Bringing in the cows
Grandpa Cummins (Mom’s stepdad) provided an early memory by putting me to work on a few summer mornings. Bringing in the cows for milking was the first chore after sunrise. Their farm sat on a hill above the river and the cowpaths wound down the hill, across the gravel road with a pole gate on each side, and along the river to a third pole gate through a fence line. It was a great adventure to go with Grandpa to get the cows. Barefooted and walking through the heavy dew on the pastures at sunrise was a delight.
One morning Grandpa instructed me to go get the cows because he was busy. Wow, and all by myself. Heading down the hill and through the gates my mind was too occupied by my mission to note the poles were all ready down at every gate. Entering the last pasture several hundred feet from the cows, they lifted their heads and started up the cowpath to the barn. My standing to the side while they passed didn’t bother them at all. Off to the barn we went with a big old grin at the rear of the line. The chore was mine when we visited.
All went well until bad weather stopped me from going. Grandpa put his fingers to his mouth, gave a shrill whistle, and ten minutes later the cows showed up. Grandpa also had a habit of leaving the poles down on the gates before daylight. It was still a great experience for a youngster wanting to help.