‘I couldn’t even remember being so dirty’

From our March 2012 issue

By Bonnie Patterson – Owen Sound, Ont.

My parents, Hilmer and Minnie Darroch, farmed two miles west of Mount Forest, Ontario.

Early in April, on a Saturday morning, I would milk five cows then take my milk stool and head upstairs to the granary. My job was to clean and treat enough grain for 100 acres.

There stood the old hammer mill. It separated the weed seeds from the grain. I was only 11 and not too tall, so I needed the milk stool to put the grain in the top to be cleaned.

It was a dirty job and it seemed to take all day to do it.

To tie the bags when they were full was another story. I’m left-handed. Dad tried to teach me but that didn’t work. He’d just walk away.

I’d have the bags at 100 pounds – just the right amount of grain – leaning up against the wall, waiting for my dad to tie them.

At lunchtime my mom made me eat outside. I had a picnic all by myself. Then, it was back downstairs with my milk stool to milk five cows.

I was glad it was Saturday – bath time. I couldn’t ever remember being so dirty. After supper, off to town we’d go.

Dad would try to get a good parking place for mom to ‘people watch’ after she did the grocery shopping.

I’d be out looking for school chums. We went back to the car at 10 o’clock.

Dad would head for the poolhall and sometimes the pub. When he came back to the car he didn’t smell very good, but mom said nothing.

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