Grandpa Clifford’s Stories

I come by my story telling from my Grandfather Turnbull. Clifford was interested in the ancestry of the Turnbull clan. In his research, he traced the family back to the origins of the Turnbull surname. Cliff traced the migration of the Turnbull’s leaving Scotland from a small fishing village on the eastern shore to sail to Canada, and finally to the United States. He typed his notes and gave a copy to each of his children and grandchildren.

I was impress with his historical narrative, but I am more interested in the oral stories Gradfather told about his family growing up in Delhi Ontario . The family’s farm was named Hillcrest. It was situated on a small rise and surrounded by a cedar and pine woods. A spring fed stream divided the farm in half. 60 acres were cultivated and 60 acres were wooded.

Clifford relates a number of stories of city raised cousins coming to visit the farm.He recalled his father, Bill, playing jokes on his nieces and nephews.

Uncle Bill put out a trap to catch a woodchuck. Instead, he trapped a skunk. Clifford recalls his father sent the city cousin Raymond to check the trap. Raymond reported that a kitten was in the trap.He didn’t recognize a skunk. Uncle Bill gather all the nephews to watch him shoot the skunk. He had them stand behind the trap. They edged closer as their uncle raised the rifle. When he shot, so did the skunk. Raymond got the worse of the spray. Grandmother wouldn’t allow any of the boys to come for dinner until they were completely rid of the skunk order. They spent a long time in the cold water of the swimming hole.

The girl cousins were not immune to their uncle’s teasing. One of the girls, Florence, was built long and lanky. She would try to ride any animal . One Sunday, Florence was dressed in an embroidered white dress. Uncle Bill and several of his brothers, pointed to the herd of sheep and told to ride one. She climbed the fence and heaved her leg over one of the largest sheep. The men laughed and Florence held on to the angry sheep. She was finally thrown off only to land in the mud. The men applauded, but Florence was in disgrace with the women. She had ruined her best dress.

Clifford would tease his sisters and run and climb a large pine tree to get away from his younger sister Erie. She learned to climb as well as Cliff. He would jump to a neighboring tree and the chase would end.

Agnes, Clifford’s older sister, was small for her age. When Clifford was asked to gather the chicken eggs, he would enlist Agnes to crawl into tight places to find the eggs. When she was under the barn, he would make animal sounds to frighten her.

The following poem is taken from a news clip in Grandpa Cliffords book. It tells of the legend of the surname Turnbull

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He saved the King

Willian was laboring in a lowland glen.

He stopped to watch Robert Bruce ride by with his friends.

The Prince’s tartan flowed in the breeze.

Enraging a young bull grazing in the trees.

William raced between the man and beast.

He grabbed the horns, crack, the bulls life ceased.

The young prince’s life had been saved.

He knighted William for coming to his aid.

Three bloody bulls are on the crest.

The motto ”He saved the king” says the rest.

Carol Farnsworth

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 1-19-21

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