As I Remember



Reminiscences of and for the Family

I had a lovely dog when I was growing up. Her name was Bell; she was a little fox terrier, white with a brown bell-shaped spot on her forehead. We went everywhere together, but she was never a house dog. Mom said when I was barely walking, I would head out to the barn while Daddy was milking. He would squirt the warm milk into my mouth, and Bell and I would wander all about-- dusk, dark, or whatever. But one day there was a terrific thunder and lightning storm, and I was heading back from the barn when a terrific crack of thunder sent poor Bell streaking to the house, into the house, and UNDER the bed! Mom said I never went out in the dark again, and became a "dark-fearful" thereafter.

I know as a kid I would usually check under the bed and hated being sent upstairs alone anytime. By this time, the oldest part of the house had been torn off, the old kitchen had been converted to succeeding things (more anon), and there was a staircase alongside the wall of the ex-basement that was now a huge woodshed. The inner-basement remained a fruitroom, and I was always petrified that some hand would come out from under those stairs when I was sent to the basement for anything. And it was DARK down there, and a long way across the room to the string for the light. And cold and clammy. One part of the room was penned off with piled of potatoes, and all along the walls where the shelves for canned stuff.


One of the things we would be sent for was "Old May." The folks always named their animals; when they were married they had three horses that pulled together-- Star, Spangled, and Banner. Then there was Josephine, the massive Holstein wh ogave more milk than any of the others. (One night a board that Daddy had borrowed for the purpose of the boards got out of the pig pen and gored several of the milking cows. I remember standing at the door of th ebarn overlooking those poor cows. Several of them died, and big old Josephine had been one that had been slashed.) But, back to Old May. She was a long bony old cow with hip bones that stuck out like prongs, getting higher and higher every year as she got older and older. Finally she just wasn't producing enough milk to justify keeping her, and she was to be butchered. By this time, she was so sinewy that she had to be all stew meat. So Mom converted the whole thing to meat and canned it. And much as we loved our animals, we thought absolutely nothing of bringing up a jar or two of "Old May" and enjoying her immensely.


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