November 26th…“WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF LIFE THERE ON YOUR FARM IN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA?”
Beyond the farthest twinkle of a star, there are baby-blue folds in the clouds where there resides Heaven’s Nursery for bouncing baby boys. From that sparkling repository, I “popped out” and into this earthly life, in 1954, just a howlin’ for milk and all the attention everyone could afford to give to this newborn Norwegian Farmer’s Son.
Each of us are given an amazing computer between our ears that begins storing memories within its database at different times for different individuals. I’ve spoken to some folk who cannot remember the faintest part of their childhood life previous to their teenage years. For me, though, memories began early. Our brains are true miracles of God as we traverse life’s chapters and glean some choice, golden memories that we grasp and maintain for life. On the other hand, some of us experience events that are either horrific or transient and those incidents are discarded by the brain as superfluous. As a defense mechanism, some of those tortuous happenings are eradicated from our memory banks out of need to survive and move on in life.
Being born in a blizzard, as I was, my first baby body sensations, beyond Mother’s cuddling arms and the warmth of our farm home, was the frigid weather of our Minnesota winter. I’m not sure what magical mandate was in play this one day of my babyhood, but we were going to leave the blissful warmth of our farm house and travel in our car somewhere……car?, what’s a car? 😉 I remember Mother wrapping my tiny infant body in the mandatory diaper, one-piece pajamas and then layer upon layer of blankets that swaddled me tightly in a cocoon of warmth. As loving mothers do, she cradled my wobbly head as she scooped me up from my crib and and proceeded to carry me out the back porch door. As the icy wind whipped around the corner of the house, intent on stealing my baby breath away, Mom took my yellow, quilted baby blanket and tossed it over my head for protection. In the blink of my eyes, the brilliant white of the snow-saturated world around me turned into a gentle yellow hue beneath this quilted dome of protecting love. Just before Mother cocooned me under that yellow quilt, I saw something that was big and long and green.
Flying blind, in her arms, and literally under-cover, I could hear her rubber boots crunch the snow with each motherly gait until the shrieking of wind subsided. The now muted sounds of the blizzard were quieter because Mom, with me clutched in her arms, had slipped inside this cavernous, caliginous, clanking collection of parts of what I later learned was something called a car. Of course, it wasn’t until later years that I was cognizant of that contraption actually being our 1952 Chevrolet.
My next captured memory of tiny life occurred in the arena of a dairyman’s main stage…….our giant barn…..well, it was giant to ME, at least. As my first nine months of life unfurled, I began to perambulate as best as I could at my age. The motion is commonly called, crawling 😉
Our sweet mother, Clarice, had carried me in her arms to our barn. Like any good farm wife, our mom was always there for our farmer father and had set little me down on the barn floor so she could assist our dad with some milking chores in what we called the “Milk Parlor”. (To quiet the super-sensitive readers here, I was within her eyesight at all times in this episode). I hypothesize what those Holstein cows must’ve thought of this miniature human that sat on the floor and crawled on “all fours”, just like they walked on their “all fours”.
Secured within their locked stanchions (neck holders), I crawled alongside these behemoth monsters of MOOOOdom. At times, those mountain-tall creatures would look at my crawling presence and bellow forth with those crescendoing, almost honking MOOOOOO sounds. From where my tiny being crawled or sat, I could see Mom and Dad at a slight distance there in our Milk Parlor. At the intersection of the Manger Aisle, I looked down the alleyway where our feeding manger was for our fifteen head of milk cows. That stretch of the barn seemed to go for a mile in my mini perspective at floor level.
With early memories as the subject today, I leave you with a little poem:
Gray matter, gray matter, Between our ears,
Amazing the memories, You store o’er the years.
Some times are vivid, Others are blank,
But for them all, My God I thank!!! ><>
Happy memories are the best says this Norwegian Farmer’s Son. 😉