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A Plowing Memory of Yore


- A Father's Day memory -

By Jenny Wren


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Ahhh, such sweet memories of Mom and Pop, at home on the farm. A memory recalled today on Father’s day- 2003...

When Jenny wren was about ten years old, she remembers:

Jenny wren was the water girl, clad in bib overalls and nothing else; heading for her dad and brothers as they plowed in the fields. She sits now on her memory cushion as the happening unfolds.

She recalls the sweat that beaded the brow of her dad under the brim of his old felt Stetson hat. He had always worn a hat; yep, pop was a gentleman farmer, as well as the country sheriff of the area. for over thirty years.

His sweat band left the tell-tell sign of a mountain shaped, salty imprint upon each hat in just a few wears.

Jenny remembers how she always held his hat while he drank the cold water as her toes twisted restlessly in the cool, damp dirt clods which broke up so easily with just one step or two. She looks adoringly up at him,
with the purest of love that a little girl can have as she who adored her poppa. She would watch in childish glee, watching his face as if to engrave this memory of her precious dad. There sat a big bead of sweat raced back
and forth on the end of his nose. She wrinkled her own nose as if to help dislodge it.

He would finally get his fill of water. Jenny would giggle as he smiled down at her brown from the sun,-upturned face, and would give his special grin, making his eyes squint as he freely shared his well remembered smile. She turned her head a little sideways and waited, because she knew it was coming, He always gave that satisfied "ahhhhhh, that is good water!."

The sound he made was between a growl and a clearing of the throat. He never failed to satisfy this little girl’s heart. She used to sit on his lap and he would rock her lovingly, telling her that she was his baby. He would take the old red bandana hankie and pour some of the water that was left in the aluminum water-dipper (that had replaced the homemade dipper made from a gourd.) He would pour the water on the wrinkled hankie to dampen it, and then tie it securely about his head under the hat and this seemed to ward away the heat from the hot sun., that he worked so hard plowing under.

Sweaty salt marks were on his blue work shirt, where he had labored in love on his farm that he had cleared with his (and my brothers' own hands).

He would gesture his crippled hand (crippled from falling in a fireplace when a tiny child.) It looked twisted up into a fist with the little finger curled downward into his palm. He would gesture this hand about, saying proudly, "Look out there, my Jenny wren. This was once all woodland right here, where we are now working..."

She looked and could hardly believe that a huge forest had once covered this whole area.  

"'Even right here, poppa? "She asked, as if thinking aloud.

Her dad calls out to old Adder the horse, "Git up lady."
Jenny knew she was dismissed for the time being.

Jenny walked back to the house with the now empty bucket plopped upside down on her head like a helmet. (the house had also been home made, built from the ground up, by her father and brothers who cleared from the very woods he had just spoken of.

Jenny took her time, watching a 'tumble bug' in the barn lot that had rolled itself into a perfect ball in what seemed like a tedious process, and was trying to hide itself somewhere, rolling its body backward with the hind legs.

She now remembers thinking, wondering " How did it know what direction to go, when the ball was four times as big as it was?" Her pop always had the answer. He said "The ball holds, and inside the middle of it is the egg of the bug. The egg will be hatched from the heat inside of the cow pie, that also served as nourishment, for the baby bug until the process starts all over again."

She then asked "What good is the tumble bugs to anyone?"
Pop had said, matter-of factly, "can you imagine how dirty with droppings, the barn-lot would be without tumble-bugs?"Jenny remember twisting up her nose at the thought of 'that'....

Nothing much missed her eyes it seemed. There were a million and one things to explore. in, under, upon, or around,    such as the pile of great stones that now sat as a tribute to hard work in the middle of the field, where pop and she had talked many times in the pondering of... "Where did these huge rocks come from after so many years and years of plowing? "

"Every once in a while the plow will kick one up," her pop would say. "Up it will come, to later be carried, at the end of the day, to this rock pile which serves as a great place for Polk salad to grow,  and several live creatures, including snakes."

The German Shepherd dog named Sonny, was always right by Jenny's side in his duty of protecting the family from usual animals, and even unusual animals. Sonny would strut back and forth in front of her, clearing
the way where he figured she would be traveling.

She would laugh as she helped Sonny dig out a small creature from the stone pile for his dinner. This time it was a rabbit, and Sonny took off after it. Then Jenny would go back to the call of "Jenny "..................... "Coming. momma," she would answer.

Ahhhhh memories of childhood and of another place and another time............................

.by Pop's Jennywren


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