Last night we got a lot of snow and this morning my brother in law was out plowing. Gramps was preparing his breakfast of 2 poached eggs on a flaky biscuit cut in two, with a smear of jam under the eggs, one half of a chopped, fried onion, a small bowl of applesauce and two pieces of bacon. Well, says he, as he looks out the window, Jimmy says I ride the clutch when I plow. I was driving before he was born……
When I was three I got behind the wheel for the first time. I got in the cah, let the brakes off, and drove down into a large maple tree. When I was five and my sister Lamb was six, we sat in the cah and showed Duval, a visiting guest at the Walden Farm, how to shift. So we knew how to drive at a young age.
When I was seven I took my first real drive. I just got in the Buick we had at the time, started it and drove it down the road. Then I turned around and went back the other way. I drove around about a couple of miles in all. That cah was called a touring cah. It was big and long and had no sides. We did not run the cah in the winter. Back then the roads were not plowed, just rolled. So in winter we used the horses and sleigh.
In the fall, before we put away the cah for the winter, we used to go ‘stealing apples’. It was a family event. We were dressed warm with long johns under our trousers. (Then people knew how to dress properly.) We loaded up all the family in the Buick and went in search of old farms with good apple trees. Dad knew where all the good apple orchards were.
We would sing as we went.… Daily sings the donkey, as he goes to hay, someone must go with him, or else he’ll run away. Keeeeaiii keeeoooo
Or we’d play counting animals…. Cows, squirrels, foxes, cats were all worth 10 points but if you saw a cat in a window it was worth 25 points!!!! We didn’t care who won; it was just fun and we all laughed together.
We would arrive at an old abandoned farm, pick all the apples we wanted and put them in the back of the cah. Then we would come home and make cider in an old apple mill we borrowed from the neighbors. We would throw the apples in the grinder and turn the crank. That was the best cider ever and the fact that we ‘stole’ the apples on a family adventure only made it better.
*cah – Maine speak for car