The Old Red Barn

The Bloganuary challenge today is indeed a challenge for me: What is the earliest memory you have?

You see, I have many bits and snatches of early childhood memories, but which one is the earliest? Impossible to say, so I’ll go with my memory of playing in Grandpa Forsyth’s old red barn. This one was built in 1917 when Grandpa and Grandma Forsyth came to the Melfort, SK, area to farm and it looked like a zillion others that dotted the prairies when I was young.

These folks weren’t really my grandparents, but because I was raised by Dad and Mom Forsyth, I refer to his parents as Grandpa and Grandma, though I never knew either of them. My birth parents (Dad Vance being a sister to Mom Forsyth) being dirt poor, lived in a small trailer on Grandpa Forsyth’s yard. I had a brother Jim, who was eleven months older than me, and we were inseparable. Donna, 2 1/2 years younger, would have been the baby.

Apparently before I was four, Jim and I were left to pretty much run free on the farmyard. I still remember that one of our favourite things was to run into the barn and into the part aside which was the chicken coop. Here the ladder to the hayloft was hung. We’d climb up this ladder and jump down from the big doors of the hayloft, get up and do it again. I can’t tell you the exact distance to the ground, but it had to be a drop of at least a dozen feet (3 metres). I don’t know what Health & Safety would say these days about 2- to 4-year-olds leaping from barn lofts, but we survived and had great fun.

At least until Dad and Mom Forsyth moved to BC when I was four and took me with them. We came back to the farm later, but then moved to the city when I almost six. After that my connections to my siblings were limited to summer and Christmas holidays. Folks visited the old farm for a number of years –in summer to gather the orchard fruits– and I still remember the old red barn.

Katzenjammer

Sue’s Jibber Jabber Daily Word Prompt for today was LIVELY.
Here’s a poem I wrote back in 2012 that I think will make a good response to this prompt:

Katzenjammer
Rampant Ravager
tears my house to shreds
torpedoes across the carpets
pokes at, overturns, leaves permanent marks
of teeth in longsuffering houseplants—
becomes
Kitten-snoozer curled
in cushioned velvet chair,
soft paws waving like fronds
trying to snag a quick mouse,
or shred the leaves
in dreamland.

Hula-Hoop Flexible? Not.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today — which I’m so slow at responding to because of a trip to the city this morning — is FLEXIBLE.

A great word, and a great concept. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone were flexible, both in body and in mind. Not flexible with the truth, like saying black is white or “If it feels good, do it.” Just flexible enough to ponder new ideas and make the change when something better comes along.

Flex.OCArtBut my first thought in regard to the word “flexible” is how I used to be when I was young. Hula-hoops were all the rage and we used to writhe around all recess keeping our hoops moving around our waists. It wasn’t one bit hard, either, as I recall.

As fads recycle, hula hoops reappeared when my grandchildren were younger and I decided to try it again, for old times’ sake. (Those old times before I knew what arthritis meant.) There was something wrong with the way this hoop was made, though: it wouldn’t stay where it was supposed to. When I gave it that first spin and started gyrating to keep it circling, it dropped to the floor. Every time. I soon gave up. Either the thing was too rigid to twirl properly or perhaps modern plastic is just too heavy.