Have you ever wondered what it would have been like if you had been born in a different era? Some people believe people are born at just the right time. I subscribe to that theory. If I was born 20 years earlier, I would have grown up learning to farm with horses.
My 85-year-old neighbor was born in 1932. He was a Depression baby. I take him his paper every morning and we chat. When he mentioned being a Depression baby, he quipped it was a wonder his parents didn’t throw him out with the trash — babies were another mouth to feed and another expense when there wasn’t enough money or food to go around.
If I had been born when my neighbor was born, my parents might not have tossed me out, but they likely would have stuck me on a seat behind a horse. Here are 10 reasons why that might not have turned out well.
1. I am a klutz and proud of it. No one ever accused me of being athletic or super-coordinated. It looks to me like it takes big, tough men to control horses.
2. I hate summer heat! Just imagining sitting on a steel seat behind a team of horses in the burning sun makes me sweat!
3. I never understand “horse talk.” The old-timers talk about “gee” and “haw.” I had enough trouble learning to read and write in English, let alone learning “horse talk.”
4. Tractors don’t make manure. I’ve forked enough manure in my life as it is. I can’t imagine cleaning up behind the “equipment” that is supposed to work for you.
5. Oats make me itch. Horses love oats. So everybody grew oats. We grew a few for our dairy cows, and I always came out of the oats bin scratching and itching — that was enough for me.
6. I don’t take kindly to being kicked. My ram butted my knee last fall and it turned into a $2,000 injury and physical therapy. If a horse kicked me, it would have likely been “lights out.”
7. My rows would have been even more crooked! I couldn’t make straight rows with a D-17 and John Deere 494 A planter. Imagine me trying to make straight rows guiding a team of horses!
8. I would rather push the starter button than put on a harness. Push a button or turn a key and the tractor fires up — most of the time. I get tired just thinking about handling all that harness to hitch up a team of horses.
9. I’d be way out of my element. I can’t even ride a horse, let alone drive a pair. The only time I tried to ride a horse, the horse owner decided in about five minutes that I had ridden long enough!
10. Whoa, boys! My dad did grow up working with horses. One of the stories he told most often was about a young team of horses running off with him and a load of wheat at threshing time. I’ll take my chances with tractors and wagons.