Rural Communities: Neighbors and Friends on the Family Farm
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I was hired by a neighbor to lead the "hay horse" one summer-I was usually a bit fearful of those big horses trailing so close behind me, but it was a means of earning spending money so I tried very hard to keep a step ahead of the horse. It must've worked since I don't have any scars to show, and the few dollars I earned were cherished.
One Halloween night we kids went to our dear neighbors' house to scare them. The man knew we were coming and put on a sheet and came flying around the corner of the house about the time we were ready to make noises to scare them. We certainly didn't waste any time leaving the scene. He laughed about that for years.
We all are blessed with idiosyncrasies or peculiarities and I recall a few of some neighbors that we still chuckle about today:
One family left their dinner plates on the table at noon when they had finished eating, so they could use the same one that night for supper-it saved washing dishes.
One family filled a big dishpan full with garden lettuce to place under the table, it was convenient for all to help themselves when they wanted some.
One mother, when the child grew tired of chewing his gum, would chew it until the child was ready for it again, and then return it to him. Remember, this was during the Depression so nothing was wasted.
Neighbors and friends are a delightful part of growing up in rural America. Those friendships and good deeds are responsible for many good memories!
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.
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