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Johnny Bobier’s Oxen - Rock & Rye

PEN AND INK

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Life in Dunwich Township began for Dave and I in the summer of 1971. We longed for country life. I found an ad in the local paper -"farmhouse for rent" - $50 a month. Even in 1971 that was a steal. We were soon ensconced in Clarence Small's old house. Our first neighbor to pay a call was Barb Robb with the Regal card catalog. Dave met another neighbor, Johnny Bobier, at the end of the lane by the mailbox. Johnny invited us to attend the upcoming dance at Wallacetown fair . . . . it could be a great way to meet our neighbors. Johnny, a bachelor, had a team of Hereford oxen named Rock 'N Rye that he took to the parades, fairs, steam shows and plowing matches. They were also subjects of many painting and sketches that I completed over the following years. I donated one painting of Johnny and his oxen, to the new Wallacetown Optimists. The painting was raffled and the Optimist cleared $800 . . . a large sum for the times. Years later I told Johnny I should be paying him modeling fees. We laughed and he said that he was amazed that people were ready to throw good money away on a likeness of him. He was glad that I could sell them as by then we had four children to support. Johnny was always one of my biggest fans and . . . I was one of his. Even today, when I mention his name the older women get at twinkle in their eye and a smile on their lips as they remember  . . . Johnny Bobier. Aren’t good memories wonderful? – Jenny