Reminiscing about the good ol’ days
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest You may have noticed that I’ve written about serious stuff the past few months. Well, I never could stand being all serious, all the time, so this month my social conscience about food will take a summer break and I’ll take you on a trip down memory lane.A scientific article about non-caged, free-range, organic eggs recently set me reminiscing about my mother. She raised 300 free-range layers and sold eggs from our back door. Her chickens had abundant room to move about and find a nest when they had an urge to lay an egg. Though free-range, they returned each night to a chicken house, for protection from varmints.However, for several nights a couple of the hens chose not to return to their safe house. They hid in the haymow above the heifer loafing pens. Eventually, my brothers came across the nests in the wayward hens’ hideaway. They contained a couple dozen eggs.Even way back then my brothers and I were concerned about food safety. We figured that since there was no rooster to fertilize the eggs, and we had no idea how long the eggs had been sitting there, the eggs should be pitched.And pitch them we did — at each other, like snowballs with great accuracy. I told Dad that I inadvertently slipped and fell into a hen’s nest full of eggs while feeding the cows hay. Of course, that didn’t explain the egg yolks smeared on the barn door, nor the egg shells in the feed bunk, nor my brothers’ egg-stained clothes.In reflection, I’m sure he didn’t buy the story. But he didn’t challenge us. Dads’ boys were indeed boys.Then there were the escapades with my cousins Lee and Dale. They were a couple years older than I and lived just three quarters of a mile, as the crow flies, from our house. Since I didn’t have a driver’s license, I caught a ride with them to summer 4-H meetings. After the 4-H meetings, Lee and Dale, along with a couple of other neighborhood boys, raided watermelon patches.Now, of course, I wasn’t into doing that kind of thing. Dad would have skinned me alive. But since Lee and Dale had given me a ride to the 4-H meeting, what could I do?Usually the 4-H meeting ended about 9:30, shortly after darkness descended and the moon came up high in the sky. Lee and Dale scouted out the targeted patches ahead of time, to check the lay of the land and prevent driving off into a creek or ditch in the dark. And to avoid detection, they disconnected the taillights of their family’s 1953 Ford, and they flipped off the headlights. My cousins were like a couple of raccoons eating sweetcorn. They smashed a melon then took only a few bites before moving on to the next. However, if cross-examined, I would have had to confess that nothing tasted sweeter than a watermelon cracked open by moonlight down a long, narrow farm lane even if it wasn’t organic!And here — never before divulged — are the details of the cover up. After leaving by driving slowly back down the farm lane, still with no headlights or taillights, we turned onto the township road and drove a mile or so before switching on the headlights and reconnecting the taillights. Also at this point we discarded any contraband from the vehicle, eliminating evidence that we had done anything other than go to a 4-H meeting.Then one final stop before home — we pulled into the local hangout, Hunter’s restaurant/gas station, for chocolate malts. However, the chocolate malts, and being seen at Hunter’s, were not the key elements of my cousins’ cover up plot. You see, Lee and Dale’s dad was suspicious of them. He had taken to checking the mileage on the family car after they borrowed it.So, they jacked up one rear wheel and put the car in reverse. As we sipped our malts, the extra miles put on during our melon patch raid rolled off the odometer. In those days, odometers were gear-driven rather than electronic, and ’53 Fords didn’t have posi-traction or automatic transmissions. So you could turn the odometer back with the car in reverse.What can I say? But I’ll give my cousins credit: Their scheme was far safer than driving the car in reverse the long way home to erase all the extra miles we had veered off the straight and narrow.