Rabbit Trails in the Woods


Isn’t amazing where one little question can take you?
Last week, my son-in-law asked me about the mass graveyard of old vehicles that sit among the trees and bushes in the acres behind my parent’s house, how long they’d been there and how there’d come to be so many deposited there.
As I explained that they had accumulated over the years and actually had been thinned out at one time by the purchases of a salvage company, the conversation led to further reminiscing and questions about what it was like to grow up in the isolation of County Road 55 in Cass County, Minnesota.
As he and my daughter listened and quizzed me, even she learned things that she had not realized before, like the fact that both of my parents had grown up living on that same dirt road they live on today; that her grandfather, although a logger, had not lost his leg in a logging accident, but as a result of a gunshot in a hunting accident when he was a boy and had not allowed one wooden leg to slow him down; she listened with as much intrigue as her husband.
I told about the exhilaration we felt when we would see a jet stream in the sky or hear the sound of a vehicle creating a trail of dust as it rumbled past our house during the warm summer days. We would wave enthusiastically to the planes in the sky and run towards the road to get a glimpse of who was passing. The thought that some other human beings from the wide-wide-world might notice our existence raised a strange excitement; it did, within me, at least.
We talked about living off wild game and fish, and vegetables from the garden; dead animals lying in our living room (muskrats usually); butchering and processing venison and moose and how a family of eight all found sleeping places in our little house (which seemed so much bigger back then).
It has just been in recent years that I have been hearing more of my own parent’s stories of growing up and I always want to hear more. I guess, sometimes you don’t realize the things that you’ve never said or shared with your kids, just assuming they know.
I enjoyed the trip down those little rabbit trails in the woods. And if you’ve ever wondered where the ‘middle of nowhere’ is, it is about mid-way down a narrow gravel road in the swampy, woods of Cass County, Minnesota. I know. I grew up there.

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