SOLSC: The Electric Fence

My husband is the youngest of five. At the dinner table, Rick will often share stories of his younger days, some as a lesson to correlate with our children and some just for a great laugh. No matter what kind, his stories create connections that brings our family closer together. He shared one recently that brought quite a ruckus of reaction. I wonder how you will react.

Rick lived on a farm with his four siblings. His parents had huge, loving hearts with plenty of room, so they invited in foster kids. With five more added, ten kids had plenty to do on the farm and plenty of adventures too.

Rick and his older brother, Bart, were out in the pasture one day. A new foster kid, Joe, had come from the city and had curiosity larger than most. “Joe usually acted before listening,” my husband remarked. Shaking his head, Rick added, “Which caused Joe some well-felt-knock-in-the-head kind of common sense.”

My kids leaned in a little closer. They knew this story was going to be a good one.

“On the farm, as long as you did your chores on time, you had time to explore and do things you didn’t have to ask permission about. You just had fun. There were boundaries, though, that we just knew. Like, you didn’t go near the bull. You were just asking for trouble. If something went wrong, you didn’t tell Mom; you just fixed it and learned to not do that again. (Tim looked at Wes; they smiled.) Days on the farm were great, especially in the summer.” Rick took a breath and continued.

“When boys feel nature calling during chores, on the farm, you just find a tree, make a deposit, and continue working. (Elizabeth wrinkled her nose.) At the electric fence, well you just knew to stay away from it. We had tried touching it with sticks, and once, yes, I actually touched it. ZZZZZ. Didn’t like that feeling, so I just stayed away. (My kids and I chuckled.)  These were things we knew and learned.

But not the new city kid, Joe. No, it didn’t matter what we would say; Joe didn’t listen. No, he had more curiosity than common sense. So one day while we were working in the pasture, they hadn’t given all the “safety” rules about the electric fence. Before we could say, ‘Don’t go near the electric fence’, City Boy decides to make his natue-calling-deposit  ON THE ELECTRIC FENCE. Before the yell of ‘Stop’, a large ZAP sizzled and ‘AWWWWW”rang out.” (Our boys were erupting in laughter and awwwws themselves. Elizabeth and I joined in the laughter too as Rick just shook his head, recalling the memory.)

Rick ended, “Some lessons City Boy Joe learned the hard and a bit painful way.”

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12 Responses to SOLSC: The Electric Fence

  1. elsie says:

    FUNNY! Some lessons are best learned the hard way. I love the way you told this, lots of opportunities for inferring in my mind as you unfolded the story. The details, oh my (My kids leaned in a little closer. and Rick took a breath and continued.), what a great example of how the little things help us to visualize. This is going on the pinboard for mentor texts, love it!

  2. Tam says:

    Good idea for a slice–memories of youth. You did tell your story well with subtle hints as to what may happen next. Also a good example of how to have family time around the table.

  3. Ruth says:

    I love how you are collecting slices from the past that are bubbling form your dinner table. Very cool, MHG! 🙂

  4. Jama says:

    Ha ha! Well told! I do love the way you describe your family time telling stories around the table. When I was a teen, suppertime was ur time to unwind, tell stories, and get a handle on life together. I think so many of our young people are missing out on that kind of family time these days.

  5. Donna Smith says:

    A nice picture of a family enjoying the passing down of oral history. Now to get him to write it, too!

  6. the other ruth says:

    I remember those fences from our farm when I was a girl! This was a great story, and I can hardly wait for another. 🙂

  7. Katie says:

    What’s neat about this slice is that it’s a story of a story. It sounds like your husband is a great storyteller, as are you. I’d love to hear more! The kid’s reactions really made this slice fun too.

  8. Tammy says:

    Living on a farm is a great place to grow and harvest stories. Tell Rick I have stories about the electric fence that he reminded me of. I’m giggling as sitting here!

  9. MaryHelen, great story to share. I actually laughed. I’ve never been around a fence like that, but the imagery was priceless. Thanks for the chuckle.

  10. What voice! I could hear the story unfolding and I especially appreciated the inclusion of your children’s reactions! The word choice really matches the farm boy voice. Love it!

  11. Linda Baie says:

    I can just see the kids leaning in closer, or crossing their arms to lean on while they listen! Great story and fun anticipation although I’ve been on lots of farms & kind of knew something like that was coming. You gave sly little hints! Great voice, Mary Helen.

  12. This is a great story, and your description is so vivid, I found myself leaning in, too! I love how you wove in your and your kids’ reactions using the parenthese…it made the story even more “now”!

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