My mother, my grandfather, Fear, Milk, and Horses

It was a cold winter in 1960/1961. I was only 5, but enjoyed the snow very much. There was a small hill on the side of the house where I would sled. It was not a very steep hill. However. Mom was very protective, and was always fussing. You see, she was very protective of me, her only child.  She worried that I would get hurt. She was afraid of most things she deemed dangerous. Sledding. Going out on the ice. Swimming etcetera.

Keeping the above in mind, this may be a good time to tell a side story about my mother when she was a child, helping her family with the dairy farm. The year was 1924. Mom was 10. The Fairman family, (my mother’s family) had cows, and chickens on the farm, and a large garden. One of my mom’s chores, was to help deliver milk. Milk was delivered to the customers, in this small town of Dubois Pennsylvania on a horse-drawn cart. Mom would carry the order from the cart to the customer’s door. They would make the stops one by one, delivering the milk, butter, buttermilk, cheese to the milk box on the customers stoop.

Grandfather would often stop and chat with the customers if he ran into them. Then they would head down the road toward the railroad tracks. There is more stops on the other side of the tracks, no pun intended.

Well, the two horses started across the tracks and stopped in the middle. They both see a train coming down the tracks. My grandfather shook the reins with all his might. The horses would not budge, as the train whistle screamed out its warning.  The train was suddenly upon them! WHOOSH, there went the horses, swept clean from the cart! I can just imagine the look on my grandfather, and my mother’s face!! This event helped to instill the fear of things that remained with her the rest of her life. Something was definitely watching over them that day.

So now back to the small hill on the side of my house where I was sledding, and my mother was fussing. Dad would give me a wink. He knew I was having lots of fun. He was always the one that would convince mom that everything was okay. Dad would grab mom by the shoulders, look her in the eye and say, “It’s all right Ruth. He is just fine. He is having fun. All is well.” Moms worried look would turn into a smile. And at least for that moment, her fear would seem to melt away, as dad gave her a big hug, and I zoomed down the hill.  More about mom in a later post.

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