In my last column I mentioned some folks who were influential in my love of the outdoors. Although I never considered my uncle Orville Winjum an outdoors enthusiast he was a farmer and he lived in the old farmhouse, just off Hammer Road, where he, my mother and aunt Ruby grew up. The old farmhouse still stands there today and the barn, as I remember it, is now the warming house at Troy Hammer park.
One thing that could be said about my uncle is that he loved to talk. If you didn’t know it before; once you talked to him for a short while you knew he was a die-hard Republican. I can remember he and my dad having many a heated discussion over coffee at our house. My dad, although a democrat at heart, never took it too seriously but he surely did like to get Uncle Orv going.
During the summer I would hang out up at “the farm” looking for odd jobs, feeding the caves, cleaning pens, mowing lawns or helping when it was time to bale hay. I always enjoyed having something to do and in the process I’d pick up a “little” spending money before the fair. I guess that this kind of reminds me of when my boys were small and they couldn’t wait until it was their turn to mow the lawn. I’d have to say that as a dad I had about a two-year window of opportunity where those boys thought that mowing was the greatest thing in the world and an “atta boy” was payment enough for their young little legs.
Uncle Orv was not known as a notoriously big spender when it came to paying the help but I never did have visions of getting rich on the farm. I actually felt pretty comfortable hanging out at the farm and helping whenever asked and once in a while there was a fresh baked treat to be had. Those freshly baked goodies were payment enough for a kid who had a farm to hang out at almost any time he wanted.
Life was pretty slow-paced in those days so Uncle Orv would usually let me ride along when he went to sell some of his livestock. Whenever he went to Wilson’s to sell livestock we would go into the office where he seemed right at home, almost like he worked there; they would drink coffee, sit around and talk about world events. I would usually get a bottle of pop or a new pencil out of the deal so I was content.
There comes a time when a young self-proclaimed outdoors adventurer may tire of the everyday things and will turn his thoughts to seeking adventure elsewhere. This was truly the case for this particular youngster. I got to witness calves and pigs being born and if I was there early enough I’d watch my uncle milk the cows and throw the filters to the cats who had long before established the pecking order of things involving food.
Until next time: take some time to sit by a lake just to enjoy a sunset. Or you can, take a drive in the country with windows down to enjoy the feeling of the evening dew as it engulfs the foliage of the countryside.
Please take some time to honor those that have sacrificed so much for the freedoms that we enjoy today, also take a little extra time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops that are serving today.