More Childhood

My paternal grandfather, John E Hayes, had a dairy farm out from Luthersburg, Pa.. He had a large barn with two sections in the bottom floor. One was kept clean and had lots of straw as this is where the cows were brought to prior to milking. The other part, known as the lower shed, was where the cows were kept in bad weather. It was not lit and had only two windows, and was usually pretty deep with cow manure. One cold day in probably March, Pup Hayes, (my aunts and uncles swear it was “Pop”, but we heard and used “Pup”for many years. So, one cold snowy, blustery day, he
met me out in front of the barn and asked if I’d like to help him
deliver a calf. That didn’t take any consideration at all! Of course I
would! He took me into the lower shed where we rarely played as children and there, against the far wall with the only light from a small window, was a cow standing deep in manure, with the front feet of a calf sticking out. Pup grabbed the calfs feet and pulled a few times with no results. I asked if I could have a turn,,,he stepped aside. I put one foot up against the cows rear-end and with both hands gave a big heave. Apparently pup and the cow were in cohesion as she gave a big push and I found myself flat on my back, up to my ears in cow shit with a sloppy writhing baby calf all over the front of me! I can, to this day, hear my grandmother screaming John Hayes, how could you do that? I learn years later I was not the only one he pulled this on.

One day he had me sit on his knee so I could see him blowing smoke out of his eyes. (It is possible) and I sat there mesmerized while he pressed the hot bowl of his pipe against my bare thigh till I reacted and he giggled.  They tell me he played a violin with it laying on the crook of his arm.  I don’t remember ever hearing that and I’m so sorry that I don’t.  He let me watch pigs mating one day.  He didn’t have much to say other than they’re making babies.  I watched a bit confused by all the noise and gyrations.  Now, as an adult and having seen a pigs penis, I wonder why they’re shaped so.  Ain’t biology beautiful?!

4/17/12  Growing up in New Bethlehem was a bit unique in my time.  I started school at age 5 and by 4th grade, we had moved from South Bethlehem to the large apartment like whole floor above Dads new garage/shop.  I went to 4th grade in New Bethlehem at age 9.  Dickie Doverspike was my first close friend.  We did everything together and had sleep overs and hunted and fished together.  I had a 22 rifle, that was Dads own gun when he was little.  Octagonal barrel and pump to reload made it a lot of fun.  Dad gave me very strong words about the danger of handling a gun, and I never forgot them.  Right down to not hitting a live shell with a hammer.  He didn’t have to repeat the words.  I could see it as dangerous.  Now I am amazed how many kids are not being taught such things.  At this time in history, Pres. Obama is trying to rescind the Second Amendment to get guns out of the population.  Such a foolish thing is not only dangerous, it’s sad.

Dickie and I would take our scout backpacks and the rifle and some fishing equipment and hike the 3 miles out to Buttermilk Falls.  We would camp there for the weekend, just us and maybe a dog.  We ate the fish and froglegs we caught and maybe a bunny or two every once in a while.  It was such a wonderful experience.  We made a tent and used sleeping bags.  I don’t even recall getting bug bitten.  Dickie was not into band or music and I was, so about the time that started, Dickie became closer to some guys that were older.  He learned to smoke and I thought it was bizarre.  After I became a doctor and practiced for a short time in New Bethlehem, Dickie and his wife brought their son to see me as a patient.  I discovered a serious disease and had to refer him to oncology.  I never saw the boy again.  I heard that Dickie had come down with brain cancer and had experienced several surgeries.  At our 50th high school reunion,  I saw him for the first time in many many years.  He was short and a bit chubby and gaunt.  I was so overheated, I didn’t stay long to talk with him and I regret that.  Not long after the reunion, he died.  He didn’t deserve that.

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