Submitted by: Robert L. Adams, RM 1210 Greenway Jackson, MO 63755
I will try to write a few lines about our times at Grandma and Grandpa's place.
My two sisters, Mother, Father, and I lived in Delta, Missouri, only a few miles from my mother's parents' place on a farm north of Oran, Missouri, on Highway Seventy-Seven near the Frisco Railroad overpass.
My parents visited my mother's parents often in Oran, and at a very young age, I became very interested in their place.
My mother's parents were very nice to me, and I started spending a small amount of time at their home in the summer months.
Their farm had a considerable amount of land for a farm at that time and had lots of rolling hills and valleys and best of all, livestock, watering ponds, which had small fish in them.
Some of Mother's brothers built their homes on the farm. One such brother was Everett and his wife, Myrene, who had two daughters a few years older than me. One daughter was named Mary Lou and the other, Martha Ann.
Martha Ann reminded me of my sister Mary Lee, who was a little reserved when it came to running over the hills and valleys and going to the watering ponds.
Mary Lou took up with me, and both of us would roam over the area, and at a very young age, I took up fishing, and guess who would go fishing with me, you guessed it alright, Mary Lou. She was always willing to go with me when I would take up the old cane pole and head for the ponds.
She was always beside me. I don't know if she liked fishing or was just accompanying me to keep me company. But one thing was for sure, Mary Lou and I were always together when I was visiting my mother's parents. She was a great companion to be with.
I don't do much fishing now; guess I got all the fishing I wanted when I was young, belonging now to a fishing club.
I always looked forward to the times I could spend on their farm watching my mother's parents milk the cows. The milk cow would stand very still, and when the milk container was nearly full, a small insect would bite the cow on the rear end, and the tail would swat across your face, and the hind foot would knock over the milk pail.
Special words announced for the milk can were always reserved when I was around.
I tried my hand at milking, but had very little success and patience with the milk cow.
After the milking was done, the milk was separated from the cream by way of a cream separator. I loved to run the cream separator, turning it by a hand crank, geared to a set of multiple disc and stainless steel pans on swing arms for separating the cream from the milk. The cream was put into cream cans for shipment to town. The milk was used at home and also to feed to the hogs and cats on the farm.
There were work horses and an old International Farmall tractor belonging to Mary Lou's father, Everett. I remember once working with Everett and my mother's parents in a field west of their home across the railroad tracks with the horses and wagon gathering up ear corn by hand.
The horses seemed to know what they were doing in the field by walking along with us and moving on voice commands.
I also had the privilege to drive the tractor at a very young age and remember going down a hill with a wagon load of hay, and the tractor sped up and the brakes did not operate, so I drove the tractor straight down the hill; and that was my first experience with a runaway tractor.
The wagon had persons on it, and I don't know whether Mary Lou was on it or not, but they sure got a good ride down the hill.
I picked up a very special name for Mary Lou's father. I don't know how I got to calling him that name. But I called him Uncle Rabbit, so when I referred to Uncle Rabbit, everybody knew who I was talking about. He seemed to take a lot of interest in me, so he became one of my favorite uncles.
My mother's parents home was very close to the Frisco railroad tracks, and when the steam engine would go by pulling the main freight, every window in their house would rattle, and you could see the smoke and fire in the firebox at night, and the poor old firemen shoveling coal into the firebox, and I would watch every train I could go by.
I was amazed at the large black monsters, and I realized my dream last year, by becoming a fireman on the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Steam Excursion Railroad.
I remember going to the outhouse before going to bed at night and getting up at night to go to the outhouse, and there was always the Sears catalog or Montgomery Ward catalog in the outhouse for tissue paper, and sometimes the corn cobs were in the outhouse for use also when the catalogs were scarce.
Their home had a screened-in back porch, and there was the cream separator, milk cans, and fruit jars for canning. Their home had a fruit cellar under the house filled with canned fruit and food stuff. We kids would go down into the fruit cellar to look around to see what was in the jars.
Their farms had rabbits, and they tried to explain the facts of life to me about what the rabbits were up to.
Chickens were in the backyard fenced in also, and they had a chicken house also to collect eggs for sale, and I would go out and run the chickens off the nest for their eggs. Some chickens were left alone so they could hatch out baby chickens, and sometimes you could get pecked by a stubborn chicken on the nest protecting her eggs. A lot of commotion would go on when you ran them off their nests.
The farm had a considerable amount of cattle on the rolling hills and valleys, and when Mary Lou and I would go over where the cattle were, we would sometimes be chased by the big bad bulls. We have had to run for our lives over the fences or up a tree to escape the ferocious animals.
There were some animals, so when we were going fishing in the hills, we were always on the lookout for them.
I can remember the large Sunday dinners at their home, and what a dinner that was! They seemed to have everything on the tables fit for a king and queen. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves well, and I sure miss that. But one thing is for sure our family was nearly always at the Sunday family dinners, and I can remember Mother's father nearly always going to Sunday school and church and evening services in that old black Chevrolet car.
The telephone hung on the wall, and I can remember them using it by cranking the handle, which resides on our basement wall now.
Lester, their youngest son, was still at home and drove a soda truck and all those Nehi sodas at home, and he had a yellow Plymouth Coupe automobile that he kept all shined up.
I'm writing this short story about my times at the Wilkinson's farm. I have probably brought back your memories of your times on a farm where you spent some time or now reside on one.
There is one thing for sure about this story, I had a part in it as one of the best times of my life there and hope you had the same experience I had.