Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Little Farmer

I was a farmer when I was four.  I was the proud owner of a herd of cows and fine green-roofed barn.  Of course the fact that my cows were plastic, may be important to you, but it wasn't to me.  They were just as real as the cattle out in the barnyard and they didn't require the daily attention that the real ones needed.  However, I doubt that there were many days that went by, that my cows suffered neglect.

All that is left of my beautiful herd!

I recall my first set of farm animals was made of  a very hard, opaque plastic, carefully molded and hand painted.  They were by far the nicest specimens.  There was one Holstein cow and her calf, a red bull (who ever after was the herd sire, despite the fact that many more bulls came and went), a white goat, a white horse with a black tail and mane, several sheep and a piece of brown rail fence with tufts of grass at the base of the posts.

The next set I recall getting was a Christmas present from Mom.  Somehow I found out about them prior to Christmas, probably from squeezing the packages!  I know I played with them a few times prior to Christmas morning, being careful to retape the package, each time.  I'm not sure whether Mom was aware of my shenanigans or not.  She probably was, and it was likely one of those "Don't tell your father about it" situations.

Every few months, I would add a few more critters to my menagerie.  For fifty cents, I could increase my herd by three cows, a bull, a horse, a goat, chickens and two lengths of white board fence.  Most packs came with one lying-down cow and two standers.  Because our real herd was a motley rainbow-coloured group, my paintbrush and oil paints soon worked their magic on my little beasts. 

My barn was a gift from a neighbour lady.  Her children had outgrown it and I still remember her taking me to her attic and offering it to me.  The barn did not survive my rough play too long, but most of the cattle did, although some lost body parts.  When Dad would dehorn the young cattle on the farm, my toys had to suffer the same indignity.  Unfortunately my veterinary skills were somewhat over-zealous and more than one cow had her ears, as well as her horns, lopped off.

A few years ago, I spied the same barn at a garage sale and purchased it, purely for nostalgia.

About the same time a fire claimed the home of farming friends.   My wife went through my farm toys and packed a bag for the little boy.  Even at this point, I doubt anyone will ever realize what a sacrifice that was for me.  Here I was an adult, able to buy any material possessions that I might desire, begrudging a poor little lad that had just lost his home and all of his toys, the simple pleasure of a few of my old friends.

Every once in a while I go on Ebay and check out the listings for 'plastic farm animals' just for old time's sake.  There is nothing like a trip down nostalgia lane.

And that is all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.

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