It is this time of year, late June and early July, that bring back fond memories of life on the Scheckel 238-acre farm, two miles northwest of Seneca in the heart of Crawford County. Long, hot, lazy days of summer.
Before we were old enough to do farm work, we ran barefoot all summer. Oh, I do believe we put shoes on to go to Church! The bottoms of those feet got toughened up pretty fast, running over plowed ground, gravel, thistles, and solid (hopefully) cow pies.
Games of tag, hide-and-seek, Captain May I, and kick-the-can. Cap guns, and wind-up caterpillars, if they lasted from Christmas to summer. And our favorite; corncob fights. A small corncob thrown at your opponent, Phillip or Bob. If you got hit, you were “dead”.
When two of us were “goners”, the game started over. Those small corncobs were harmless; a direct hit to the head, if it ever happened, might “smart” a bit, a worst case scenario. Each of us had our favorite ambush; crawl under the cows in the barn, hide out in the hay mow, conceal behind the hen house. We learned to duck down among the calves in the open pens and move along beside them, maneuvering around for an advantageous throw. We picked up that technique by watching the movie High Noon with Gary Cooper. Best Western ever made, with the possible exception of Shane with Alan Ladd.
The skies in southwest Wisconsin was the most beautiful blue, with puffy white cumulus clouds. We argued over the figures, usually animals we saw in the clouds. “That one is a sheep”, declared Phillip, “the head is over there and it has only three legs right now.” “No, that ain’t a sheep”, retorted Bob, “it’s more like a cow”. I claimed it was a horse. We jumped to a different cloud and the arguments continued.
Well, the skies weren’t always blue. We had vicious storms move across the farmland on some hot summer nights. Lightning, thunder, driving rain. The thunder shook the old white framed two-story farmhouse, rattled the windows, and scared the daylights out of us boys. We hid under the covers, sweltering even more. A few times, Dad and Mom would call for us to come downstairs into the living room to wait out a storm. Dad with read the newspaper and doing a crossword puzzle and Mom would be working those rosary beads. Seemed to work every time. Storm over, all the buildings standing, and back to bed we would go.