Chapter One: a home in the Country
Daddy worked while Mama stayed home, caring for the youngsters. She would never dare let Miles run out the door for fear he would dash right for the road and get hit by a car. So, mama would bring the children and the dog out to their fenced in yard to play where they were safe. She dreamed of a day where their children could run around freely and the only noise they could hear was the rustling of the wind in the tree tops, the soft songs of birds singing, and the giggles of her lively children at play.
One day Daddy came home from work and said he saw a little farm for sale on three acres of land. Excitedly, they jumped into the truck and off they went to see this new property. Oh, it took a lot of imagination for the little family to see what it could be. The farm was dirty and messy and falling all apart. It was not a dream, but there was a twinkle in Daddy’s eyes, and a smile on Mama’s face, for they new what they could make it. They could make it perfect. Of course, that would take some dedication and determination and that is just what this family had.
One cold evening, Mamma came to see how things were shaping up. She waddled into the main room with Molly at her hip. You see, Mama was going to have a new baby soon. She climbed up the staircase to see the upstairs rooms. Mama smiled with excitement thinking about what room would be Miles’s, which one was Molly’s, and the other one would be for them and the new baby very soon. At this time, you could see clear through because Daddy and Miles took out all the walls and windows.
“I’m sure glad Daddy has you. This place is a mess, he needs a good helper like you,” Mamma said as she watched the boy hit his finger with a swat of the hammer and shake his hand like it didn’t hurt that much. She smiled with pride, while Molly sucked her thumb and held tightly to her hip. Molly wasn’t walking yet, so Mama would not dare put her on that dirty floor.
Mama never left the side of her small girl, as she prayed for healing or ease of pain. By morning, little Molly girl was put in a body cast from chest to toe. No more visits to that farm for Mama. They were back at Nana and Bumpa’s until the baby was born. Good thing Nana was a nurse, for she cared for Mama who was laid up from the fall and for Molly who was in the body cast. Not too much later, Megan became the newest member of the family. Molly was out of that cast and already begging to hold her new baby sister.
“They pecked me in the eye!” Cried Miles. “Those naughty turkeys!”
“Let me see,” Mama said as she looked around his normal looking eye. “Oh, my. This is serious. What are we to do?”
“We gotta shoot them turkeys, that’s what we gotta do!” Miles said excitedly.
“Really? Oh, well, I guess your right.” Mama said because she new already that these animals were not friendly and somehow they had to be dealt with. Now this was a whole new adventure for this family. They never killed livestock before so they were not too sure how to go about it.
Okay, first off, the geese were much more a problem than the ducks or turkeys. Those geese were bossy and temperamental. Bumpa was more experienced in the way of birds so Daddy let Bumpa catch the sassy geese. They cornered them into the top part of the barn so they could not escape. Daddy used his body as a road block so they could not flee out of the barn door. Bumpa walked toward, what he thought was a cowering bunch of birds, when all at once the entire group turned toward him and started to beat him with their wings. They flapped their wings so much that they threw his glasses clear across the barn. Daddy looked on in sheer disbelief.
“Let me at em!” Cried Miles.
“Get back, little one. Bumpa knows what to do,” Daddy laughed as he saw the poor man wrestle with fifteen angry geese that were determined to win. All at once, Bumpa started grabbing the bold birds by the neck. He got them where they could not defend. Daddy grabbed the ornery geese from Bumpa and put them into the back of the truck one by one. They shipped them out to the local butcher, who wrapped them in nice little packages for the family to store in the freezer. Mama never made goose before, but figured it was close to chicken, and that was easy, so she put it in the roasting pan one day.
“This tastes like roast beef,” said Mama while she pulled another piece off the cooked goose.
“Just a little greasy,” Daddy exclaimed, but the family enjoyed the new experience of roasted goose. Miles couldn’t stop eating it because he knew it was our own home-raised goose, but deep down he was still yearning to see Daddy shoot those turkeys.
The next thing that had to go was the ducks because they were domesticated, which is a big word that means they have to be fed. When you have twenty-five ducks lined up at the back door looking for food besides the ten whining cats, it becomes a big problem when a person tries to make an escape to the outdoors. You get mobbed by a whole group of animals that are hungry and when you are holding small children like this family was, it is no small job. Mama would dread leaving the home at times for fear of facing that challenge. So, Mama called a friend who had a husband who was a duck hunter. He came out with his big truck and his big gun. This was an exciting situation for Miles. He got his outdoor gear on and was ready for the hunt to begin. Blast, bam, pop, bang! Soon there was silence and off went the guy in his truck filled with 25 ducks.
No sooner did the truck disappear between the forest trees, that Miles was already wishing for more.
“Daddy, can you get your gun? We have five more to shoot. Those turkeys will get away if we don’t get em now!” Miles stammered with thrill.
“I think we had enough shooting for one day,” replied Daddy while they saw the whole flock of guinea hens scramble past with their loud shrieks and cackles. Nothing could be louder than that, but the guineas are useful. They feed on ticks and other bugs.
Daddy started to saw some boards for the house when his hand got pulled into the blade. Off went two of his finger tips, so on he drove to the hospital. Now poor Daddy was laid up and could do no more fixing on the house. The little family nestled into the upstairs home a few weeks that winter waiting for the bandages to come off. No more sounds of pounding nails or sawing boards.