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June 2012

Flowers by the Corral Gate

Summer is here in most parts of the country, and kids will soon be out of school….

What fun we used to have for three long, lazy months running the fields, and swimmin’ in any waterway we could find. Even the river had a few still-water coves where we would inch in slowly ‘til our bodies adjusted to the freezing cold water, then stay in for hours—no wonder I have arthritis in every joint these days.

We also would ride our bikes to town picking up tossed pop and beer bottles to trade in at the store for a few pennies. Candy was cheap back then, and we always came home with a pocket full of goodies after each venture.

There were horses to jump on from the top rail fence, and ride bareback until they got smart and scraped us off under a low hanging branch on some old tree in the middle of the field.

I was a born tom-boy, and most of the neighbors were rough-necked little boys like my two brothers, so the few girls who lived within shoutin’ distance joined right in rollin’ in the dirt, climbin’ trees, shootin’ slingshots, and catchin’ pollywogs. Sheer heaven to a kid—I think I was about thirteen when I noticed I was a girl, and should take regular baths, and not fight Mom so much about washin’ my hair, and wearin’ shoes with white anklets on my callused feet. But I still miss those rough and tumble days thinkin’ I was “one of the boys!”

Fresh RhubarbWe had fresh rhubarb, and warm tomatoes and peas to eat right off the vine from the ample garden Mom planted—we kids kept a saltshaker in the barn just for a quick food-run so we could then cool off in the shade while we ate our fill. Nothin’ better! But when we told Mom about this deed years later, she almost gagged thinking about how many germs from “God knows what” we may have eaten after some critter had crossed over that old saltshaker. She also had fits when we told her we chipped chunks off the salt-lick for cattle out in the field so we could have a piece in our pocket to lick whenever the need arose. It didn’t hurt us one bit! No doubt it served us just as well as the cows to replenish salt we lost from our sweat-covered, skinny frames runnin’ all summer in the heat. Mom was fussy about cleanliness, and what we ate, but we kids saw no need for her to fret whatsoever in our daily eating rambles. On our second-hand bikes, we had an abundance of stops we made along a dirt-road to receive fresh apples at Blackhall’s place, prunes off our own tree, sweet honeycomb right out of the hive boxes at Mr. LaRue’s, and if we were lucky, a slice of pie at the Ferguson ranch.

Warm Tomatos

I always compare us to “wild little Indians” runnin’, and whoopin’ all day long playing games, and staying out of any real mischief. Life was carefree, and without the fright of any evil coming to us like there is today. No one threatened us in any way unless we were naughty, and then it would be more than a threat. All Moms had ‘rule’ over us if we were at their house—the same went if neighborhood kids were visiting our house. And we called adults Mr. and Mrs.—not by their first names, as is the custom now. I hate seeing how RESPECT has been lost through the years with more relaxed rules, and less respect for any kind of authority.

We ran, we played, we made life-long friends, but we still had chores to do before Dad got home from the woods in his logging truck. If not completed, there would be warm bottoms sittin’ at the dinner table that night. Of course, we put off chores as long as possible like all kids do, but there was no saying we’d do them tomorrow, or talking back to parents in my day. The consequences were not good if you ever crossed that line.

Well, I’ve rambled on enough, but I do pray kids of today make great memories of their own this, and every summer. Its a wonderful time of year…

Granny Tam

I used only the first part of this poem below I wrote several years ago for my little grandson, Tyler, (who now is 21) about ridin’ horses when I was a kid. Its called “Buckin’ Broncos”—Time flies, and I miss those days…

To watch the Buckin Broncos Video.

 

 

CORRAL GATE

The Corral Gate

There’s nothin’ more important
than shuttin’ that ol’ gate—
no if’s or an’s about it,
an’ ya better not be late.

A rancher ain’t got time to waste
chasin’ all his cattle,
after all, the poor man,
risen early—mounts his saddle.

His maraudin’ herd of ponies
are just lookin’ for the chance
to ride the wind in freedom,
an’ with the wild ones dance.

Pony Excapes through open Corral Gate

An’ that crazy bull Pa purchased
for breedin’ heifers soon—
he’ll tear off to the neighbor’s place,
an’ won’t be back ‘til noon.

Ain’t no cattle guard to stop ‘em—
they’ll run for ner a mile,
an’ when Pa gets ‘em rounded up,
he’ll not wear a happy smile.

Nope! It’ll be the opposite,
an’ you’ll get your backside tanned
‘cause he ain’t fond a makin’ trips
across this rugged land.

Chasin’ what he’s worked for
all his dad-blame life,
ain’t his idea of jokin’
for givin’ him such strife.

Pony and Mare back through Corral Gate

So we kids got the picture—
you could say, “Real early on!”
Now, we make sure to close the gate
so our future will be long.

Tamara Hillman
©2010





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