When we were little, we used to go to our cousins’ farm for two weeks every summer. It was in Hurley, well not exactly in Hurley, more out in the country. Hurley is a small town my family lived in until we moved to Pierre, when I started Kindergarten. There was a fire incident at that house involving a rug. Fire and me started early. Hurley is really small. The population in 2014 was 403. Hurley is located 30 miles southwest of Sioux Falls.
My cousins had two farms. They also had two giant German Shepherds, Lady and King. They lived at the first farm until they moved to their grandma’s farm, the second farm. The cousins moved there after their grandma could no longer live there.
We were all close in age. My older sister, Wendy’s matching cousin was Nancy. My matching cousin was Lisa and my younger sister, Sherry’s matching cousin was Amy. My brother didn’t have a matching cousin, but there were two older cousins, Doug and Brad. Later came Sara, she was a St. Patrick’s Day baby. I remember my aunt Sue’s belly touched the steering wheel when she was pregnant with Sara. I seriously don’t know how she could even drive.
We were city kids. I was definitely not a country kid. The farm wasn’t my favorite place to be. I should specify. I liked the farm, but was afraid of every single animal on the farm. The sheep, the pigs, the cows and guess what? I was even afraid of the chickens. Those suckers would come after me. I remember one time the sheep got out and we were all supposed to go outside and try to get them rounded up and put back. I was slow. I was scared to go out. I was scared to be around those sheep. I didn’t know how to herd them. I didn’t know anything about them. I still had to go out and help. I barely remember helping. I just know I was scared every step of the way.
We picked weeds and we picked rocks. We worked. It wasn’t a vacation. We played in the hayloft and in the silo. We were outside most of the time. Summer was fun, except for the farm animals. We used to get the rotten eggs and go out in the trees and throw them at the old cars that died and were left to rust. One day there was a dead cow and it was covered in maggots. I thought I was going to die, but at the same time it was fascinating. It was fascinating until Wendy’s matching cousin, Nancy, got a stick and then covered the end of the stick with maggots and then chased me around the barnyard. I swear that is the reason I could run so fast. So, I guess I should thank her.
A treat was when we went to Turkey Ridge. It was a small grocery store/gas station a few miles away. I always got the pack of tiny size chiclets gum. It was candy coated and so sugary and sweet. I’m surprised I didn’t have a billion cavities. I would also get the red licorice strings. I remember tying the strings in knots until I couldn’t anymore and then I would precisely and methodically eat one knot at a time until it was gone. I remember one time we were driving to Turkey Ridge, Brad usually had to drive us, but I think it was just all us girls this time, but the song Afternoon Delight was playing. We were all laughing because the song had been played to death. I think we hated it. Whenever I hear that song now, I think of that time and I think of how much fun we had.
My cousins had a few weird ways of eating things. We always had good food, but when we had Jello they would put Cool Whip in it and then mix it all together. Ewwwwww. I don’t understand how they could ruin perfectly good Jello by mixing in the Cool Whip. I just don’t get it. We always had something good to eat and always a good dessert. There was a chocolate cake they used to make. I am trying to think of the name, but I can’t quite remember. I want to say atomic cake or something like that. The best chocolate cake EVER.
Another thing that I thought was odd was when aunt Sue made coffee. The coffee was a stovetop pot. She would put an egg in the grounds. She will have to explain this to me because I don’t know why she did it. I might have missed something about it. I remember strange things sometimes. I remember parts of strange things sometimes.
Our time on the farm was so good for us. City kids need to have a little taste of the country. The time of a kid’s life is playing outside and learning to work hard at a young age. I remember so many things about the farm. So many good memories. So many cousin memories. So many cherished memories. I am grateful for my time on the farm.