By Doris Schroeder
In my life, I have enjoyed two sisters. The first one, Luella Grace, was my older sister by about two and a half years. In my memory she was like a little Mother Hen, always looking out for me, telling me things I needed to know and I felt safe. After a neighbor boy accidentally shot her while she was playing with their kittens, I was told she had gone to heaven. I made that my quest to find out how I could go there, too.
I spent the next seven years, seeking the way to know how I could be certain of going to heaven until finally, after attending the country school of Sunrise and learning 500 Bible verses through the Rural Bible Crusade, I was ready. I knelt down and asked Jesus into my life. I knew it was real.
When I was seven, my parents had given me a new baby sister and named her Carol Jean. Our family still moved around a lot…one year on the family farm, two years in California and then back to the farm for three and a half years and then backs to Hutch.
Carol was a toddler on the farm and Mom and I watched over her as much as we could. Sometimes she would go exploring and even wander away from our farm on the hill. It was my job to find her. One day I couldn’t find her anywhere and so I even ran down to the river about a mile away but couldn’t locate her anywhere. Running back home, Mom told me the neighbor lady on the highway had called and told her Carol was walking down the middle of the highway to Buhler and wanted to visit her Little Grandma. Mrs. Ratzlaff had gotten out their Model A and drove her back to our farm on Sunrise Road. I was so relieved.
Carol loved animals a lot and became close friends with our old black rooster. They were always together.
Of course, on the farm, we had a lot of cats and they kept multiplying. One Autumn, they began to come down with pneumonia and one by one they died. My Dad, working two jobs at the time, told me to bury them in back of the middle chicken house.
To me, a proper burial needed to have a funeral. I would dig a hole, get my sister Carol and our two dogs Shep and Spot and my Bible. We stood around the burial site, sang a hymn and I would read verses from the Bible and then cover up their graves. Carol listened attentively and through it all, developed a real love for cats which has lasted all her life.
This was the one thing I did not share because of my older sister’s death while she was playing with cats. We did, however, have two dogs on the farm that I found were good listeners. Even though they weren’t good at chasing in the cattle, they were good spectators and I shared everything with them and they listened with their soulful eyes.
During our last summer on the farm, Dad had planted something else in what was our pasture, perhaps oats or something like that. Mom and Dad shocked the oats while I drove the old John Deere tractor. Carol would play with her black rooster a little ways off and entertain herself.
After that I was offered a job at the John Goertzen farm and I thought it was great. I was paid 75 cents a day for taking care of the little Goertzen boys and I thought it fun. After two or three weeks, my mother called on the wall phone and told me that Carol was in the Grace Hospital with pneumonia and they needed me to go there and stay with her.
I thought it was fun to sleep on a cot in Carol’s room. Since I had the money I had earned, I would walk downtown to Kress’s Store and buy Carol some color books and colors. At meal time I would stop at a hamburger place and eat my lunch. I would read some books to Carol and she took it all in and got well fast.
Now as I look back, I can see how God was working in our lives, even then. No. it probably wasn’t a perfect life, although in a way it was. God was teaching both Carol and me many of the lessons we needed to know in the time ahead and through it all we learned that what was important and that we could always depend on the one true God. We have both accepted Christ into our life and look forward to heaven someday.
Actually, I guess I can’t call her my “little” sister anymore, as she is five feet eight. Carol is now in Hospice Care at the Good Samaritan with a severe case of ovarian cancer. I try to visit her every day but she sleeps most of the time. There is so much to attend to, and our family has been so helpful. She is looking forward to her future in heaven. We hope you are, too.
Doris welcomes your comments and can be reached at [email protected]