Sometimes it comes up in conversation so I tell people that I grew up on a farm. Along with that declarative statement, I usually add that it was only for 5 years. I say this to make two points: 2) I didn't spend my entire childhood on a farm; and 2) It was a significant amount of time for me because up to that point in my few and tenders years, I hadn't lived anywhere more than a couple years. This leads to more conversation: you see, my dad built and rebuilt power plants, and you don't keep building power plants in the same town for too long. The work moves on, and so my family did. That all changed when we moved to the farm in Pike township on Lobachsville Road. From that point on, my dad would do the moving and we would stay put. Stay tuned later for how that worked out.
Our driveway made a large loop around the corn crib: on the southeast side sat our stone farmhouse, and on the west side sat our barn: I was always proud to say it was circa-Revolutionary War because I've always had a fascination with history and how buildings and artifacts connect us with the past and how age old these out of the way places could be, along rural routes, fields, and feed mills. To get to the bus stop, we would round the loop, passing the north side of the barn. South of the barn was the barnyard, where we kept our small herd of sheep. Although the barn yard was a shorter distance, we were supposed to keep to the driveway because the yard was always so dusty and musty.
I once went to school with sheep shit on my clothes; there I was sitting in class, and I guess the kids sitting next to me started to smell something. And then I guess I started to smell something. But you know, I didn't really think it was me, just sort of smelled a bad shit smell; and I was in fifth grade so how cognizant could I have been about all these events? In the moment I must have been, but too worried about catching the intricacies of elementary school than anything else.
What could I have done to get sheep shit on my clothes? I did cut through the barnyard to save time walking to the bus stop. I did climb the fence to get into and out of the barnyard. And though I didn't realize it was me until after I sat alone in the nurses suite in a back room near the washer and dryer, somehow, surely I must have wiped my body up against some sheep shit.
Lucky for me the school had an extra set of gray sweat clothes. I didn't look very cool, but it was better than smelling like poop, and really I never looked very cool. Looking back, I am glad this happened when I was only in 5th grade; not yet old enough to care or to feel the sting of estrangement.