In 1907 we spent the Fourth of July at home.

The year Doris was born [1907] we spent the Fourth of July at home, as Mother felt the long drive to Winsted in the heat would be too much for a three month old baby.  We had been shooting off our firecrackers and caps that morning when mother called me to help her.  Charles left too, and went to the ice house to watch father pound the cake of ice fine enough to pack the ice cream freezers.  Ella stayed by the well near the driveway counting her firecrackers.  From the workroom window Mother and I saw Uncle Victor drive into the yard and up to the hitching post.  He had trained his horse, “Punch”, to stand without being hitched.  He walked on to the ice house to talk to father.  I forgot about them all, as I was helping Mother mix the bananas and milk with the cooked sauce for banana ice cream.  All at once we heard a banging and a poping and saw a can cover rise into the air near the well.  Then Punch went flying past the window, through the yard, across the barnyard, and up a steep hill, coming to a stop by a barb wire fence.  We were frightened, and Ella was in tears; our horse wasn’t afraid of fire crackers, and she didn’t know Punch was.  Uncle Victor rushed up the hill and finally quieted Punch.  He had to back him, still harnessed to the wagon, down the hill and turn him around in the barnyard.  Poor Punch was trembling, and when Uncle Victor tried to drive him toward the yard, he reared up and fussed around.  Finally he started, almost running, for the driveway.  As they passed the well where the fire crackers had been shot off, Punch pranced about a bit and snorted, then stopped.  We heard Uncle Victor say as he pulled grimly on the reins, “You smell powder, don’t you?”  All at once Punch lunged forward and up the road he raced, Uncle Victor’s straw hat sailing off as they went.   Quite a bit of excitement, and we were glad no damage had been done.  And the banana ice cream – yummy, was it good!

Thanksgiving at the Fred Seymours
When Uncle Fred and Aunt Annie were living in Robertsville, they invited the entire Seymour family to dinner on Thanksgiving Day.  Of course each family contributed some of the food.  The day came very cold and clear and no snow, but the ground was frozen, making the dirt roads very bumpy to ride over.  We had had rain a few days before, so the road had frozen in ridges.  As each family arrived, the horses were unhitched and taken into the warm barn out of the frosty cold.  While the women and children hurried into the house to be greeted by relatives, the women gathered in the kitchen, catching up on all the family news, the men in the living room smoking and enjoying themselves and the children playing games in the dining room.
Soon the smell of good things cooking came from the kitchen.  The smaller children were dressed in their warm coats and went for a short walk with two of the older girls.  Others set the tables; one in the dining room, one in the kitchen for the children.  Then the tables were loaded with the mouth-watering food.  How hungry we all were; and didn’t that chicken pie taste good!  After we finished our mince and pumpkin pie, each grownup told why he was thankful, and the older children recited their school poems for Thanksgiving Day.
My cousin had an organ and after dishes were washed, we all joined in singing our favorite songs.  All except my two cousins Allen and Fred Jr.; they had gone to the Deming home not far away.
Four o’clock soon came, the time to leave for home where farm chores waited.  I noticed Father said something to Mother in a low voice as he went out to harness up.  Mother hustled us into our warm clothing and we were ready as soon as Grandmother Seymour was.  Good-bys were said and we went out into the cold.  We noticed that Grandfather looked angry and heard Grandmother say, as they climbed into their one-seated wagon, "You’d think those boys would have more respect for their grandparents".  Allen, Fred Jr., with Grove, Earl and Ralph Deming couldn’t keep from laughing.  As Grandfather drove out of the gate, he shouted, "You boys get up to the farm tomorrow and fix my wagon.  You’d do it now if it wasn’t so cold."
We were puzzled, but the wagon did look funny.  We got settled in our surrey and Father explained.  Those young rascals changed the back wheels of the wagon to the front.  That makes the front higher, and the passengers feel they are sliding backwards.  I arrived just in time to stop them from changing the wheels on our surrey.  That was why he spoke to Mother to hurry, as he had a feeling the boys were up to some mischief. 
Our ride home was one to remember; it was almost dark at four o’clock that November day and the full moon was just rising.  It flooded the valley with light as we drove down Woodruff Hill and made the water in the river beautiful as it reflected the moonlight.  The next day the boys arrived at Grandfather’s farm and changed the wheels, but it was sometime before Grandfather forgot his ride on Thanksgiving Day.

More about Grandfather Seymour
Grandfather loved to dance, play jokes and tell funny experiences about others, but was not too keen at having a joke played on him.  By the way, he had red hair too, like Father, and an explosive disposition to match.  On April Fool’s Day, we put sawdust in a regular coffee bag and placed it in the road north of his home.  Mr. Hitchcock, the tea and coffee agent, had just driven over this road.  We hid in the bushes nearby to wait until Grandfather drove by for his mail.  Sure enough, to our delight, he stopped, got out and picked up the bag.  He was just ready to drive on when we rushed out shouting "April Fool, April Fool!"  Grandfather grunted, threw the bag down and drove on his way.  That evening he told Father we should be punished for making him get out of his wagon; he thought we should have more respect for his age.  Father didn’t say anything, but we weren’t punished for the harmless joke.

^ Top