Farm Verse
by Don Tidwell

Rural Recollections
The Old Barn
My Brindle Cow
Uncle Alvin
Fish Story



To grow up as a farm boy
    offers challenges galore.
When you think youve seen the last one,
    there is always just one more.
Dependin on your age and size,
    you could get off quite easy,
but you find out when your older,
    that some farm things make you queasy.

For instance after lambin time,
    you gotta dock their tails
and for this simple farm task
    there are some of us that fails,
Or else you have to help yer dad
    with butcherin a hog
and know that when its finished
    youll be sicker than a dog,

For the stench that fills your nostrils
    after that unseemly chore,
hangs heavy in the atmosphere
    to smell forevermore;
and then to git the bristles off,
    ya gotta stoke the fire,
to keep the water boilin,
    cause them bristles are like wire.

Then soon you get promoted up
    to where you milk a cow,
and after your apprenticeship
    you make a solemn vow,
to abdicate this rural life
    as quickly as you can,
cause by now youre designated
    as the family milkin man.

The barnyard in the winter
    ain't the worlds most pleasant place,
when you slip on barnyard leavins
    and land flat upon your face,
then look up to see that heifer
    and you swear shes tryin to gloat
cause youre angry and embarrassed,
    and you think shes got your goat.

There are some compensations though
    that make the farm life nice
like the lack of city bustle
    and the lack of city price,
or the feel of  self fulfillment
    and the wide-mouthed grin you wear,
when your pet pig wins a ribbon
    at the local county fair.

Indelible impressions
    bring back feelings fond and warm
when I think way back to yesteryear,
    and life down on the farm.
Long years have blurred some memries,
    but one thing I know for sure.....
Id trade most anything I have,
    to live that life once more!


THE OLD BARN Our barn was old and shoddy and in need of much repair; The roof was full of sunlit cracks from years of wear and tear, But swallows chose the rafters of this old decrepit barn, to raise their young in nests they made of twigs and mud and yarn. They'd perch upon the clapboards and watch us kids at play as we romped with childish disregard, exempt from time of day. We'd shinny up the derrick rope and drop down on the hay, or hand-swing on the crossbars to traverse the other way. The South end was the stable where our horses ate their browse; plus stanchions and the feed troughs, for our two old Guernsey cows. The middle served as shelter for some tools and harness tack, and a saw-horse for Dad's saddle, (which my Grampa called a "Kak.") When I think back and reminisce of things that used to be, nostalgic moments of my youth flash for my eyes to see. It brings back pleasant memories-- makes my old bones feel warm, to recall days when we were young, and played in that old barn. icon Follow Me


MY BRINDLE COW My battle with my brindle cow Reads like a likely tale--- I chuckle still, when I recall The way she filled my pail. The trip home from the pasture On that torrid summer's eve Showed dual determination That you'll find hard to believe. My cow, with bovine mindset That she'd be the worst she could, And me, with teen tenacity, To force her to be good. I threw a rope around her neck When first she dared to stray, To show her I was really boss, And bound to have my say. She dragged me cursing down the road And bawled the entire way. The townsfolk gaped and wondered What was going on that day. Each time she stopped I'd take the rope And tie her to a pole, Then find a stick and beat on her And curse her brindle soul. This rivalry continued Throughout the entire route; And when we finally reached our barn, We both were tuckered out. I locked her in her stanchion, Then went to get my pail To milk that brindle miscreant Who'd caused me such travail. I had to walk behind her To find my place to sit -- SHE WON THE WAR THAT DAY And filled my bucket full of - - it!!!!


UNCLE ALVIN In the mode of rural lifestyles I've a story true and warm that will take you back to yesteryear and life down on the farm. It's about my Uncle Alvin and the never ending woe that seemed to follow him around wherever he would go. Now my uncle was a slow poke, a statement bold and true. He took longer to accomplish things than normal people do. He grew up as a farm boy and he never had a wife 'cause before he knew what they were for, he'd lived up half his life. I was but a little tad, and he was in his prime, but I could do some things he did in less than half his time. One time when he was helpin put some shingles on a house, He was tellin 'bout a squeamish aunt's encounter with a mouse, when he slipped and started fallin to the ground way down below, but remember now, I told you, Uncle Alvin was real slow.... A neighbor saw that tragedy was mighty close at hand--- He had Sears send a mattress out in time for him to land. Another time he found himself atop a load of hay, the finish of that acre that was cut the other day; His team was ploddin homeward when some wise guy broke the sound yellin "gosh almighty, Alvin, your wheels is goin round." But this time uncle held his own, retorting with a frown, "I knowed some fool would notice that afore I got through town." He lived to be a ripe old age, but finally had to go.... I loved my Uncle Alvin, but it's true.... he sure was slow.


FISH STORY I wasn't much for fishin on the farm where I milked cows, But this farm boy must rely on what his memory allows. Our farm was mostly swampy land, with pheasants, ducks and grouse, And a gently flowing crystal stream that ran close to the house. My daddy was a fisherman, of that there is no doubt, And he filled that cool inviting stream with suckling rainbow trout. He hollowed out a catch-bin to control the water's flow, Then declared the stream off limits to allow the fish to grow. For two whole years not ary soul was 'lowed to wet a hook; He wanted to grow super fish, and that's how long it took. So, mostly unmolested, those trout attained a size Needing no exaggeration to become a fishin prize. His patience was rewarded, when at close of working day, He'd don his boots and take his pole, and fish the time away. Sometimes he'd be successful, and land a super whopper, And we'd enjoy a tasty treat of super trout for supper. This scene took place long years ago, in times much more serene. When living was less hectic, and the rural air was clean. Those images implanted sometimes surface in my dream, And I see My Dad still fishin in that gently flowing stream.




© Don Tidwell, 1953-2003

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