My previous post about Uncle Harold's Barn elicited so many comments that I've been going down memory lane over and over ever since.
I have some more stories set in this special place, I think now would be a good time to tell them.
You may, or may not, have noticed that I referred to the two portions of this farm separately - - - Uncle Harold's Barn and Aunt Vetra's House.
Sister Pam and I always referred to them that way. I believe it was because the Barn was Uncle Harold's Kingdom, and the house Aunt Vetra's.
Let me tell you - - - Aunt Vetra ran her kingdom in a way few of us today can manage. Everything homemade.
I remember when she baked bread. Huge bowls of dough rising on the counter. At lunch time, she would slice off generous slabs of that dough, pop them in the frying pan until golden brown, then shake cinnamon and sugar all over them.
HEAVEN on a plate.
Right beside the kitchen table was a small door, when when opened revealed the staircase to the bedrooms upstairs. Hanging on that door was a small chalk board which always had chalk at the ready. Many times we would linger at her table after a meal to play a round or two of hangman on that chalk board.
Aunt Vetra and Uncle Harold had four children, two girls first then two boys. The two boys were closest in age to Sister Pam and myself, so we spent many hours together.
The youngest was Rusty, pictured above on the right. (The one on the left is another cousin, Kent who is the son of mom's only brother.)
Since Rusty was too young at the time to carry a large farming load, we spent hours playing.
Our FAVORITE thing to do was to pack a picnic lunch and go "exploring" in the creek. We would get in the creek near the barn and wade right up the middle of it looking for "special spots." Once we found a really good one, we'd stop for lunch.
Another time Rusty showed us how to use the hollow stem of a dandelion as a straw in the clear, cold spring water. He also told us it was OK to drink downstream from cow pies, that they would "filter" the water.
I'll let you guess whether or not we followed that particular piece of advice!
Dad, Richard, and Sister Pam.
Richard is Rusty's older brother, and is about four years older than me. I am one year older than Sister Pam and Rusty is one year younger than she.
Richard is still to this day my hero.
One summer, when I was still in elementary school, Richard had broken his leg and was sporting a cast and hoping around one-legged with crutches. We decided to play kick ball on the front lawn. Richard took on all three of us at once, and we couldn't even get up to kick because he made a one-legged home run hops every single time we "pitched."
Another day we four decided to have a "sword" fight. Our swords consisted of sticks. Richard and I, being the two oldest, took on Pam and Rusty. As if that wasn't already unfair enough - - - the two oldest against the two "babies" - - - Richard was an athlete, remember he beat ALL THREE OF US single-footedly at kickball on CRUTCHES.
But I digress - - -
I confess, all I had to do was WATCH and back Richard up - - - he certainly did not NEED my help to harvest a FRESH, green branch about an inch in diameter. He shaved off the smaller branches and leaves, and our "arsenal" was complete.
Pam and Rusty on the other hand, being much younger and less wise, combed the woods for fallen, dead branches. They appeared with an arsenal of quite a pile of brittle sticks.
The fight was on.
Richard made quick work of ALL their "swords" - - - slashing through them and chopping them to bits with his fresh green branch.
Undaunted, they returned to the woods in search of a better weapon. When they emerged, they were dragging an old, dead, tree trunk of about 5 inches in diameter. Between the two of them they could barely hold it up.
Richard took one fell swoop at it with his trusty sword and knocked it right out of their hands. He proclaimed that if they couldn't HOLD their sword, they were disqualified.
END of battle.
BEGINNING of YEARS of laughter over the event - which laughter I hope continues for many more years to come.
I am so glad I grew up with such great cousins and memories.