Autumn and winter always send me into fits of remembering years gone by, back when I was a child and times were simple. There were no worries, because when you're a kid, you are taken care of. Even if I was sick, I knew my mamma could make me well.
We were dirt-poor, but my parents managed to do a lot of fun things with me; looking back, I'm pretty sure most of those fun things were done 100% for my sake, but at the time I thought they were having as much fun as I was. I imagine their fun came from watching me enjoy life.
There was our annual trip to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. We'd borrow a big tarp from a local farmer, and somehow my parents would fashion a tent from it, with our car making up the back wall. Mother made a camp stove out of a coffee can with sand in it: She''d put a thimble-full of gasoline in there and that was enough heat to make a pot of coffee. Sounds crazy, but Mother told me in later years that's how it worked.
Daddy never cared for movies, so he'd stay home to tend to the switchboard and Mother would take me to the movies: Abbott and Costello, Ma and Pa Kettle, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. We went to see "Singing in the Rain" one time, but it bored me silly. I liked the funny movies.
There was a rodeo at Sidney, Iowa, I remember attending; I loved the rodeo clowns best of all. One time a bronc rider was badly hurt at the rodeo, and later died. For years afterward I remembered his name, but it finally faded into oblivion.
I never had a babysitter in my life. Where my parents went, I also went. I remember canasta parties where card tables were set up all over the place in various homes; there was always lots of laughing and chit-chat at those functions, and usually some tasty snacks. Other kids and I would amuse ourselves in whatever way we could, trying to stay out from underfoot.
There were occasional circuses and small-town carnivals.
I've really had a wonderful life; I have my parents to thank for a great childhood that started me out on the right track.