the bed ..." 

I’ve never been that fond of Halloween.

If  you were to ask a psychologist, they would probably say it has to do with an incident just after my birth. I was only a few days old when Mom and Dad brought me home from the hospital. It was Halloween or the day before.

Uncle George's Place
We lived here when I was born.
My bassinet was at the end of Mom and Dad’s bed which was placed under a large window in the master bedroom. We lived way out in the country. Out where young boys loved to go and play pranks.

On this particular night, the boys decided it would be funny to throw rocks through the windows of farm homes.

It happened just after Mom lifted me from the bassinet. Rocks and shattered glass sprayed across the bed. And the rocks flew across the end of the bed just missing the bassinet.

I don’t remember any of this, so I doubt that this is why I am not particularly excited about Halloween.

A better reason could be because I don’t like being scared, or maybe cause I don’t like to dress up. As a child, I never liked dressing up in anyway that required a mask. Since I can’t see a thing without my glasses, they had to be worn. But glasses under a mask steam up so, then, I couldn’t see for that reason.

Now this doesn't mean that I never enjoyed Halloween. I have some fond memories of Trick or Treating back in the day. 

We didn’t visit every home in town like they do now. We only visited the families that we knew and vice versa. I remember mom driving us to the neighbor friends, especially the elderly couple up the road (Yoder, I believe). I liked them best because they bought the large candy bars and let us choose which kind we liked.

One thing I miss now-a-days, is the fun of guessing who is behind the mask. The kids just come to the door and many times don’t even say trick or treat, they just hold out their bags for the goodies.
I remember the Deckerd family, nearby farmers. I believe they had three boys. But their dad loved dressing up, though it was usually just a sheet over his head like a ghost. He was a big tease. It was always a hoot when they arrived trick-or-treating. And it didn’t take much to guess who it was!

It look something like this
I recall a few times when the youth or 4-H would have a Halloween party. I got creative so that I wouldn’t have to wear a mask. Once, I took a large box and created a large die.

I thought that was pretty creative, but I didn’t even win a prize. Dave Barber won Most Creative. He came as a tube of toothpaste. Ugh!

It looked a lot like this

Another time, I took my dad’s overcoat and closed the neck above my head. Then stuffed paper in the shoulders to be a headless horseman. That was pretty fun. No one could guess it was me.

How about you, any favorite Halloween adventures on your part?



Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Yellow Truck

This post is inspired by a prompt from Reflections of a Mother's Heart
The prompt was "Have your ever had a car accident?"

I never liked that truck anyway.

It was school bus yellow and flat out ugly. It had a standard transmission, the kind with the long gear shift. And worse, it smelled of the farm. Suffice it to say that I did not enjoy driving it when I had places to go. What teenage girl would?

The first time I drove it, I was sixteen and I only had my learner's permit. I’m not sure why, but everyone was gone somewhere. My brother, Alex, was out in the fields working and I was at the house. 

The phone rang. It was Alex.

“You have to come get me down at the blue barn.”

“No one is here to go. Everyone is gone but me and I don’t have a driver’s license.”

“Well, you have to come get me. One of the wheels fell off of the tractor.”

“The only vehicle here is the truck. I don't know how to drive it.”

“Do you know how to start it and get it in gear?”


“Just put it in 2nd and come.”

It was only a mile down the road and we lived way out in the country on a lonely country road, but that didn’t ease my mind. I was sure that the cops would be along any minute. .. Especially when they heard the truck engine blaring down the road.

I arrived safely and found Alex. He offered to drive home which I would hear nothing of because He was only 12. (We'll ignored the fact that a 12 year old, knew more about driving than a sixteen year old who was just about finished with Driver's Ed)

“Just tell me when to shift.”

And off we went again. I was never so glad to arrive at the house.

Maybe that experience is why I didn’t particularly like the truck. I don’t think it had to do with the standard transmission. After all, I later loved driving my sister’s 3-speed Mustang and when it came time to buy my own car, I insisted on purchasing a car with a manual transmission.

 Well … the question of the week is 
Have I ever had a car accident?

Ok. Ok. Stop laughing. I can hear the laughter from here.…. There are several stories I could share on the subject. But we’ll stick with the yellow pickup truck.

Let’s see, by now I was 17 or maybe 18… My little sister, Marcy and I were on our way to piano lessons one Saturday morning. 

Yes… in the yellow truck. 

Man, I hated that truck.

Now our farm was up on a hill, so you know, we had to descend the hill to get to a highway. It was a bright winter day. But cold. The road was covered with black ice.

Black ice is the type of ice on the road that one doesn’t see or realize that it is there until it’s too late.

This particular road is a short road. It’s just drops down the hill to the highway below. Across the highway lies the marshland. About halfway down, I applied the brakes to slow for the stop sign.

 And that’s when it started….

The truck begin to slide about. We dropped off the pavement to one side, so I counter-steered to make the adjustment. We popped back up on the road and on over to the other side of the road.

I counter steered again only to go right back across the road. All the time, we’re approaching the bottom of the hill. 

I counter steer again 

and again.

This time, I didn’t know what else to do and as the truck went into the ditch, I’m told I said,

“Here we go!”

Into the ditch, up and over. I think it only rolled to it’s side, but I felt like someone had thrown me into a clothes dryer as we toppled over.

When we came to a stop on the driver's side, I looked up to the passenger seat. My sister was no longer there. Since we didn’t have seat belts, she obviously was thrown around and down towards me, I think she landed above my head.

Someone happened by on the highway below, saw us, and came to our rescue. We weren’t hurt badly, but my leg was stuck between the steering wheel and the door. The man pulled up on the steering wheel and helped us out.

He took us back up to the house.

Now the scary part … 

Telling my parents.

I guess all teenagers think that parents will burst into a fit of anger when told that you wrecked their truck, but with knees knocking and probably tears flowing, I got the news out.

My parents were gracious and only seemed to be glad that we were safe and sound. Of course the truck was totaled, but we did get a “new” Ford truck out of the deal.

Just the other day, Dad accused that he would still have that International truck today, if not for my accident! Ha Ha!

Okay, siblings. I know you want to .. so go ahead and share your side of the story!

By the way, 

I'm having a GIVEAWAY for my BIRTHDAY. 

But you have to go read the Farmer's Place Blog to enter.
(I've been blogging every day in October about my journey with chronic pain.)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Laughter on the Stairs

This isn't us,
but it sure could have been!
Dad tells a story about a man meeting with him at the house one time. At the time, Mom was away but we, children, were home. (5 of us at that time). One by one we had each come through the living room and up the stairs. The man watched as each of us ascended the stairs and then said to Daddy,

 “Your wife must be a knock-out!”

So ... Did he think Dad wasn't all that good looking, or what?

We had many occasions where laughter resounded from the stairs. One event occurred more than once at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It may have happened every month when we all came together for family dinner. That was the infamous train slide down the stairway. What fun. 

Photo Credit:
Life Hacks for Kids

Now kids love to slide down the stairs, but we added a twist to ours. We, cousins, would gather at the top of the stairs and slide down holding to the legs of the cousin in front of us. We ended up in a laughing pile on the floor at the bottom. There were 17 of us, though because of age differences, we probably never had all 17 sliding down at once, but it was a heap of fun and laughter.

Let me share one more ...

Our home in Wisconsin had a narrow hallway that led from the kitchen to the family room.
In that hallway was a door that led to the basement. If the door was open, it would pretty much block the hallway.
I recall a day that my brother Alex went to the basement for something and left the door open. Mom had been in the family room and came back into the kitchen closing the door as she came.
Just as the door closed, we heard these awful sounds of bumps and thumps of something falling down the steps. Then there was the thud and a, “Uhhh.”

A look of horror crossed Mom’s face as she turned to open the door, expecting to see her son crumpled at the bottom of the stairs. But, you know how those old doorknobs are; the harder you try to open the door the tougher it is to get open. She turned and twisted the knob and finally the door opened.

There on the top stair, stood Alex with a grin.
 “Hi, Mom!”, said he.

Mom had indeed closed the door on him, but not to his fate. Quick on his feet, he decided he would play a little joke and made all the noises of falling down the steps.

Everyone burst into laughter; though I’m thinking Mom might have had a few others ideas in her mind besides laughing!

Alrighty, siblings and cousins. Your turn to make us laugh. Share your funny memory from the farm. 

Just Reminiscing!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Family Initiation? - Canning Meat

This post is inspired by a prompt from Reflections of a Mother's Heart
The prompt was "Tell about a canning or harvesting experience"

picture borrowed from
The Preppy Mountain Farm House
Oh, the memories of sitting on the porch swing in the cool breeze shelling peas with Grandma Dawson. What I would give to go back and do that one more time. At the time, I didn't know the privilege I had. I sure would love to be able to ask Grandma some questions. Questions about family. Questions about favorite recipes. Or just to hear her voice again.

I remember having two large gardens when we were growing up. It took a lot of food to feed the 2 parents, 6 kids, plus farmhands. In the spring, I recall rushing out to plant seeds before the rains came. Then weeding the vegetables all summer, but the harvest time was best.

Who wouldn't love the harvest? Shelling peas on the porch with Grandma and looking forward to eating fresh veggies at suppertime. I've done precious little canning as an adult and sitting here thinking of it now gets me wishing I could go back and do it once more.

There was a year or two when we even canned meat. A few chickens and a cow or two. We must have started the meat canning sometime in my teen years because I only remember doing it a few times, but my sister-in-law says it was done quite a bit. I do remember eating the canned meat. Besides for the fact that it was delicious, it made cooking really easy.

Canning beef ... that was a very big job. It was an all-day job with EVERYONE pitching in to help. The butcher lived right down the road, so he would do the butchering and then it was our job to get the meat to the house, cut it up in small pieces, and placed in the jars and ready to can before the meat spoiled.

The year I particularly remember, we were mostly all adults. It must have been around '86 or ‘87 and for some reason, we were all home. Both of my sisters had their fiancĂ©/husbands with them. And EVERYONE was put to work... even the in-laws!

Some of us did it much more often than the rest of us since they lived right there near the farm. The routine went something like this..

1. Run jars through the dishwasher. Boil lids.
2. Cut the beef into chunks.
3. Put beef chunks into jars hot from the dishwasher.
4. Add a little salt.
5. Fill jars with hot water and screw on hot lids.
6. Place in the canner. Canning time... 90 minutes
7. We canned all kinds of meat. Beef, ground beef, chicken, and ham.
8. So good to have on hand already cooked

I only remember that it was tiring work for those of us that had become “cityfied”. According to my brother-in-law, Bob it was because many of us bailed out and had 'other' things to do that day. ie. scheduled a perm, had to go to work, none of the Dawson 'Males' were around (or could be found), so it was Mom, Mandy, and a few in-laws. Bob & Tony stole away to post a sign at the road “Fresh Meat”.

Mom didn’t think it was all that funny. :)

Marcy shared with me that she preferred beef to the chicken as she did not have fond memories of butchering chickens!! YUK! Now she buys boneless chicken on sale and cans it. It makes a great chicken salad and protein to many dishes.

A few years later, I brought home my fiance', Michael. Bob and Tony thought that we ought to can meat to initiate Michael into the family. But that did not happen.

Michael lucked out of that one! 

One thing I will say is that working together creates a bond that makes you a family. Even though our families are now spread across the United States, there is still a bond that cannot be broken.

Just Reminiscing,