I am a farmer’s grand-daughter…actually, there’s farming on both sides of our families, but my Mom’s side is where the more hardcore farmers and ranchers were and are. On the many occasions when we went to visit our grandparents or had frequent family get-togethers, we didn’t refer to our trips as “going to see our grandparents” but rather it was “going to the Farm”. Indeed, the Farm was the hub of our family–our huge extended family.
Our family was so big, that the meals were held in rounds. Round One was the kids; Round Two was the adults. While the adults ate their dinner and talked politics or whatever, us kids would occupy ourselves, somehow. Sometimes, our grandmother would sit us all in a circle and have us play a game called “Button, button, who’s got the button?!”. Sometimes, much to the consternation of our grandfather, we’d play hide-and-go-seek in the barn. Now, there’s a story–but for another time.
Other times, we’d have races down the carpeted staircase–on our butts. That was great fun–until we inevitably got caught and chastised. (Incidently, a few years ago I showed my children how we would do it and found it to be quite painful on the backside. And back. They must make stairs a lot harder now…yeah, that’s it.) So many little anecdotes that I’ve wanted to write as a book, one day. Let’s start with this:
One afternoon, probably a Sunday, we were at the Farm having one of our many gatherings. After Round One was over, my older brother and I went out the side of the house, around the back of the barn out towards the fields. As we walked, we talked and kicked at the dirt, not watching where we were going, but instead walking with our heads down, looking at the dirt and pebbles we were kicking. As we were almost past the barn and about to enter the fields, we both abruptly looked up and saw this:
(I took the liberty of finding a nice photo of a black Angus steer and flipping the image so you could get the picture. If you click on the photo, a link will come up that’ll tell you anything you ever wanted to know about Angus cattle.)
We looked up and saw two HUGE black Angus bulls/steers (we didn’t really check) with their bodies facing each other, but their faces towards and eyes staring intently at us. Without a sound and as if on cue, we both immediately turned and bolted back to the farmhouse as fast as we could. We never spoke about it to each other or anyone else that day or ever since. It was sort of an unspoken understanding…probably because we both felt a little sheepish. Afterall, I’m sure there was a nice electric fence between those behemoths and us, but hey, when instinct takes over, who has time to think that our uncle (whose livestock they were) would certainly never bring his bulls to the Farm and leave them in an unsecured field? My grandfather’s nasssty rooster on the other hand…well, that’s another story.