Monday, July 19, 2010

With Every Opening Is A Closing

The old gate. As far back as I can remember, I climbed the old gates peeking over them to watch the animals. I would climb on them to call Dad in for lunch (or dinner as we called it on the farm). When I was old enough, I could open the gate to the chicken house to gather eggs and feed the rabbits. I could open the gate so Mom or Dad could drive the car through to get gas from the tank on the other side. Dad often had me hop down from the tractor to open the gate.

When smaller, Brenda and I would climb the gate to get reach the little chicken house on the other side either to pet the baby chicks or to play house in it when it was 'chick vacant'. We climbed gates because it was fun. We climbed gates to get from one place to another. We climbed gates because we could.

When my horse came to the gate, I climbed up to pet her head spending quality time conversing with a horse who could not converse in return. The cows would poke their noses through the fence when it was feeding time or for just plain curiosity.  Sheep would do the same waiting for some yummy morsel to be tossed across the gate.

Sometimes I would just go out to the gate between the corn crib and the barn to just sit thinking about life, looking at the farm and sometimes cooling off after a fight with my parents. The gate was a good place for sitting.

Once in awhile a gate was left open by some mysterious means. (It couldn't have been my fault.) The yell would go out. The family emptied the house chasing cows or sheep or chickens back to their place of residence. Once in awhile we were called to the neighbors to do the same. It was exciting maneuvering the animals back to the barns once more. A bit of team work, a family working together and a gated closed with a reminder, "Close the gate!"

When visiting the farm on Neff Road, my children would immediately head for the gate. As tiny tots, they leaned over the top looking at the cows we did not have in Oregon. With a hand on tiny bottoms, I watched their faces light up and listened to sweet voices calling to the cows.

You don't see many wooden fences any more. No longer do cows stand at the old wooden gate waiting to come in for milking. Wire and metal gates don't need a coat of paint, are lighter to open and many latch on their own.

Ah, the good old days. I have a small wooden gate. Maybe I need some livestock!

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