Happy squeals, giggles, uninhibited howls of displeasure when the occasion calls for it, and the patter of little footsteps have filled our home this week. It is a pleasant addition to the household to have this tiny little girl, who won’t be three until June 6, making all that noise. With blonde hair, light blue eyes, and an almost perpetual little smile, our great niece Emerson has an interest in everything she sees and a near unlimited amount of energy. Fortunately, she has a doting grammy and an involved mother taking constant care of her as she comes to visit in strange homes and meet all her many relatives here in Southern Illinois.
Ernestine is Gerald and his brothers’ only sister. She and her daughter Leah, haven’t been here from Rock Springs, Wyoming, since Emmy was ten months old. Although there have many adorable phone photos sent since then, of course, nothing is a good as getting to experience this particular slice of Emmy’s childhood.
Raised in a stimulating home and with much time spent with her grandparents in their book-laden home, Emmy knew all about the farm life that her grandmother Ernestine lived as a little girl. So she came here with expectations of horses and cows and feeding chickens—just like she has seen in her books. Since we have none of those animals on our farm anymore, it is probably for the best that she first visited our brothers’ farms before Gerald went to Union County and brought Ernie, Leah, and Emmy up to finish their visit here with us at Woodsong.
At Garry and Ginger’s, there were multiple kittens, and she was taken by Uncle Garry through his fields on his four-wheeler and saw the wheat that bread is made from and fields of corn and soybeans growing in neat rows. It was there that she began to learn she has all kinds of cousins here in addition to the single cousin she has back in Wyoming.
Ernestine’s cousin Judy and husband Morris had a pen of ducks just waiting for a little girl to enjoy, and Keith and Barbara’s place is a veritable paradise for a little animal lover. Ducks and geese and chickens and rabbits abound there. I don’t think Barbara still has terrapins peeking out from under furniture in her living room, and I know the raccoon she once had was long ago released, but Keith’s dog Hash is ready to be petted and will always travel with Keith, who is more than ready to show off his cattle herd. Emmy liked the ones with horns best and has photos to take home to show her family back in Wyoming.
Best of all, perhaps, was Emmy’s trip to Keith and Barbara’s son Tim and wife Glenda’s farm just down the road. In addition to more dogs and puppies, there are horses and an arena there. Just as Emmy was not afraid of any dog including her cousin Sam’s huge golden doodle when she visited Katherine last night, she was right at home in her cousins’ arms on top of a horse.
At our house, she likes Jake, and we have shown her the fireflies, martins, and hummingbirds. Going out into the yard after dark with her grandmother, she wondered for the first time if she needed to be afraid. “What is that noise?” she asked. Ernestine had to assure her that the crickets and frogs down at the lake were not coming up to get her.
She seemingly adjusted to farm life very well because she announced to her mother that farm girls did not need to take a nightly bath. No one is quite sure where she got that information, but she sure looked sweet after that bath with a shiny face, snuggly clean pajamas, and her shiny shampooed hair.
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