On a cold sunny day the year 1944, a child was pulled into the world by an intoxicated Dr. Sweet in the town of Ritzville in the state of Washington... the first ten years were spent living on a farm seven-and-one-half miles from town. The house was old, but mom made it comfortable and it was tastefully decorated for its time. I remember the old wood cookstove, the trash burner, the table and chairs, the sink and the cupboards in the kitchen and the high window where the cat would jump up in the evening and eat the millers, the telephone on the wall with the crank to place a call to the operator, the pantry attached by a door which held the milk separator and later the pasteurizer and assorted kitchen necessities, and the spooky door to the cellar with no real stairs. The only outside door was never locked—I don't remember a key.
Oh, the Christmas tree and the presents Santa Claus left! It was tradition to go to Christmas Eve church services in town, so for years I didn't realize it was my mom who put presents under the tree... she was always the last person out the door. Christmas time also meant baking of cookies and Aunt Hulda's candy... the fudge, penuche and my favorite divinity.
Spring was going out to locate the wildflowers that bloomed—buttercups, blue bells, birdie bills and lady slippers—only to be found in secret locations. Summer—swimming in the mud hole with friends and having a mud fight and the horror of my mother trying to clean us up—we ended in the cattle trough. Harvest time with the harvest crew and the long days and the good food. My Aunt Hulda coming out to help us can fruits and vegetables for the long winter, my job was to put the fruit in the jar, my small hands could arrange the fruit just perfect.
When I was four, electricity came to the farm. My Dad bought my Mom an electric stove, refrigerator, and twin front-loading washer and dryer... it was so cool!
The farm animals... baby chicks that became fryers to sell and the hens who lay the eggs and the roosters who chased you, and you had to run like the wind to escape their flying feet... the talons could rip you to shreds. The time we played in the hay barn, and crashing on the hard baled hay and knocking the breath out of myself and cracking my collarbone. It wasn't until years later that I wondered where the calcification came from. The pig pen and the milk cow and the steers... watching animals being shot and butchered for food. The meat was stored in a locker in town. It was very cold and kind of spooky... reminded me of a movie called The Thing. The time I watched Pop in the shop welding my trike and getting a spanking with a willow branch. I had had strict instructions not to watch as the torch without goggles was dangerous to the eyes...
I love the freedom to have friends in all walks of life, life styles, life beliefs... it is a journey that has brought freedom, peace and joy! Who knows what adventures lie ahead! Life is a journey and for me, one's path is often ... like the song, "The Rose"!!!
SONG: "The Rose"
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