|My grandmother lived with us after grandpa died of stroke, before my first birthday. She was always there for us kids and loved to tell us stories of the farm. Arthritis bothered her legs a lot and she spent most of her days doing fine crochet work in her livingroom chair. I could cheer her up by sitting on the couch and 'put a quarter in the slot' by saying 'Grandma, tell me about the farm again.' I'd sit back for as much as three hours and hear story after story of grandpa and life on that North Dakota farm.|
Winters were harsh and some of the best stories came from the worst winters. The kitchen had a linoleum floor but they didn't glue it down back then. Every morning, the linoleum would be curled up at the edges from the cold and it would lay back down once the kitchen stove got hot. You had to be careful to step over it as you entered the kitchen or you would brake it where it curled up. My Dad tells of his first visit to the farm after marrying my Mom. There was no insulation in that old farmhouse and the upstairs was so cold that you'd have to brake the ice in the water pitcher to wash your face in the morning. He rolled over and thought Mom was hogging the covers. When he woke up more, he realized that Mom had gotten up already and the covers were frozen to the wall!
Grandpa, Elmer, had to shovel a path through the snow from the house to the barn with a 'tee' to the pump house. They would hope for enough snowfall to make a trench deep enough to 'snow over' and form a tunnel before the blizzards hit. Once, Grandma said they were snowed into the house for three months.
Grandpa would sometimes have to go to the barn during a blizzard and that was dangerous. He would tie a rope to the back porch and head for the barn. If he didn't find the barn by the end of the rope, he at least could find his way back to the house for another try. Once he made it to the barn he could tie off that end and use the rope as his guide on future trips.
Grandma always saw good in things and had a saying, 'There's nothing so bad that good can't come of it.' They lived in harsh times and took a lot of tough situations by faith and hard work. Their gratefulness to God's goodness and positive attitude during the darkest of times will ever inspire me.
Grandma died when I was in 8th grade. She left a huge hole in my life when she was gone but filled it with the stories of her life. She still lives in my heart.
Tyler(WA), from WA, entered 2000-01-05