Jimmy Crow and Life on the Farm

Jimmy Crow …

Jimmy Crow
Black Crow

When I was about three we lived on a farm just outside Cle Ellum, Washington in the Pacific
Northwest. The town lay to the east of the Cascade Mountains. I never knew the name of the town till I
was much older, for everyone said we lived “East of the mountains”. That’s the way it was back then –
you lived either west of the mountains or east.

I remember the day Dad packed up the car and took Mom and us kids to Grandma and Grandpa’s
home on the west. It was a long drive and I slept most the way. Not long after we were settled Dad and
Grandma helped Mom deliver my little brother. That made five of us kids. Then Dad took the two
older boys and left to get back to the farm. I did not realize the reason for all this till years later. I do
remember Grandpa took over care of my sister and I while Grandma took care of Mom and the new
baby. Daddy was my whole world and I was sad when he left. I blamed it on the baby, because Dad
was so proud of the little red-headed stranger. I felt pushed aside as the baby of the family.

A few weeks later Dad and the boys returned and took us all home to the farm. That is when we met
Jimmy Crow. You see, Dad must have been awfully lonesome when we were gone. He made a pet of
one of the young crows that hung around the place. Dad loved that crow so much that for the second
time I felt displaced. Jimmy Crow was a large bird with feathers so black and shiny they glistened in
the sunlight. He was attached to Dad and the two of them were rarely separated. When Dad was
working anywhere on the farm Jimmy was close by or sitting on Dad’s shoulder.

At supper time Jimmy Crow was allowed to enter the kitchen and sit at table with us. After Dad said prayers and the plates were served up and passed around, Jimmy hopped from one head to the next for a bite of food. I was quite small and the weight of Jimmy on my head felt odd, like a heavy hat. He would stare at my plate waiting for a tidbit. I would pick up a bean or corn kernel and pass it up to Jimmy, hoping he would not stab my fingers with his pointy beak. When Dad smiled approval  at me I knew I was still his little girl and all was right again. If Jimmy got what he wanted he would hop over to the next head till he had made his round at the table. By the time supper was over Jimmy had eaten quite a lot. That is when he liked to sit on Mom’s shoulder and snatch one of her earrings then hide it somewhere in the kitchen.

Jimmy was born in the corn field, which was huge, at least three acres or more, on the other side of
a creek out behind the house. Jimmy was quite intelligent. He knew when it was time to head to the
corn field every day when the plowing or other work in the outer fields was done. He would leave
Dad’s shoulder and fly off then wait for Dad to come and pick corn for supper. The finest of cobs were
picked with the approval of Jimmy Crow as he checked each one. When they had enough corn for all of
us they would head to the back of the house and shuck the cobs then take them into Mom in the
kitchen just in time for her to plunge that ripe corn into the pot of boiling water.

Now, there is a proper way to boil corn on the cob. Some people put them in a pot of cold water, salt
them and let the water come to a boil. They boil them for 20 minutes or so. That is not the way to do
it. If you want the fresh taste of corn with kernels that hold their sweetness, do not boil the heck out of
them. You will only get softened, withered kernels that are dried out and tough to chew. Kernels that
pop when you bite and release that wonderful taste is very easy to achieve. Put cold water in the pot
and let it come to a boil. Add about a tablespoon of sugar, which brings out the sweet freshness of the
corn, drop in the cobs, put a tight fitting lid on the pot and boil for only about five minutes. There
ain’t no better way to do it. How do you butter corn on the cob? The easiest way is to grab a slice of
bread, slather butter on it and wrap it around the cob, twisting it back and forth till all the corn is
buttered. This is the proper way to cook and butter corn and it was the way Jimmy Crow liked it.
~ ~ ~

© 2016 Phyllis Doyle Burns

Phyllis Doyle Burns
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Phyllis Doyle Burns

I am an author on TCE and write mainly in poetry and short stories. I have always liked to write. It is important to me that writing comes from my heart and soul. When writing poetry, if I do not feel a spiritual connection to what I am writing on, I will discard it and go on to something I can connect with on a spiritual level. I live in the moment, I write from the past or beyond the veil. When writing fiction I go with whatever inspires me at the moment - it could be funny, sorrowful, romantic or sometimes done with the use of colloquial language from mountain folk or other cultural regions. I began writing content online in 2007, starting with BellaOnline - A Voice For Women, where I was the Native American Editor, Folklore & Mythology Editor, and the Appalachian Editor. I also wrote articles for The Examiner, Daily Two Cents, and Yahoo. I am currently an author on HubPages. Most of what I write takes a lot of research and I love it. Even if it is a fictional story, I will research for accuracy in whatever it takes to make my characters, their era, their location, etc. become realistic to the reader. I hope you enjoy my works. Thank you for visiting.

11 thoughts on “Jimmy Crow and Life on the Farm

  • August 30, 2016 at 3:21 PM

    This is funny Phyllis , But if I know anything about Dads and daughters , he loved YOU just as much as baby brother or a darned crow too ! Great story !

  • August 31, 2016 at 2:39 AM

    Simply wonderful memories Phyllis. It sure made me smile all the way through. We have two crows who have adopted us and come flying into our garden every day looking for tidbits I put out. However I guess because of our cat they have not ever tried to venture inside. You and your dad had just as wonderful a relationship as I did with my dad.

    • August 31, 2016 at 5:40 AM

      Thank you, Rasma. So glad you enjoyed my memories. It is so wonderful to know you also had a great relationship with your dad. Dads are such special people. He left a powerful legacy for me to follow and I am so grateful he was my father. If he had been a writer his stories would be well remembered and loved. He was very spiritual and the best storyteller I have ever known. Thanks again, Rasma. Take care.

  • August 31, 2016 at 6:28 PM

    A great memory and story Phyllis, and it strikes me how wonderful a childhood in the country is, connected to all the things that we should be: the land, the wildlife and mostly a loving family. All this is what’s important in life and a wonderful childhood filled with beautiful memories. Loved it!

    • August 31, 2016 at 7:17 PM

      Thank you, Tony. I have a few more good stories on that farm and may write them up soon. Glad your enjoyed it and saw the beauty of nature and family. Take care.

  • March 16, 2018 at 1:50 AM

    I know this is an older post but I never read it when published, Phyllis. I absolutely loved this memoir. Jimmy Crow was quite a character and yes, crows are very intelligent birds.
    Just as something of interest. When we lived in a city called Rockhampton, a few minutes drive out of town was a mountain we liked to climb called Mount Jim Crow.

    • March 16, 2018 at 3:07 AM

      Thank you, John. I am happy you enjoyed this. Yes, Jimmy was quite a character and very memorable – he is among the earliest memories of my childhood. How fun this brought back memories for you of Mount Jim Crow.

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