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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jan 27, 2017

It was one of those times when one thought leads to another, ending in a place of long ago and long forgotten.

Part of my morning routine is listening to an AM radio station that, between giving markets and weather, will ask a question for listeners to call in with the correct answer.

The question that morning was, “Seventy-seven percent of adults had these as children. What are they?”

My wife and I play along with the listeners who call in and once in a great while I will call in with what I believe is the answer.

Clues to the answer are given as callers attempt so the correct answer is eventually determined and the correct answer to this question was imaginary playmates.

Then my wife and I looked at each other and determined both of us were in the 23 percent who did not have imaginary playmates when we were young.

But we remembered family members who did, even recalling the names of those playmates that only lived in their minds, but always were doing deeds that we heard about.

My wife said her younger sister could make paper dolls come alive. As the big sister, her job was to cut them out for her younger-by-two-years sister.

My sisters also played with paper dolls and that brought back a childhood memory of mine.

I did not have paper dolls. I had paper tractors. And implements.

My dad’s youngest sister was June who was in her mid-20s at that time, unmarried, living with her widowed mother, her three unmarried brothers, one of whom had Downs’ syndrome, on the farm where they were raised.

Aunt June had a way to have fun whether working or playing on the farm.

We cousins never missed a time to visit Aunt June, who lived a couple miles away, because we knew whether it was feeding the chickens, tending the garden, milking the solitary cow, or coloring in a coloring book, Aunt June would make it fun. We adored her.

There was one day I was visiting Grandma and Aunt June, when I was around age 4 or 5, when Aunt June got out a pair of scissors and a farm magazine. Then she cut out the pictures of tractors, plows and wagons from the ads on the pages.

Oh, my gosh, I had all these tractors and they were the newest models of every make. And there were wagons and plows that I could hitch to my tractors with a piece of tape.

But it was not quite right. There was a problem with the viewing angle. You had to match a side view with a side view and make sure the tractor and implement were facing the same way.

Not everything was the same scale because tractors would be large or small depending on the size of the ad and the viewing distance in the picture whether close up or farther away. It was the same problem with the implements.

I remember taping a plow to a Ford tractor with the plow being as large as the tractor. As a budding perfectionist (a habit I was able to kick later in life), I couldn’t farm that way.

However, imagination overcame frustration and I plowed the table top anyway. Farmers have to make the best of any situation, even when it seems impossible.

It was quite a trip from a question asked over a radio to a fond forgotten memory that deserved to be remembered.

A few years later, Aunt June met a kind, wonderful man named Bob who lived in northern Wisconsin. They were married and Aunt June moved to her new home with new uncle Bob, taking her fun with her.

By then I had outgrown paper tractors, preferring the full-sized ones whose scale was 1:1. It made hitching everything together much easier and I didn’t have to look for the tape.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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