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Down on the farm

Down on the farm
Out of the woods.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Red Riding Hood woods

My mother was born in 1914, the 5th of 7 siblings. The Campbell family lived with Rebecca's parents on the farm near Stanton, MO.
The older children attended a one room school house up by the road about 3 miles along the driveway and south a bit. It is long gone, but if you know where to look you can find the ruins. It wasn't too far from where the boys killed a wolf one winter.
The fields all lay beyond the woods...Little Red Riding Hood woods. Big, dark and scary to 6 and 4 year old girls commissioned to take the stone jug of lemonade and the basket of food to the men in the field. The older girls and the women were cooking up supper for the field hands. Biscuits and pies in the oven, pots at the boil, babies can't be left alone, feet and hands must be useful. Even tiny fearful hands and feet.
My mother never forgot those trips. Her voice trembled when she talked about it at the ages of 40, 57, 78, and 84. The dire fear of not only knowing that her brothers had killed a wolf nearby, but the responsibility of her little sister never left her.
She did it. She survived. But the adventure was pretty much knocked out of her.
She didn't like storms, but I never knew it. She didn't like the dark, but I didn't know it. She hated surprises and anything new or different, but I never knew. I thought she was strong and unconquerable, but really, she was just stubborn...and the bravest person I ever knew. Because I never knew...not until she told me.