Thursday, May 18, 2006

"Farmer Joe"

My Grandpa and Grandma are celebrating there 60th wedding anniversary today. What a milestone!

They are really on my heart today because as I write this Grandpa is in a nursing home with cancer. I was able to see him about 6 weeks ago. He still looked like Grandpa to me. I have heard that since then he has lost a lot of weight and is in a lot of pain. It is see this man has always worked hard everyday of his life. He took over his father's farm as a young man. Throughout the years different ailments threatened to take him....but God said no! So the years passed and it looks as though Grandpa's getting ready to go home to Jesus. But not before he has the chance to see his 60th wedding anniversary. He apparently has been talking about how long he has been married to the nursing home staff and so we have all been praying he makes it until then. Prayers were answered....and this weekend the family will gather for a little cake and ice cream to celebrate with them.

My memories are plenty of Grandpa and Grandma. Growing up I was able to see them a lot even though I lived a couple hours away. My family would go up to Brainerd it seemed at least once a month...and my sister, Heather, and I would stay up there for a week during school breaks and in the summer. It was great because all our cousins were up there and we got to spend a lot of time with them. We had so much fun. We would play on the swing set and play house...our play house was a corn crib. We would gather old household items from the "dump" (all farms have a dump , right?). We would use stray ears of corn, pig feed, water from the spigot by the pig pen and old pie tins. Did you know how many things you can make with water and pig feed....then you throw in some dirt and grass clippings and you have a delicacy..for a kid anyway. We used old chairs and those round wood things that look like jumbo spools for a table. We had all we fisher-price, playskool or cabbage patch kids. I even remember one time in the summer we were up there and our cousins Christine and Tracy were there too...Usually Christine and I hung out and Heather and Tracy hung out...this time was different. For some reason we were at odds with each other. I believe what happen next was that Heather and Christine went to pick some raspberries in the field and came back and sneaked them onto the stool in the playhouse and Tracy or I sat in them by mistake...with white shorts on! It could have been the other way around, I am not sure but I remember it the incident itself like it was yesterday.

When I would be up there during the week I would be around when Grandma baked bread. I love that large mixing bowl she used. She would have it all mixed, by hand of course, and put a flower sac towel over the top while it would rise. I loved the smell and taste of bread dough and when she was not looking I would sneak my fingers under that towel and snatch a piece of bread dough, YUM, YUM! The I would hear "Jenny" or "Jennifer". She always knew, how is that? I was sure I had waited until she was occupied or out of the room. It usually left a pinch mark too.... which was a sure giveaway!

Another memory that will forever still in my mind is when Grandpa was butchered a pig and brought it in the house to cut it up. So there lay half a pig on the kitchen table....yuck! I was curious but apprehensive at the same time trying to watch but then hiding my eyes. Grandpa thought it would be funny to toss the kidney (I think, maybe the liver) accross the room at me. So there I was running about the house trying to get away and I thought I had by hiding in the bathroom which was right off the kitchen. I had not realized that the gap between the bottom of the door and the kitchen floor was just enough for my Grandpa to slide the organ right under the door to my feet. I screamed! We were all laughing and I think I may have even peed in my pants..that has not changed....I laugh hard enough I still pee my pants.

I think I could write a book with the numerous memories up on the farm....the dogs, Shep and Sam, hanging clothes on the line with Grandma, the camper, Clearwater KOA, washing the milking equipment in the milk house, the WHOLE milk, Christmas time, Mocha Bars, that hamburger hotdish with cabbage, hot cereal and Grandpa's request for no lumps, Zest bath soap, comet cleanser in the tub before a bath at Grandma's, wood furnace smell, bringing lunch (really a snack) out to Grandpa in the field, Hogan's Heroes at 4:30 pm on the only channel they got in, many cousins, aunts and uncles, the auction, many family gatherings, sledding down the hill into the ditch, our 3 week trip out west in the conversion van, playing cards and the dice you can see I could go on and on.

As years have passed it has become more difficult for us to get up there for a visit. My message to you is life is too short...make the time. We seem to have this need to busy ourselves with things that in the end are not important. I am grateful for all the memories I have and the lessons learned from Grandpa and Grandma. They are priceless. Love you both!


  1. We are such a blessed family! I have to laugh because even though I wasn't born until later on, I still have many of the same memories... such as the Comet cleanser before a bath, Zest soap, KOA, hanging clothes with Grandma, and bread days - don't tell but I snuck dough too! :)

  2. Jenny what a great honor to Grandpa and Grandma that you wrote about them. We are a blessed family with so much to be thankful for. The biggest lesson I have learned since Grandpa's diagnosis of Cancer has been that it is so important to enjoy every moment we have with each other. We will share another very special day together on Sunday.

    But I think you forgot one memory that will last with me forever......How about the times when me and Uncle Joe would chase you and Heather down the stairs and into the kitchen yelling we are gonna put you in the oven and eat you??? Or rumpelstiltskin (sp) at bedtime.

    I love you, Auntie Cheryl