My parents spent their life and their health working their farm in
. The days were long and they never were rich in any material sense of the word. Although for our family there were blessings beyond measure. Idaho
After we children were raised and some of the loans were paid off Mom and Dad were able to take a few trips around the country. They often traveled with other farm people to other farm places. On one of these trips they brought back a little whirligig.
Whirligigs are toys with moving parts that are set in motion by a propeller. They come in many varieties and were originally created by rural artists out of wood and painted bright colors.
This particular one was in the shape of a farmer with a black and white cow. When the wind spun the blades, the farmer’s hands would go up and down as if he were milking the cow. The harder the wind blew the faster he would work.
Dad mounted the whirligig on their gate post. There the farmer milked his cow any time the wind blew. When my folks sold the farm and moved to town the dairy man and cow came along. Dad set it up on a fence post at their new home just a block away from our house.
The winds here can be fierce and it wasn’t long before a blade snapped off the propeller and the whirligig ended up on Dad’s work bench.
Then Dad passed away and, two years ago, Mom went as well. When I was emptying their house I found the whirligig buried under a pile of tools and rags in their basement. The paint was almost faded away, but it looked like it could be fixed.
I asked DH to make a new blade for the propeller and I found pictures online from places that made the little pieces of folk art so I could restore the paint to its original colors.
Most of the web sites also had a note that said, “All whirligig designs are out of stock and no longer available.”
The little dairy man and his cow are now repaired. But they are also both retired. They have a place on the top of my bookshelf where the only winds they have to deal with come from a nearby window.