My Dad told me many stories about growing up and visiting his Grandparents in Delhi, Ontario. My brother, Brian, has been researching many of Dad’s tales. Brian commented, “Dad could tell a great story, and some of them were even true!” Below is a story from Bruce’s youth. It is up to you, the readers, to believe it or not.
My Father Bruce and his sister Marian, would often be sent to the family farm in Canada for the summer. There, they could explore the barn, climb trees, and feed the chickens, horses and cows. But they were told time and again, “Don’t cross the bridge over the creek!” There were dangerous animals in the woods on the other side.
The creek was deep and the banks steep and muddy. The old bridge was narrow and had no handrails. The children had the run of the whole farm except by the creek.
One day, Grandma called the children, “Bruce, Marian, Go and find the cows. It is time for milking.” They took off at a run. Marian had the longer legs and was faster than her younger brother. They came to the path to the meadow and the bridge. Marian was hot and turned to cross the bridge to wade into the cool water.
” Grandma will know we crossed,” said Bruce. “Come on she won’t know,” coaxed Marion . They removed their shoes and stockings and waded into the creek. Laughing as they splashed each other, forgetting about the cows.
It soon grew darker. Marian was first to think about the cows.
“Hurry, get your shoes on,” she cried.
They were sitting on the bank when a growling and snarling noise came from the woods. Marian jumped and ran for the bridge. Bruce ran too but his shoes were untied. The thick mud on the bank caught his feet like a cork in a bottle.
“Marian! Come and help me, I’m stuck!”
But Marian never looked back as she raced to the house.
Bruce was pulling his shoes from the mud when he heard a growl much closer and louder.
With a shriek, he pulled his feet out of his shoes and ran home in stocking feet.
Grandma was waiting on the front porch for the children. One look at their wet and muddy clothes and she remarked, “Crossed the bridge didn’t you.”
Marian and Bruce started to tell Grandma about the terrible animal sounds they heard on the other side of the bridge.
Grandma just snorted,”That was your Grandpa teaching you both a lesson in obedience.”
“Should we go get the cows?” Bruce questioned.
“No, the cows have more sense that you two, they came home on their own.”
The children were in bed before Grandpa finished his chores. In the morning, Bruce’s shoes were on the front steps, covered with mud. It took him all morning to clean and polish the shoes.
Marian and Grandma went across the bridge to pick wild huckleberries. Marian had to carry the buckets home . She was tired and sore from carrying the berry filled buckets.
Bruce learned his lesson. But Marian continued to test the boundaries of the rules. At the end of the summer, Grandma told Bruce and Marian’s Father, “Bruce can come back any time but keep Marian home.”
For the next 8 years, Bruce came to the farm every summer to work with his grandpa and play. But he never crossed the bridge without permission.
Bruce had many adventures on the fanily farm with his cousins Bob and doug Turnbull. But that is for another day.
Life on a farm is not all chores.
After feeding animals,
mucking out the stalls,
It was time to play.
The boys challenged each other,
to ride every animal on the farm.
The horses and cows gave little resistance
to an occasional rider.
Not the large sow.
One by one a boy would sneak up to her.
Swinging a leg over her back,
they would hold tightly to the neck.
The sow would buck, twirl like a bucking bronco. Finally, she would race under a fence,
knocking the rider into the mud.
The sow always won.