I wanted to go to my Aunt Flavie’s dairy farm to work with my cousins. My cousins were there to meet us when we arrived. As my mother drove off I instantly became homesick.

My cousin told me that we had to go to bed early because we had to milk twice daily; we were in the barn before the crack of dawn. I was shown how to ready the cows for milking, and against my wishes I was also sent to help with the farm chores. I was exhausted after a long day on the farm. At the supper table my uncle was discussing the next day’s activities. He said we were to go to his father’s farm to help him with the haying.

That next morning when we arrived at the farm, I saw an older man wearing overalls, boots and a barn jacket. He had a weathered face and a beard. I was chosen to stay with the old farmer. We drove to a gate with electric fencing. I looked at the gate and noticed bare wiring hooked to another strand of bare wiring. The old man yelled from his tractor for me to unhook the fence and be fast because the electric fence was live. Trusting him, I grabbed the wire and was instantly lifted then dropped to the ground.

As I sat there looking up, he informed me that I was not fast enough. He said to stand on the front tractor tire while making a second attempt. Naive as I was, I followed his advice and climbed on the tire, grabbing the wire as I did. Wham! I was shocked again! Again he offered his advice, telling me to put a stick on the fence while standing on the tire and to be very fast.

Third attempt, third shocker. I lay on the ground, hair standing on end. I think I smelled smoke on my clothing by now. The farmer decided to just drive the tractor through the gate without removing the wire.

As we drove back to my uncle’s place, I relived my experience with the gate and the old farmer. He told me the old man did that to everyone. The next day we went to finish with the haying. The old man and I looked into each other’s eyes, neither of us speaking. Our job that day was to hay the field next to the farm. Arriving at the gate, the old farmer said to go back to the small building at the end of the field. I was to go inside and shut off the power to the electric fence so he could unhook the wire. He informed me to wave to him letting him know when the power was off.

Remembering the day before, I went to the shed, came back outside and proceeded to wave as directed. I waited there while he grabbed the wire at the gate. I heard a horrendous yell as I watched him grab the wire. I went back into the building and this time shut the power off as requested. Going back outside I waved again, this time the farmer was able to open the gate.

I sauntered through the field back to where the farmer sat upon his tractor. Our eyes locked on each other but not a word was spoken. But in my mind I knew he was thinking, “You got me!”

The moral to this story is, no line is safe to touch – ever!

 

 

 

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