One of those days.

There are always some days that have trouble getting ‘booted-up.’ After a good sleep I woke up feeling a bit like ‘not one nor the other.’ A bit like someone being asked ‘did you like your dinner’? Yea, ‘not too’ bad. It is hardly a standing ovation to the cook, is it? I’ll try and start with just a few words like; some years ago…

Some years ago on the farm I remember getting a very enthusiastic response to a meal cooked by Helvi. One of our grandsons, without further ado, climbed on the table and started licking the gravy direct from the saucepan. We let him indulge his gravy passion uninterrupted. I mean, they so quickly grow up having to adjust to a world critical of climbing on tables and licking gravy. I too still remember eating direct out of saucepans but not from the table. It is a slight difference. Holland is more proper and proper values are strictly regulated.

It was also at the time, the grandson used to pee all in a row from the large veranda floor surrounding our farm. They all took that proud stance that all boys adopt in the burgeoning art of young boys discovering being able to direct their stream. They did, and as far as possible. When Helvi asked why they did this, the answer was, oh well, the toilet is inside, too far.They were so busy playing around that they left going to the toilet to a bursting emergency status.

There is nothing like life on a farm that gives kids such valuable lessons. It ought to be made compulsory. Many school kids do visit animal farms or get taken to rural properties. There is just nothing like it. Of course, as there is with all life there is birth as well as death.

We had alpacas. It was in spring that one gave birth. All the boys were watching as the birth was progressing. An hour or later the afterbirth came about. One grandson poked it bravely with a stick. What’s this, he asked?

I explained as good as possible. All out of the blue, he asked; Do animals eat this? I said that perhaps dogs or most likely foxes might. What about people, he asked? No, I don’t think so, I said. He thought about this, but did not want to let it rest yet. What about English people? I had to laugh.

He was just three and the world so far had only family and locals in it. The ‘English’ was a different world to him and perhaps in his logic he somehow already thought that in the outside world things might well be different, so, perhaps English people could well be different and eat different foods.
Not silly reasoning for someone so young.

Some time later we came across a dead wombat. Wombats are rather top heavy. When they die, they mainly end up with their legs sticking up. The same grandson wanted to take a closer look. I stopped the car and we both walked over. He seemed sad and I thought of asking if he would like to do something. He said; can you put some lollies on his eyes? I said, of course you can. Why? He might get better, he answered. Next day we drove by, the lollies were still there. The wombat must be dead, he said.



19 Responses to “One of those days.”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    Lovely memories about farm life, Gerard. 🙂
    Do you have any more pictures?


  2. solidgoldcreativity Says:

    Adorable. Thank you. Enjoyed this so much.


  3. Jayde-Ashe Says:

    Love your stream of consciousness.


  4. Andrew Says:

    Very nice, Gerard. Farm life should be compulsory in lieu of national service. I do remember vaguely a children’s programme with Willy Wombat. I think it was called Tingha and Tucker. (And indeed it was. Thank you Wikipedia.


  5. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Kids say the darnest things. Your grandson sounds like he is/was a real corker when he was younger. “Kids say the darndest things” was the name of a book by Art Linkletter, now deceased who was a popular radio and TV host. He had excellent and generally very funny TV shows and books.



    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Yvonne,
      Kids always are truthful, even when they lie. Up to a certain age all kids are also creative. When child-like-ness goes, so does creativity.
      For a large part, I think education fails when it stifles creativity.
      Sorry to be preaching here.


  6. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Enjoyed this post very much. Don’t want to be gruesome, but some societies do indeed eat the afterbirth – it’s very nourishing, apparently.
    Re farm life in Australia – can I refer you again to Jared Diamond’s book, Collapse…? The book is very detailed, so you might want to skip to the late chapter on Australia and its land challenges, it’s a real eye-opener.


  7. sandshoe Says:

    A delightful article. So many perceptive observations and incidents to think about seen through the eyes of children … and in that special place the farm. In the same way you were that companion and intrinsically engaged in your relationship with Helvi in the care of the children, you show me (the reader) rather than tell me the story that is a life commentary. Very moving Gerard … and so much nicer down here on the farm.


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