What can three teenage farm boys do for entertainment?That’s before they started dating.Well they could borrow their dad’s cars and go to town for the Saturday night picture show.They could go bike riding or horseback riding.They could go fishing in the spring of the year.They could go shooting groundhogs with their 22 rifles,or just do target practice hitting tin cans set up in a row.In the fall of the year when the goldenrod was in bright colour,they could spend a couple of hours having sword fights.
Here is how it worked.Across the road from our farm was a hundred acre pasture field.I had never seen the field ploughed up.Maybe fifty cattle pastured on it all summer.A ditch ran through itand there was lots of water for the cattle to drink.Near the back of the farm a long way from the road were mounds of earth where a cabin had once been.A dug well was in the midst of a poplar grove that had grown up around it,wild lilac bushes flourished too.There was an old abandoned orchard here also.There was an old tree of Tomman Sweets,an Astrican and a shiny red apple but the tree I remember best was the old spy apple tree.Its trunk had been hit by lighting and split.The winds and storms had knocked the tree over years ago and half the tree was dead but one large branch which rested on the ground had shot up new growth getting its sap from the old twisted split trunk.Every year this branch grew the best and most delicious red northern spy apples.We would always wait for a good frost then make sure we walked back to this tree to stuff our pockets with the best eating apple you could ever imagine.We would take enough home to get an apple pie made too.
Anyway this field was just covered with clumps of beautiful yellow goldenrod.They would grow three to four feet high on stiff woody stems.We boys would pick 8 to 10 stalks and make a bouquet of flowers,then start using them as swords to slash and poke ,and whack each other over the wrists,body and face if you didn’t duck or get out of the way.By the time the game was finished we had some red marks and welts on our arms and wrists and sides.
Such was the entertainment for some farm boys on a lazy sunny fall afternoon. Goldenrod season brings back these memories.