August 16th…“WERE YOU EVER SO SAD THAT YOU TRIED TO RUN AWAY FROM YOUR FARM AND FAMILY IN MINNESOTA?”
One summer day, on our farm there in southern Minnesota, it didn’t seem to matter which way I’d turn. Growl, growl THIS from one parent or growl, growl THAT from the other parent. I was in deep trouble and felt so sad and low that I had to look UP at mud puddles.
At that moment, in my sullen little life, I saw flashbacks to television shows I had seen about youngsters in trouble, like I was that day. The young actor, on that particular TV show, would be so fed up with being in trouble from adults around him, that he’d decide he was gonna run away from his problems and become a hobo and steal rides on the railroad trains. As that television family drama would unfold, the young actor would find a large bandanna (BIG handkerchief) and load it with various foods, etc. to take along on his journey of running away. To carry the bandanna, he’d get a long stick and tie the bandanna of goodies to the end of said stick and fling it over his shoulder. I guess you could say that it was a very light suitcase, so to speak.
It got to the point, that day, that I employed the old pity party saying of, “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms!!” As those TV show scenes flashed into my childish crafting cranium, I thought, “THAT’S IT!!!…..If they don’t love and appreciate me around this farm, I’ll RUN AWAY!!!”
I chose the biggest red bandanna I could find in the house that day. It was filled with crackers, cheese, etc.. Next, I found a big stick to tie my stash onto and I was about ready to RUN! Feeling lower than a mud puddle, I slunkered sadly down the south driveway, with my lunch over my shoulder and dejectedly kicked stones as I trudged down the gravel road leading south from our farm place. As I woefully ambled along, I’m thinking to myself, “I’ll sure show THEM!!! They’ll be heartbroken when they realize that I’m gone and will never come back HERE AGAIN!!”
As my farm boots shuffled along the gravel road beneath me, I began contemplating my new life on the road. It wasn’t long before I was passing the pasture land where our father kept our dairy herd during the daytime to graze before coming in for evening milking. I figured I’d take my first rest break in what I thought would be a thousand mile trek that awaited this forlorn road refugee. I slid down off the gravel road and ventured out in to our pasture until I found a “chair” in the form of a clump of sawblade swamp grass. Besides, my tummy said it was time to enjoy some tasty yummies from that bandanna of goodies. Those crackers n cheese were pretty scrumptious as I’d watch neighbor farmers drive by our property on their tractors or pickup trucks as they passed over Brush Creek Bridge.
As I contemplated leaving home, for the road and beyond, I mused over the many times that I had come to this cool, meandering flow of water that coursed from west to east along the southern boundaries of my father’s farm property. Catching crawdads, tadpoles, and even an occasional bullhead (catfish) could be enjoyed below the bridge of this tributary of a tiny river that would eventually empty into the mighty Mississippi River over 150 miles to the east.
Turns out, my dog “Spotty” had seen me escaping from way up at our farmyard. Those four Terrier legs of his were pumping like a steam engine as he raced all the way down our gravel road and into the pasture where I was taking my first break of a thousand miles. How true and faithful was his puppy love and friendship to me as he arrived finding me in tears and crying. “Spotty” could just sense that I needed some loving, so he began to slobber kiss my face till I just couldn’t help but smile again. At least HE loved me!!!
As the afternoon in the pasture passed, we two buddies sat there, and sat there and SAT THERE!! Having taken for granted the amenities of a home life, I realized there was no television to watch, no home cooking to smell in the kitchen anymore and not even any “Richie Rich” comic books to read. The only thing I had was “Spotty” and clouds of mosquitoes that were starting to eat me for THEIR supper. I had already eaten everything in my runaway rucksack and I had become bored. New notions were entertained of second thoughts of the validity of this so called “new life on the road”.
“Well”, I thought to myself, “I’ll give Mom and Dad just one more chance to be nice to me!” So, with my deflated ego, I picked up the deflated bandanna pouch, threw away the long stick and headed for my farmyard and home. And ya know what? As “Spotty” and I walked up the driveway, expecting accolades of, “OHHHH SWEETHEART, WHERE WERE YOU? WE MISSED YOU SO MUCH!” NOT!!! No one even knew I had left in the first place. Farm life went on as normal. Looking back, that was actually a very GOOD thing; for in those days, the family and societal unions were so strong, that farm kids could be out for all day into the evening without parents ever worrying of their darlings being kidnapped by any bad guys.
As far as the parental growling that day, I should have remembered Proverbs 3:12. Mom and Dad truly loved me and only would correct me on life issues because they DELIGHTED in me!! My tiny boy pride had taken over and I thought I would punish them by running away, when all I needed to do was lovingly eat some “humble pie” and be obedient to those who LOVE me. So says the runaway Norwegian Farmer’s Son.