One of my favorite things, when I was 3 and 4 years old and staying with Grandmother, was going to Sun City to visit her farm. The farm had belonged to her parents and since she was the only child it became hers when her father passed away. Her son Edward was living on the farm and running it for her.
Shorlty after breakfast the three of us would pile into Grandfather’s faded green 1949 Plymouth. Grandfather and Grandmother would ride in the front seat, and I always had to ride in the back.
I spent most of my time standing on the seat leaning over the front seat to see where we were going. Even though it was only about 20 miles, it took over 30 minutes because Grandfather only drove 40 miles and hour whether in town or on the highway.
The first little town west of Medicine Lodge was Lake City and was very small. There weren’t many businesses left in the little town, only the hotel that had a restaurant inside, and a gas station.
The next town was Sun City and it had a little grocery store, a hardware store and a gas station. They all looked like they had been standing since the days of the horse and buggy. After driving through town on Main Street we made a turn to the north and crossed the railroad tracks.
Just north of Sun City about a half mile we turned west onto a dirt road, and 4 miles down the road we turned south onto the farm. Once off the road we crossed a cattle gate and from there it was about a half mile down the narrow path, which was no more than two ruts for the wheels of the car, to the edge of a canyon.
The road dropped over the edge of the canyon at a 75 degree angle to the bottom where the house was nestled against the edge of the canyon wall. The old two story farm house had been standing for many years protected by the canyon wall.
On the main level was the kitchen and dining room which was one large room running down the west side of the house. On the other side was the living room and my Aunt and Uncle’s bedroom. The kid’s bedrooms were upstairs.
Surrounding 3 sides of the house was a very wide covered porch that kept the house fairly cool even on the hottest days. The house did not have a bathroom and we had to use the outhouse that sat to the east between the house and the small one story barn.
The barn was one of my favorite places to play on the farm, there were always kittens in the barn and some chickens to chase, and usually a calf or two that were being bottle fed. It was fun to let the calves use my hand as a pacifier, because I thought it tickled.
If we were there early enough in the day, Aunt Mildred would send me to gather the eggs from the old hens that would nest in the barn. Sometimes they were not too pleased to give up the eggs, and they would try to peck me.
I quickly learned to get my hand out of the way but if they managed to peck me I would grab a handful of feathers and throw them out of the nest, not caring if they hit the other wall or the floor.
Once the eggs were gathered and delivered to Aunt Mildred I could go back outside and play. There was a creek that ran east and west on the property just south of the house and I loved to wade in it during the summer months. Grandfather always went with me to the creek and would patiently wait for me or walk along the edge and hold my hand and carry my shoes.
Uncle Edward always had a large field of corn to the east of the barn that was for cattle feed. I was very fascinated with the field but I was instructed to stay out of it, because it was so thick and was taller than the adults.
There were always horned toads on the farm and it was always my mission to find one to put in a box to play with all day. Sometimes it took most of the day to discover one, because they blended into the background of dirt and rocks so well, but I would look until I did.
One day I found one east of the barn and started to chase it. It was a quite a chase but I finally caught him. I was holding him, rubbing his stomach while he slept and looked up and found myself deep in the corn field.
All I could see in any direction was corn stalks and could just barely see the sky as I looked up through the tassels. I continued to rub the belly of the horned toad while thinking about my predicament when I heard Grandmother’s voice call me.
I let out a scream “GRANDMOTHER!” She called to me again,” Where are you Sandra?” “I am in the corn,” I kept screaming over and over as loud as I could. The next time she called my name she was close. When I heard the corn rustling I really began to holler for her and finally she came bursting through the stalks.
Pausing a moment to get her breath and to fan herself with her ever present apron, she then pushed a piece of her long hair back towards the bun it had escaped from and gave me a stern look. She then took my hand and led me out of the corn field.
She didn’t say a word until we were out of the field, then she bent down to tell me she had been very scared when she couldn’t find me and told me never to do anything like that again. I said I would not and she gave me a quick hug, and we turned back toward the house with my horned toad still in tow.
Grandmother never spanked me but that stern look and admonishment nearly broke my heart and was enough to make me behave. I still enjoyed exploring Grandmother’s farm when we were there, but I never went into the corn field again. To contact Sandy: [email protected]