Saturday, August 30, 2008

By Popular Demand...

Thus far I've told a few of my tales from the farm. (What can I say, growing up on a big ranch in the middle of nowhere makes for some semi-amusing anecdotes) So, after several requests from friends and fam I have decided to relay this little gem from my childhood.

(also please note I have only made 2 posts this month which is pretty much pathetic, so I am trying to round out the number before the end of the in, tomorrow...)

As I have mentioned before, when I was little I followed my dad around endlessly. If I could con him into letting me go with him anywhere, I was all over it. This started at roughly the age of three. Bless him for being such a good sport about the whole thing. Let's be honest, a three year old girl has no business doing most of the things we did; fixing fence (involves implements of both the heavy, blunt and sharp varieties), herding cattle, branding cattle, vaccinating cattle (all tending to involve large bovine-type creatures wishing they were pretty much anywhere that we were not poking, prodding, or, ummm, searing them) irrigating (lots of water, shovels, ditches...), harvesting (tractors towing large scythe-type instruments), fertilizing/spraying for bugs, weeds, etc (toxic chemicals... might explain a few things) get the idea.

Don't get me wrong, my dad was very protective, and to this day I know that he would never do anything that would put me in danger...aside from turning me out in the dating pool of course...but that's a different matter altogether...My dad just didn't mind making me his sidekick, and I was more than happy to follow him around and tried my best to be as big a help as possible...let's face it I was just generally in the way...but somehow he didn't seem to mind and I thought it was the greatest.

Now, aside from the obvious physical dangers that come from working on a farm, there are some hazards that present themselves, particularly for little girls who are supposed to be learning how to be ladies, despite the fact that they would rather be playing in a pen full of yearlings and their...umm...leftovers. Ranch life can be kind of rough...rough work, rough company, and rough language.

This, of course, was to be expected, and was even generally tolerated, mostly because one of the top offenders of polite sociabilities was my dear grandfather. You have to know that my grandpa is one of the most wonderful men I know. He is honest, hard-working, loves God and has dedicated his life to his family, his religion, and serving those who are dear to him. I love and respect him very much. However, when I was much younger, my grandfather had something of a ranch-hand vocabulary. Don't get me wrong, dealing with the struggles of ranch life (cows in general, machinery that refuses to stay fixed, and the ever present threat of bad weather) are more than enough to merit a few quality four-letter words every now and then...but it became a problem because I was not only my dad's shadow (meaning I was out with grandpa a lot), but something of a parrot.

You can see where this is going...

One fateful day, I was out with my dad and grandpa fixing fence. I was about three, so this meant they were fixing the fence and I was most likely preparing to hammer nails into something they would no doubt need in the near future. As we worked I suddenly piped up and in my best three year old ranch hand voice said "Dad, hand me the damn hammer..."

Quite honestly, I don't remember what happened after that. I don't particularly remember being reprimanded at the time...probably because it was clear that I had no idea that 'damn' and 'hammer' were actually two seperate words. All I knew was that every time grandpa needed to pound a nail he needed a damnhammer...since I was planning on pounding nails, that was clearly what I needed too. Three year old logic...Go figure.

Anyway...the point is, following said incident someone had a little sit-down-heart-to-heart-hellfire-and-brimstone chat with my dear grandpa. I don't really remember if it was mom, dad, or grandma...might have been all three, but I do know that after that, grandpa made a concerted effort to make sure that all farm implements, livestock, and surrounding landowners were referred to by the names more generally recognized by establisments like Britannica, and the Social Security office.

The moral of the story is, I turned out all right (yeah, debateable, I know, we'll talk about it later) but I couldn't have done it without my family and the experiences I had as a very small child. Many thanks to grandpa for always being there to teach me the way things really were and to mom, dad, and grandma for making sure I didn't grow up to be a foul-mouthed rodeo queen. I am truly the sum of all my parts.


JD said...

i haven't noticed any improvements in your language since the time of this anecdote. you swear like you have the lead role in a scorcese movie.

Mike and Emily said...

love it. now that your hammer is pink, I think you'll have less reason to call it names....

Amy said...

I found your blog on Laura's! I love the hammer story. I think I remember the pink hammer Emily mentioned. Gotta love it!