Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

A few months before our first grandchild w...

A few months before our first grandchild was to be born, we bought an antique farm wagon with a stake body. I’d longed for a wagon like this one which I found in our Sears and Roebuck Co. catalog for $5. Maybe I bought the wagon because I never had one. However, it was one of the most-used toys our four grandsons ever had.

Nancy’s Sam was two months older than Walt’s Cole. When they were about 2 years old I’d put an old quilt in the little stake wagon and pull them to the place were a little creek crosses our driveway. They’d throw rocks to see them splash in the pool below the concrete crossing. “Look,” I’d say, “here comes a leaf boat.” Then they’d float boats and splash rocks till I said our time was up. I’d then pull them up the hill to the house at nap time.

Later that summer, we were floating leaf boats and dry twigs. They liked it when their boats went over the 10-inch waterfall and out of sight and they squealed with joy when they reappeared. One day I broke sticks from a tree and said, “I’m fishing.” Soon we were yelling “Got a big one!” or sadly reporting, “Oh, he got away.” I’d hold on to their shirt tails and say, “Back up, fellows, you might fall in.” They discovered that pushing the wagon up the hill was more fun than riding in it. Thus I introduced Cole and Sam to a sport I’ve enjoyed all of my life.

Peter was the baby in the wagon the next summer. I tied strings on longer sticks and put corks where hooks would have been. We’d pretend we had bites and that the corks went under. When one caught an imaginary fish I’d yell, “Meat on the table!” the way my uncle Lawrence Henry used to do when he caught a big one. There were water skippers at the crossing, but no fish.

When wading in the water after fishing, Sam reached down and brought up a fistful from the bottom. “Hey, Granny, you know what?” No, what. “This is sand!” Coled waded out of the water on to some warm, dry sand and called to his cousin, “Look, Sam, this is real sand, like in the sandpile.” We were late getting back to the house that day and the boys helped their “Up-Pa” haul some real sand on their next visit.

The water dried up when hot weather came. The fourth grandson, Oliver, got in on the fun when Sam and Cole were kindergarten age and Peter was a toddler. That farm wagon got a workout each summer.

The first time I took Sam and Cole to a larger water hole I tied real hooks and sinkers on their twine string tackle. I showed them the sharp hook, nicked my own finger and winced to prove that they could hurt. Cole and Sam stuck out their fingers and had me nick them to prove that hooks could hurt. They did catch five tiny creek perch and, of course, I had to dress them and fry them for supper.

Now they’re into soccer, computers and school activities, and there’s not much time for the farm and fishing. Oliver attends Jeff Junior High; Peter completes his first year at Rock Bridge; Cole graduates from Rock Bridge and Sam graduates from Hickman.

And the little farm wagon is worn out.

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