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9/20/2004

Fences Are For Grownups (Part 3)

Ahh, the good old days… My folks never did quite convince me that life was all that interesting within our fenced in yard. Oh, I learned to keep them happy by staying within the fence “Most” of the time. My imagination was stretched to its limit devising scenarios to while away the time. I had trucks and tractors and was continually cutting up the yard with road building and “farming”. But, there were also some VERY inviting cedar trees on two sides of the yard with all kinds of little hideouts. I found the braces for the corner posts to be very helpful in scaling that fence and I often sneaked over the fence and returned without any great turmoil.  
 
My stories of growing up with fences sparked a response from a reader of the Cowboy Commentary, Steve Mertz. Kids, of course, are going to do all they can to overcome incarceration. In Steve’s case, his father devised a creative alarm to thwart his escape. Here’s his story… 
 
“When I was a kid growing up in Western Kansas my folks kept me fenced in, too. It was a wire fence and I soon learned how to climb it. So, dad strung two wires across the top of the fence that when touched would ring a doorbell on the back porch. He thought that as I attempted to crawl over the fence, the doorbell would alert mother as to my intentions. But I have always taken delight in how it backfired on him. Mom put me down for my afternoon nap, and the doorbell on the back porch went to ringing. With no one in the back yard, all the birds in the neighborhood would roost on the wires of the back fence. Two or three birds would weight down the top wire just enough to contact the bottom wire and the doorbell would commence to ringing. Like to drove my mother nuts. But, in defense of my parents, I must explain that there was a very good reason for the fence and the doorbell apparatus. Just 15 feet away from our property was an eight-foot deep irrigation canal with a pretty rapid current, and mom and dad didn't want us kids near that water. I have to agree with their logic.” 
 
Steve’s poor mother must have gotten absolutely nothing done with that doorbell ringing constantly! Lucky for me, we didn’t have an irrigation ditch nearby. As I got a little older, I think my parents just gave up, or maybe they gained confidence that I wouldn’t wander out and just keep going. The farmyard became my extended playground and “Oh, how the fun commenced!”  
So Long, 
The Cowboy  

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