There are things that you learn as a child that stick with you for the rest of your life. Some of those things, if you didn’t learn them as a child, apparently they’re harder to learn.
My grandparents had at least one cow. Sometimes there were two but Spot was the milk cow and, at least in my memory, she was around the whole time I can remember but I don’t remember for sure. There was a fence around their house and a little walk through gate in the back. We went through that gate to get to the garden, the chicken yard, and the pasture. My grandparents had dogs. I mostly remember Butch and Blondie, cocker spaniels. The dogs, for obvious reasons, were not supposed to be near the chickens and they’d chase the cow sometimes.
There was also a gate in the front yard and we had to go through that gate to get the mail, which was always a highlight of my day when I was there.
It didn’t matter if you were going two steps out those gates or going to spend an hour in the garden, you always, always closed the gate when you walked through it.
Vince grew up in town and they probably never even had a fence, never needed a fence. He will NOT close the gate if he’s just walking in to do something and come back out. Yesterday he walked into the orchard through the drive through gate and since he was planning to just move a hose and come right back out, he didn’t latch the gate. But, he walked around and ended up coming out another gate and forgot that the drive through gate wasn’t latched.
During the night, the wind blew it open, which means a deer could have gone in and eaten the fruit off the trees. With the chicken coop door opening on a timer, we hadn’t been out front to notice the gate was open and after while, a chicken went running by the front porch and he noticed the gate was open. He wen tout and tried to get the chicken in but Vince’s idea of herding chickens is to chase them and that doesn’t work. He said “We have to go out and catch that chicken!” I went out with some pieces of lettuce and she followed me right in through the gate, thinking she was fixing to get a yummy treat. Sorry, girl! Lettuce isn’t their favorite. They prefer strawberries or blackberries.
That made me think about the things we teach our children and grandchildren. We can always learn things later in life but those things that are taught to us at a very early age stick with us and become second nature. My grandma probably told me “We always close this gate when we walk through it because Butch and Blondie will chase the chickens, or Spot will come into the yard and eat my flowers!” I’m sure I forgot to close it a few times and she had to remind me but closing the gate every time I went through it became second nature and even now, if I’m driving down the road and see an open gate, I want to stop and close it. I don’t but I always think . . Oh, that gate should be closed!
This made me think about how we’re all raised differently and what’s “normal” for some is “extraordinary” or even scary for others. As a kid, we never were around fish. When dad would catch fish, we wouldn’t touch them. Addie has grown up messing with fish and it doesn’t bother her one bit to grab a fish out of the cooler and hand it to Chad to clean.
Living in Louisiana, we had lush green grass and ran around bare footed all summer. I think about kids growing up in the country like where we are with grass burrs. Heck, we don’t even walk around inside the house bare footed in case a grass burr came in on our pants and ended up in the floor. We don’t dare wear outside shoes into the house for fear of tracking those burrs inside.
Vince’s parents came to the U. S. from Sicily as young adults so his childhood was very different from mine. Different customs, different ways of dealing with things. Because his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins were all still in Sicily and he never really knew them, he doesn’t have that desire to be close to family like I do.
We never know what events or lifestyles have affected those around us so that makes me want to be a little kinder and more understanding of those who do things differently from how I do things.
And all this started this morning with an open gate. 🙂