I can remember Mama telling this story to me. She was a great story teller. I think she was about seven or eight years old when this happened. It’s hard to keep track of where they were and what age she was because they moved often from farm to farm where they either rented a house and fields or worked as hired hands.
Another slice of life from Mama’s book I Remember:
Grand River ran between our house and Trenton. The river came out of its banks every time we had a hard rain.
One Saturday Dad went to Trenton for groceries. He drove a team and a farm wagon. It started raining while he was gone and by the time he got back to the foot of the hill we lived on, the water was almost touching the bottom of the wagon bed.
That river always came up fast. I remember being down in the field where Dad was ploughing, along the river. It had been raining up the river some place because the river began to rise. In an hour’s time it was lapping up over the bank. Dad chained the plow to a tree so it wouldn’t be washed away and he, the horses and I left for home up on the hill. In two hours time the whole bottoms were covered.
A little snake about 6 or 8 inches long followed us toward the hill. I looked back and saw him. I threw clods of dirt at him and he would run down in a horse’s track. Then when I went on, he would follow again. It scared me. I was afraid that if he got close enough he might bite me. I don’t know what kind of snake it was. I finally found a corn stalk that had been pulled up out of the ground. The mud had dried on the roots, making it as hard as a rock. I took that and killed that pesky little snake.
Dad laughed at me. He said the little snake was just trying to be friendly.
It strikes me that parents weren’t as protective of children back then. Today, I’m sure that she would have run to her father in fear and he would have reassured her and gotten rid of the snake himself.
I’m sure problem solving and self-reliance weren’t even concepts poor dirt farmers thought about. But, whether they would have known what to call it or not, those concepts were being taught/learned at a very young age.