Okay, so you know I have been around a while, and I would like to think that I amassed a little wisdom. The truth would probably prove that I still make more mistakes than brilliant decisions. If you have more “Ah, Ha!” moments than Oh S#$% moments, I applaud you, and if you are plodding along in my wake, I am sorry!
Where were we on our last adventure in looking back or revisionist history on a small scale? Remember we moved from city living to country living! It was wonderful having my own place to run and hide and scream. I told you we bought the farm, well not like that! A 15-acre field that included a 100-year-old house. The house was connected to the barn by a two-story structure. The chicken house was not connected to anything but was close to the barn. By the way, hidden on the top floor of the connecting structure was a trove of old magazines. I had a “Poor Richard’s Almanac” authenticated; it was a copy but fairly valuable. The house burned and was replaced with a Mobil Home later after we children were grown up and gone. We found a Surry with a Fringe on top in the barn,” unfortunately, we did not own a horse. All this wonderment was situated between three lakes or ponds, depending on your definition. They were just waiting for us to explore the woods; fish in summer and the winter.
It wasn’t all work and no play! When the haying, weeding, and harvesting were done, we had massive cook-outs in the summer. Roasting corn on the corn in the fire, huge bowls of potato salad, big patties of home-grown beef on homemade buns. We worked hard, but we ate well.
Our Little House on the Prairie was located 8 miles from Dexter, our former hometown, and 8 miles from our new hometown, Corinna. It was a one-mile trek to the main road where we caught the bus, taking us to Corinna Center to our own charming little two-room schoolhouse. Each large room housing four classes. On my side were grades 5 through 8. It is a wonder that we survived getting to school. We walked down a hill to the flat area and up another hill to the main road. A couple of feet of water flooded the road every spring; we ferried across in a small rowboat or crossed the frozen lake. There were times when the ice had started to melt and did not reach the shores; we would put a plank across to the ice, walk across; carry the plank across to the other side, and use it for the return trip. If Mom knew this, she would not be pleased with our resourcefulness! Come to think of it, she did find out and put a stop to the plank business!
I used to stop at the house at the end of the road for a cup of hot chocolate on cold days, and on hot days the lady had lemonade for me. She loaned me books from her library, and we discussed them. She was a former school teacher. Books were my friend, most of the time, my only friends.
I didn’t have many friends coming to visit because of the distance between farms. My Friend Frannie visited once in her Father’s Jeep. We decided to target practice with an automatic 22 rifle I had borrowed from a neighbor. My Dad had set up a target for us. After proving that we were both sharp-shooters, Frannie had a miss-fire, so she jacked the shell out. I took the rifle for my turn. When I fired the gun, it exploded! It looked just like in the movies; evidently, the slug went partway down the barrel and stuck until hit by the other slug. I was instantly deaf; fortunately, it wasn’t permanent! We were grateful that we didn’t get into trouble; it was deemed an accident. The story doesn’t end well because, on the way home, Frannie burned the emergency brake out of her Dad’s Jeep. My Dad replaced the barrel of the gun and never said anything to me. He did tell me that the person that replaced the barrel said that I was very lucky because it could have blown my head off!
Across a neighbor’s field, through the woods to our favorite “Swimmin’ hole,” was our regular Saturday thing, and every night after a day of haying. Many people do not know this, but most lakes in Maine have a delightful thing called Blood Suckers! Just thinking of them gives me the shivers. My Dad spread bags of Rock Salt along the shore of the lake, discouraging them. It worked most of the time! If one attached itself to you, it was hard to pull them off.
I have swum the width of that lake once. My brothers used the boat as a safety net to swim across. I watched them and figured I could do that too! I started across as they got to the shore. They told Mom what I was doing. She sent them after me telling them to make me swim back.
Had enough? I have got more, but it will have to wait for the next installment.