The vast majority of U.S. citizens have never witnessed events we, here in the Midwest, have seen.
• A colt being born with the assistance of the owner, my Dad, and watching it gradually gain its sea legs;
• A litter of skunks found under a shed, its mother run over on the road; (We had one, Snoopy, descented and raised it as a pet, something you can’t do today.)
• Piglets being born in the middle of the winter under a heating lamp that consisted of a metal shield and light bulb;
• Feeding those newborn pigs in the kitchen with baby bottles when the mother refused to nurse; (Great learning experience for me to use in later years when our daughter Robin was born. Yes, I guess I did just compare my newborn daughter to a piglet.)
• The sight of a baby deer, its legs no bigger than the diameter of a pencil, learning to walk; (With permission from Fish and Game, Dad raised that deer until it jumped the six-foot fence.)
• Dogs serving as our garbage disposal; (The first one was simply named Dog, the next Patches because it was a Heinz 57, and later, Tippy;
• A snake climbing a tree; (Still gives me the creeps.)
• A dog so starved, its ribs dominated its coat; (Because someone got tired of owning it and dropped it off out in the country in front of our house for somebody else to take care of.)
• A calf, struggling with disease in the middle of the winter, living in the basement; (Because sometimes one steer was the difference between making money or losing money.)
• A cat playing with a mouse; (The cat would capture the mouse between its paws, let it go, then pounce on it again.)
• Chopping ice off a horse tank twice a day so the cattle and horses could get a drink of water; (One year Dad bought a windmill for the pond to keep it stirred up so it didn’t freeze. After a winter storm we went down to the pond only to find the windmill had been blown over and frozen in the ice.)
• Catching tadpoles and putting them in that horse tank during the summer and watching them turn into frogs; (We had a two-by-four board floating in the tank so the frogs would jump on and off it.)
• Going down to the “crick” (I still stay crick and instead of creek) with a stick, string and hook to catch fish which we would bring home for Mom to fry.
• Horseback riding without a saddle, reins or a bit; (We just had a harness and a rope.)
• Mom brewing tea in a gallon jar; (She then took it out to us in the field in Mason jars topped with wax paper and a lid.)
• Dehorning cattle and neutering pigs; (I’m not going into details.)
Listening to Tracey Mann talk Friday on growing up in small town America brought back many memories of growing up in rural Kansas.
We never had a horse upstairs, though.
Don’t take this as an endorsement, but thanks, Tracey. With COVID-19 consuming everyone’s life, and a presidential debate that didn’t seen very presidential, it was nice to just get away by reminiscing for a couple hours.