Remember, I lived on a little farm, way up north.
My mother always – let me emphasize that – always had a large crock of dill pickles just inside the kitchen door.
I had three brothers. We could take a dill pickle anytime we wanted. That is, if we remembered to put the lid back on.
We took a lot of dill pickles.
Oh, and left a lot of lids off.
Another memory that walks the pathways of my mind was ring baloney.
We had an icehouse. Remember the tale about the icehouse? Mom would buy several rings of baloney and put them in the icehouse.
After we got home from school – we walked two miles – that left us hungry. Boys are always hungry. We could go in the icehouse and break off a piece of baloney and eat it. Whenever we wanted.
Oh, we had to remember to close the door.
We ate lots of baloney and forgot to close lots of doors. This memory demands a special place on my list of memories.
My mother always had a large tomato patch. I would come home from school, put a salt shaker in my pocket and head for the tomato patch. This is one of my fondest memories.
You might wonder how many tomatoes I ate. I have no idea – a lot.
Sometimes, my mother would say, “Go kill a chicken for supper.”
One of us would pick up a .22 rifle and head out. In the yard, we always had chickens, ducks, turkeys, Guinea hens and a lot of other things in the yard.
We had to be very careful to shoot the chicken in the head, so we didn’t hurt any meat. We didn’t want my mother mad.
My dad had taught us to shoot very well. He put wooden matches in a crack in a log. We had to shoot and light them without breaking the match. All of us could shoot very well. Yes, all of us could do that. My dad made sure we could.
One summer, my brothers and I got a wild idea. Each of us worked hard all summer, one job or another. We took all our money, pooled it together and built an airplane. Yes, an airplane.
We went down to the airport in Clarkston, Wash., bought an old airplane seat, prop, wheels and controls. We bought a whole bunch of balsa wood, and we built an airplane. The hardest thing was to glue all that paper on.
We needed to power the prop. After major arguing and debate, my oldest brother, Joe, decided to use three or four truck innertubes. We tied one end to the prop and the other end to the back of the airplane. We would wind up the prop, then tie it down.
We had a long cow shed with a long-slanted roof. We pulled it up on the roof. We had drawn straws to see who would fly it. My brother, Marven, lost and had to fly it. Well, he got in and we cut the prop loose and down that roof he went, out over the yard, straight up, then straight down. All that was left was a large pile of balsa and all our summer wages gone.
Boys will be boys. Oh, my brother was ok.
A storyteller, John Zentz, 87, will share a blend of fact and fiction in his bimonthly column. Some tales he’s lived through, some he’s been told. Zentz and his family are longtime Hubbard County residents. He has a picture of his grandmother and grandfather, seven times removed, sitting on a porch in Park Rapids.