By: Jim Fitzpatrick

Local Farmer in Polkton Township writes for the Coopersville Observer.

Along Brandy Creek

By Jim Fitzpatrick


The Coopersville Observer  February 7, 2005- - No. 45

Most every farm kid grows up owning a prized pocket knife or two at one time or another. It is a tool that is handy for a lot of the things that have to be done when you are growing up. One thing for sure - is to get your name and date carved into a nice large, smooth barked, beech tree; in someone’s woods. More than likely, several times; scattered over the years and the countryside. The marks are good for years to come, if the letters are spread out just right and you cut nice and deep into the bark. There is one such tree on the neighbors place. Goes way back to the 20's and 30's, it does! Some of the lettering is of recent times; so many names and dates that it is hard to separate them all. In a gully, just to the east of here, some young fellow trapped a couple of foxes one winter. In just a few words he left the whole story knifed into a tree right there near the spot.


There are adults too, that can't resist pretending that they are kids again and have to leave their initials one last time. Old Herb, from down on the corner, was into his 70's. That's when he cut his and his wife Mary's initials, printed nice and clear, within the outline of a perfectly shaped heart. Right there for everyone to see, smack dab in the middle of his woods. His art work and the tree are still there, Herb is gone now.


Barns beams too! They are fine surfaces to leave a name whittled into a remnant of the past, the pocket knife work soon becoming history itself. Over on another place there use to be several dated names and initials cut into the pine planking that lined the walls of an old barn. Some were family names. Others, also conspicuously Irish, were likely those of hired hands that worked and stayed on the place. That barn and the names have disappeared. Only one signature is left in a remnant of the cement floor put down in 1902. The great grandfather did that one and he was not a kid then either.

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