It is strange how life in “an older” person changes as life continues. It does seem that doing the “usual” things takes a little more effort and energy. It is also true that the “usual” things require a little more work. It has truly been an interesting winter as I have gone through years of columns that even I had forgotten about. In April 16, the column I wrote of “Things that used to be!” resulted in a special e-mail from Deb, the last remaining daughter of my cousin Della.
After my sister was killed in 1936, Della and I, only nine days apart in age, were together a lot. Even when we moved to the farm, then to California and back to the farm, we did stay in touch. There were no fast emails, of course, or long, expensive telephone calls, but sometimes we would write each other a letter or send a penny postcard. She would stay at our house for a week in the summer and we would make up stories about life and sometimes even scared ourselves. We knew, however, that God would always watch out for us…even when I told Della that the people picking mulberries by the road were probably escaped convicts from the reformatory in Hutch. Why I did that, I have no idea, except I liked to see my cousin’s reaction, and the farm was the perfect place to do it.
We both went to Buhler High the first few years and then she finished at Hutch High. After we both got married, we lost track, somewhat, and didn’t stay in touch. She and her husband Dean had five children whom we got to meet at her funeral in the year 2000. Now, according to the email from Deb, she is the last one remaining from the family of seven and she is having health problems. I was thrilled to hear how she has trusted in God and looks to him for help and I marvel at her testimony. I hope that God will answer our prayers and give her a long life.
I am very thankful both Della and I grew up in the mid thirties and forties. We knew what it was to pray for our needs. Many of us had a lemonade stand when we lived in Hutch. We enjoyed making up skits like “ the old, deaf woman and the Hobo,” a familiar thing in those days. Della and I spent the whole summer afternoon doing that many times in the old family farmhouse where I lived with absolutely no air conditioning. It was not an unusual sight to see a hobo walk up the hill of our driveway to ask for a little work for a meal. My mom, a wonderful cook, usually obliged. There was very little crime in those days.
World-wide, things have a dismal look, but we do know that if we have accepted Christ into our life and let Him guide us, we can “weather” it through. We won’t always be with the “popular” crowd but that isn’t important. Actually, the short time we live on this earth is really only a time to get to know and depend on the God of our creation.
When our country was founded there was a real respect for God and country. They knew the effort it had taken to make our country free where people would have the freedom to work hard towards their goals and be able to achieve them. As a little girl, I realized if I wanted something material, I found a way to work or earn it. When I reached that goal, it was greatly appreciated because I had earned it. I didn’t even want things that weren’t necessary because I knew the work it entailed.
I remember when I wanted a bike. They were scarce at the time because of the war, and I knew if I just had a used one with aired up tires, it would help me get around faster. I asked my Dad for suggestions. He said he would give me a little pig to raise and then he would sell it for me.
Those of you who grew up on a farm know what a job that is! When he got out, I had to chase him back in and they do run every which way. I gave him extra table scraps to fatten him up.
Finally the day came that Dad took him to be sold. When he came home that evening he gave me a twenty-dollar bill and I was beyond ecstatic. Dad went to the farm sale of Abe Ratzlaff and bought his son Arnold’s old bike for around fifteen dollars. With the rest of the money I bought some maroon paint and a seat cover, a new bike tire and I was all set.
Della kept asking me if I had learned to ride it and I kept at it. I would coast down the hill of our driveway, trying to miss the ruts and skinning my knees…again.
One day I made up my mind and went to the top of the hill of Sunrise Road. I got on board and started down the hill, faster and faster, and staying on the bike. When I came to a stop right before I hit the highway, I knew I had it made… I was now a full-fledged “farm girl biker,” and I loved it!
Ahh, sweet memories on the sweat of my brow!
Doris welcomes your comments and can be reached at dorisschroeder @att.net