Thursday, August 12, 2010

CANNED

A ten gallon steel milk can is about two feet tall.  The neck is about seven inches across.

Long ago on our dairy farm we always had several empties waiting to be filled with fresh milk.  The filled cans were picked up daily by our milk hauler and more empties left.  The lids were not tightened down until the cans were filled.  It wasn't difficult for a little girl to remove a lid so a can could be used as a place to stash a captured red hen.

The hen went in with some difficulty.  Then while the lid was being recovered the hen escaped.  So…the child wonders, would I fit in that can?

The answer is:  a four year old girl will fit nicely in a ten gallon milk can with nothing but a little blonde head sticking out. Then, when she tries to escape, she can’t because she pushes down with her feet and jams her shoulders against the opening.   This results in anger and screaming and kicking and the can falls over.  The can then rolls across the farm yard.  The screaming mouth gathers dirt and debris.  All the ruckus brings big brother.  He tries in vain to free his sister from the milk can.  He finally goes for help.  Mom comes.  She convinces the little girl to squat down in the can and brings out one arm at a time.  But the mom can’t keep from smiling.  And maybe there is laughing from both the mom and the brother during the extraction process.  Freedom is finally gained although all dignity is totally lost.  And a memory is forever imprinted in the little girl’s instant recall.

A photo of my younger brother and sister playing by the evil milk cans a few years after my bad experience.

14 comments:

TALON said...

We lived across the street from a dairy farm growing up, but I have to admit I was never tempted to explore the inside of a milk can. But you described the experience so brilliantly (and have now have imprinted a blonde head peeking out of the top) that I almost feel like I did go inside a milk can myself! I can imagine your Mom's not-too-suppressed laughter!

That photo is beautiful.

Kilauea Poetry said...

This made my evening! Oh my goodness Leenie, I thought you were going to go on and explain the charming milk can with a little background from the farm!! Ha ha, then I was given another picture.. I mean the can is quite nice, but that next photo is just classic..(lol), I can just imagine this angry little girl now- rolling around collecting dirt!! A perfect share!

Jill said...

Oh Leenie, your story evoked all your childhood emotions, isn't it amazing how strong they still can be?
I certainly remember these 'churns' as we called them, on a wooden bench at the side of the road near by my grandparents' place. I am sure you weren't the first to get stuck in one!

jeanie said...

Oh goodness - priceless, although I can imagine the chagrin.

My sister and I discovered TWO little girls can fit into a trunk - and if the lid closes, it won't open from within.

Word verification is worsel - it is worsel for a milk-canned girl to get out than in...

Elizabeth said...

Being trapped is amazingly scary!
You capture the experience so well.
Maybe there is a story book in your future?

DayPhoto said...

The evil milk cans!!! Priceless!

Terry's Dad put his Grower (Dairy) number on the can with red fingernail polish. What did your parents use?

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Joseph said...

Heh. Awesome. I don't think I've seen that picture of my dad before. I remember my brother and I exploring the abandoned vehicle field and thinking that the enormous, metal-rimmed wagon wheel would be great to roll around. Of course, once we finally pulled the surprisingly heavy wheel up, it tipped over onto me, pinning me into the sage brush for a short while.

The Weaver of Grass said...

What a lovely story. Here in the UK we call those milk cans churns. When I was a small child in a Lincolnshire village our milk came round in a church in a pony and trap and the milkman rolled the church down the path to the door and then filled my mother's jug from it. Once he slipped on the ice and all the milk ran down our yard.

frayedattheedge said...

What a wonderful story - but what a scary experience!!

CeeCee said...

Fabulous story! I couldn't figure out how you'd get out. Your momma must have gotten someone out before you tried the very same thing.

Linda Sue said...

What a great memory- I mean great because you can remember being four and being that little- would you have remembered so clearly if you had not got stuck? don't think so "the day I did not get stuck in a milk can" just wouldn't be memorable...Love the photo of your little sis and brother- so adorable. We had a milk can in our "fort" Patrick pooped in it- he pooped everywhere, I guess the freedom of having a fort was just that- you could poop anywhere...and play with matches.

Deborah said...

Thanks for sharing your memory, and in your typical spunky way. I love the picture of my mom. There's a lot of nelina in that face.

Mama Zen said...

I guess it's my claustrophobia, but that sounds so traumatic that I can't even laugh!

Pam said...

Wonderful photo of your younger brother and sister. Enjoyed this post very much Leenie - what an adventure! Your Mum must have been very busy keeping up with you children and the farm as well! Can imagine her mirth on seeing you.