Fun On The Farm
Lest you think everything on the farm is work I want to assure you that we had a lot of fun, too. The other night one of the children and I got to talking about “the good old days.”
Grandma’s sister, Evie, and her husband, Norm, came to visit often. Our German Shepherd was on high alert when she heard the Volvo at the bottom of the road. Norm brought her bones and she was anxious to get them. He hunted woodchucks while the men did chores. That was a good thing because the woodchucks made giant holes for the wagons to go around. When I drove the wagon my husband came off the wagon to negotiate the holes. Of course that slowed us down.
After chores there was a visit that included coffee around Grandma’s kitchen table. A lot of stories were told around that table. I do not know how she did it, but grandma always had something to go with coffee. Sometimes it was cheese and crackers, sometimes it was homemade bread.
Our son remembered the big breakfasts when mom’s other sister, Edna, and her husband, Bob, came to visit. Since Todd had been doing chores he was invited. Bob worked for Dupont so they lived in many places. When they came to visit they stayed at the farm. I put their address into my book in pencil because they moved so often.
The neighbors who lived on the farm just behind us were often guests. Betty and John were friends of my in-laws. My husband had a movie camera and took home movies. We’d run a long extension cord out into the field above the garden and show the movies. Usually Grandma and I pooled our resources for refreshments. The children especially liked it when we served popcorn and pop. There were some really cute movies of the children that we loved to watch. On a warm night it was the perfect ending to a busy day.
Even work was fun at times. After an especially wet summer we picked corn by hand to feed the cattle. Often we were picking on the first day of hunting season so we all donned our orange clothes. We’d pick the ears of corn off the stalk and throw them into a bucket. It was a leisurely sort of activity with everyone talking and joking. More than once one of us got clunked on the head with an ear of corn that missed the bucket.
When the men were taking in hay we planned our meals together. Everyone contributed something so we had plenty of food to go around. Grandma’s birthday was in July so we celebrated with a picnic — usually after chores. The cousins enjoyed just being together.
I remember my first visit to the farm. Dick, my husband of more than 35 years, and I had been dating for about three months when he invited me for a barbeque. He came to Fredonia to pick me up. When I walked through the door at the farm his little niece who was peeking out from under the table said, “Where’s Weeze?” It was up to the women to explain that Weeze, Louise, was his last girlfriend.
We had our barbeque with everyone seated around a picnic table. What I did not know at the time was that the men had built that table that day because they did not have one.
Sometimes the fun was just visiting on the porch at the farm. When friends came to call Grandma often fixed ice cream floats. She served them in tall skinny frosted glasses. Usually she had some cookies to treat as well. One time I remember our son, Todd, tipped over the little lady from the farm across the way. She was a midget so her center of gravity was not the same as the rest us. The children loved her. We have a cute movie of Todd escorting her to the cemetery to plant flowers.
Sometimes we did go places. I recall a trip to the Chautauqua County Fair. Dick and I had Becky, his niece, with us. Everyone kept saying she looked just like her mom — me. Of course, that was not so.
I also remember many excursions to pick blueberries and cherries. The children helped us pick. Grandpa was not satisfied until we had filled all of the coolers. We had taken a picnic lunch with us, thus the coolers. There was a pond at the orchard. After we ate the children used sticks with pins attached to fish. After they caught one they tossed it back into the water.
We went to the Fourth of July parade and fireworks if the haying was done at the time. That as a treat we all enjoyed. I also remember going to a cousin’s house for a family reunion one year. Even our holidays were low key.
I do remember going to the Gerry Rodeo one year. We went on opening night because it was cheaper. The children really enjoyed watching the roping. It is easy to recall special outings because we did not go that often.
The children looked forward to Christmas shopping because the family always ate supper out that day. That was a rare treat. They liked to eat at Arthur Treacher’s as I recall. They liked the hush puppies.
People often think fun needs to be going to some elaborate getaway and spending a lot of money. That was never the case with us. It was the simple pleasures and the companionship of family and friends who provided the fun.