4/11/2005

Cabin Stories

Living at the cabin was mostly fun for us. We had chores but they were always done has a team so they went fairly quickly. We had lots of time just to play outside. We got to meet a lot of the family we didn't know very well.

We hadn't been at the cabin one full day when I went up the willow out back to see how high I could go. I got pretty far up there before a branch broke under my foot. I had a "3 point stance" for climbing but, when the one under my feet went, the one I was holding on to gave out when my full weight hit it.

I fell about 20 feet, trying to snag a branch all the way down but failing. I landed flat on my stomach. Talk about your belly whoppers! I just laid there for awhile, hoping someone would come help me up. I felt like I couldn't move anything, not a finger.

When I could get up I went in and told mom what happened. She doctored up all my scrapes but forbid us all the willow after that. It was a great climbing tree but we had to stick to hardwoods.

One day an Aunt stopped to visit us. She got right down in the lilacs to see what we were doing. Who knows what we had going on, could have been any thing from playing house to drunken astronaut...more about that one later. Anyway, this lady was little, only about 5 inches taller than me at almost 8. She had long, black, wavy hair that was really thick. She ended up teaching us how to whistle with a blade of grass.

Now this looks easy. You find a wide blade of grass that is as long as your hand from the base of your thumb to the top of your index finger. That can take awhile. Once you find it you pick it as close to the ground as you can. You put the widest end at the base of your hand near the thumb and catch it with the base of your other hand. Now, get ahold of the smaller end between your index fingers and pull the grass up tight between both fingers. Then you just put your hands up to your lips and blow through them and over the blade of grass.

Our way was like this. Some people just do it with their thumbs holding the grass. See which way makes the loudest noise. That's what we did for about an hour.

Then the little aunt tried to teach us to pucker whistle and tooth whistle. We made all kinds of noises but whistling wasn't one of them for a long time.

We were real country girls. You couldn't get us in a dress if it wasn't Sunday and we didn't wear shoes except to go to church or town. Mom despaired of ever having us be "real girls" because we wore shorts or jeans and t shirts because they were quick to get in and out of and didn't get hung up on the branches when we climbed trees.

One of our chores was to bring in the cows for milking for Uncle Gee. We liked doing that! We got to run through the fields, find the cows and then convince them it was time to go in for milking. They were pretty easy to herd, usually they were headed for the barn anyway.

One beautiful afternoon (again) we headed out to bring in the cows. With the four of us being so short, we were usually strung out a little, we needed to optimize our visual ability.

We had walked further than usual looking for the cows, they were way back on the south side in the shade by the swamp.

I was barefoot, as usual. We were trotting along briskly, now that we had spotted the cows, to get around behind them. The sisters were spread out on either side of me. My foot came down on something big, round and cold. I paused and looked down just as I felt it slithering out from under me. It was shiny, black and green and gold and huge!

"SNAAAAAAAAKE!!!" I screamed. All the girls screamed! The cows, completely startled, took off running for the barn without us. That was good because we were booking back for the house as fast as we could go! I think we all beat the current land speed record!

I went tearing in the house and told mom I stepped on a snake and she just said, "Did he bite you?"

I shook my head, no. "Maybe next time you will wear your tennis shoes."

A little later a grumpy Uncle Gee came down to tell us we couldn't make the cows run to the barn, they had to walk. They wouldn't milk well if you made them run.

Mom told him what happened and he sniffed, "Should'a known a bunch of girls would be scared of a little ol' snake. Make 'em wear their shoes next time," he snapped, "that's what they're for!" and went back home.

more later.

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