Waking Up

Cat heaven is probably a barn fully equipped with milking cows and slow, fat, mice.

Sister Sue's mama cat kept the Snyder Farm barn furnished with an endless supply of kittens which grew into slick, fat, milk fed always clean cats. There once was a cat with a hopeful look sitting behind a cow -- a cat with a surprised, happy look when brother Jim squirted milk into its mouth. Of course the milk squirted all over the rest of the cat too which was alright as far as it and its feline friends were concerned -- they licked each other clean.

And there were trips to Bonfield for church and groceries and even to Kankakee. We all rode in a wagon as Minnie daddy dooted along. The transmission was out of the Oldsmobile making it immobile as no parts were available during the war.

Minnie was Dad's favorite tractor.

Minnie said "daddy doot, daddy doot, daddy doot" all day long -- old Minneapolis Moline tractors were like that. I got to sit on the seat and ride along as Dad steered while standing on a special platform he had built just for that. Once Minnie got wild and jumped up and down as Dad tried to extract a stubborn fence post. I remember Dad setting me off to the side where I could watch in safety.

Genuine plastic aviator goggles came in boxes of Cheerios. Carolyn and I put them on and walked just as close as possible behind Minnie and the grain drill until our faces were black everywhere except where goggles had been -- we looked like backward raccoons..

The Bradley home from 1939 to 1963 ___John Bradley in 1946

Christmas 1952: Don & Sue, Ruth, Carolyn, Lester & Alice, John.
Jim was in the Air Force____

At Stehr's Bonfield Grocery rationed goods were under lock and key in the little storeroom out back. Sometimes I could get a little taste of sugar by rubbing a licked finger on the floor where some spilled. The wonder of watching Al Stehr pick groceries off the top shelf with his long-handled package picker.

The Stehrs were little men only a bit taller than Carolyn and me.