Fall Faith article

I haven’t come to grips with the reason, but it seems that summer just evaporated into fall this year. I suspect the dried up rows upon rows of corn in the area are from the dry soil. Certainly it isn’t because of a series of hard frosts; knock on wood to prevent those from appearing. My garden finished producing tomatoes about two weeks ago and now the bean plants have been removed and piled up and are patiently waiting to be taken to the compost heap. All that is left besides the carrots and beets are the peppers that I keep nursing along. I won’t count the zucchini. I have boxes and pails of them inside my house. I figure the only way to get rid of them will be to break into houses or cars, yes cars, maybe on a Sunday morning when they are all parked outside of a church. Now I am rambling and even if breaking into a car to give someone something might be thought by the vandal to be good, it is still not a Christian thing to do. The fact is, summer is gone, fall is here and the pumpkins are ready for Fall yard decorations and pumpkin pie and pumpkin bars and all things gooey and good. Fall is a beautiful time of year for its colors and smells. I particularly think of days on the farm when I smelled cottonwood leaves crunch beneath my feet. The cool crisp days remind us that as the calendar marches on, we have many events to look forward to in the coming days. As the secular culture celebrates Halloween, the church looks to All Saints Day, then there is Thanksgiving and the Advent Season and Christmas and soon after Lent and Easter, and then we are preparing for spring. To paraphrase Ecclesiastes 3:1, in all things there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. There is no time like the present to commit ourselves to a relationship with Jesus our savior. It seems we have so many in our world who are hurting physically, mentally and spiritually. As Christians we are asked, we are commanded to do what we can to ease the sufferings. In Matthew 25, Jesus teaches that when we do for others whether it is feeding or clothing or caring for those around us, it is as if we are caring for him. There is no time like the Fall to join in Christ’s work. And for those searching for what is missing in your life, and no time like the present to join in a fellowship of like-minded believers.

Interview Part #7: Growing up

These were two of the very first interview questions and though I have lots to add to each of them, I am just going to put them out there as I gave them to Elisabeth. I may or may not elaborate on them in the future. If I could add a picture or two they would make lots more sense, but I don’t have uploading ability and at the time have no idea where the pictures are that I am thinking I should add. Maybe down the road. For now, just put some pictures in your head, sort of like I have to do with the voices every now and then. Are you scared yet. We are getting close to Halloween, HA!!

Tell me about the home you were raised in.

I spent the first years of my life on a farm five miles south of Artas, SD. My parents were what you call small grain farmers. My father grew everything from wheat and oats and a little barley to corn for silage and alfalfa for hay. One year he even grew a stand of flax. I remember how pretty that field was. It looked like you were looking at a large lake when it was in bloom. My uncle who was our hired man said if my dad would have combined that field it would have been worth so much money that year, but he wouldn’t do it because he was afraid to let it grow long enough to ripen that much. I think he just baled it up as hay. My parents also raised every kind of animal. We had two large silos on the farm and my father fed steers for slaughter for many years as his major animal crop. They even milked cows when I was very young. We also had cows, sheep, pigs and my mother raised chickens and even some ducks and geese. The money she made from the chickens bought us clothes for school. When I was in the sixth grade my dad bought a house in Herreid and we lived in town during the school year.


What kind of things did your parents do for work?

When I was younger my parents were farmers. My mother often had extra jobs. Before I was born she was a school teacher. Later she worked as a clerk for area livestock barns. She also worked in school as an aide and she worked for a program called Greater Missouri that did winterizing and such for people who couldn’t afford much. When most of us were grown and had moved away, she purchased the local café and operated that along with a catering business. My father was a farmer and did custom silage chopping. He also put up hay on shares for other farmers. We were always stacking and hauling bales home to the farm. He eventually quit farming, though he never sold the farm, and he had cattle for many years after he stopped planting. He purchased a hay mover and did that for many years. His last job was running his own fix it business. He was a fantastic welder and should have been an engineer with his mind. When he did the hay hauling, he actually built two of his own movers because he said the ones that were available for purchase were too flimsy.

Interview part 6: School days

Tell me about going to school in your day.

I went to a one-room country school for the first five years of my education. I actually went to kindergarten though we didn’t call it that. My mother was teaching in a school with very few students, and she took me along and invited another girl my age to come to school so we could play together. She taught us our alphabet and how to read, and we had fun with the other students. I was too much work for the live-in baby sitter, and that was what prompted my mother to take me to school. I started first grade knowing how to read, which was not the norm in those days. There were two of us in the class, and the teacher had to have two sections because the boy in my class didn’t even know the alphabet.

[I also remember in the fourth grade, I became a math tutor for a boy two years younger than me. School in those days was so easy for me (I inherited that from my mother. She graduated at the age of 16 because she took two years at a time in grade school.) , and I think the teacher had to keep me busy one way or another. I didn’t ever have homework when I was in country school. It was like the epitome of “open” education. It was that place where you put the marker in the book at the end of the year, and picked up from there when you started the following fall. Back in the good old days, they often had a summer session between the first hay cutting and the grain harvest. Now in our area we are fighting the concept of school year ’round.]

When I was in the middle of the fifth grade, my parents switched me to the school in Herreid. It was really hard to adjust to the pace of school and the way the teachers treated you. My teacher was my great-aunt, and she was one of the worst teachers I had. It was also different because in country school the grades were grouped for social studies. Fifth and Sixth would study the same social studies one year the fifth lessons and the next the sixth, if you stayed in that school you were fine, but those who transferred and were on the off year, as I was, might end up missing out. I had sixth grade social studies twice, but never fifth. It worked out fine in the end because I loved to read and mostly made it up on my own.

Do you think school is any different now than it was when you were a child? How so?

School is very different now not just because of the technology, but because there is much more to learn. Science has advanced more and there is more to history. But the main difference is in the attitudes of the students and of society [especially parents]. Teachers used to teach subjects without all the interference from the community members and the parents who believe they know more than those who are the teachers. Students also are way more belligerent than we were ever able to be. When a student was out of line they were expelled, and that was the end of it. Parents didn’t usually come to school and cause problems for the teachers. Most students knew that if they caused trouble in school, they would have more problems at home because parents didn’t want their children acting out.

[Of course on the other end of things, being a teenager in the 1970’s was quite different from what we have today. We were more like the dance shows on the movie, American Graffiti. We pulled things and mostly got by with it. There would be alcohol at the dances in the locker room or bathroom and no one ever checked. We were also allowed to come and go as we pleased then afterwards the adults would complain that no one stayed. Well there were no rules. Advisors and adults always “looked the other way” until something really bad or over the edge happened and then there were consequences.

I mostly remember the high school days as being so unsupervised in terms of parents. Our parents were so busy leading their own lives and doing their own things that they were more like the adults on the Peanuts cartoon movies. You knew they were there, but they didn’t bother you too much. We did lots of things ourselves, and I think we had to grow up more because of it. Some of the rules we have now about dating, like age differences were non existent than. It was not unusual for young teachers to date older students. It wasn’t real common, but did happen a few times. I also don’t remember the movies being so restricted in terms of ratings. Our movies showed more skin, but lots less violence. Perhaps that is the big difference. We were a far more innocent time in terms of killings. We were able to walk home in the dark or talk to others without fearing that we had met a serial killer. But enough of my gloom and doom sort of write up.]

Currently our town is preparing for an All School Reunion. We are gathering the addresses for everyone that went to school here. Our high school graduated its first class in 1918. I am typing in the information on the big spread sheet. So far I know that we have 1,973 names on the rolls. Of them 583 have passed away and about 12 are listed as unknown. I am going to work on that as soon as I have the last class entered. I am a few short: 1959, 1971, 1985, 1986, 1987-98. I am waiting on 5 people to give me their information. The largest class we had was in 1973 there are 42 members listed, and amazingly, they are all alive. 1959 was the second largest at 38, but several have passed on and 1981 (my brother’s class) is in third with 36, and they are all living. I will be putting more statistics together for the next meeting. I think it is quite interesting. Well, sorry to have bored you all for so long, but just wanted to put this out there. Take care, and for info on my garden and canning antics, you can check out my other blog at lucindagardens.

Interview #5

Here are a few more of those crazy interview questions. Not much in terms of comments on anything today because Paulina and I have so much going on with the garden and canning and cooking and maybe some baking, which will all show up on lucindagardens sometime in the next few days. Enjoy!!

What were your ambitions or dreams when you were young?

[This question sounds really weird in terms of the answer, but this is seriously what I thought I would do when I was really young.]

I always expected to live in a big city and work in a laboratory. I changed my mind after I took high school chemistry and our chemicals never worked. Every experiment we did looked like we poured water into water and nothing ever happened. I could never figure out how to write up the results for the lab report because nothing ever happened. Later I decided it was so much fun to be in track that I wanted to be a teacher and a coach.

How did you decide what you wanted your career to be? Did anyone influence you on this?

I have always enjoyed being a leader and an organizer, and because I enjoyed sports, I decided being a teacher and a coach would be a good thing to do. When I started college, it was the time of Title IX and that was a big influence. As young women, we were promised that as soon as we graduated there would be lots of jobs available to coach the girls’ teams. Little did we know that before we could finish college, all of the men who weren’t good enough to coach the boys would end up taking the jobs coaching the girls. Now I have left teaching and am a Pastor in a small church. I probably could have done that initially, but as I said before everything you do in life prepares you for the next thing you do. I look back and see that I have changed schools and positions and jobs many times, and each time has been like having another life, and I am happy that I have had the chance to live all these different lives.

As a teenager when did you get your first job and what was it?

In the 1970’s there were work programs for low income youth. I worked for the city two summers. It was good money and the boss was good to work for, but we had too many people working and not enough to do. It was not a good learning experience and we were often bored. Mostly we had to clean the city buildings and pick up the mess in the parks and around the city buildings. I think we could have been busier and accomplished more, but there wasn’t enough supervision to figure out what we should do. I also worked as a waitress for my grandmother in her café, and was the popcorn maker at the local theater. I made $1 per hour at the café and if we got a $.25 tip, it was a good day. The theater paid about $2.50 per weekend and we had to clean the place the day before the show as well as work the counter the entire night. I always ended up cleaning the bathrooms while the other girls swept under the seats.

[So in the original that I have from Elisabeth the word swept was sweat. My husband started laughing when I read the error out loud. He was wondering if it was from the book, Under the Bleachers by C. Moure Buttz. Ha Ha his idea of a joke. ]

Interview questions Part 4

Today I want to share the final two questions of the interview done by Elisabeth. I have several more to go, but these two jumped at me today and asked to be part of the blog. It is quite cold here, I am fighting with the idea of turning on the furnace to take the chill out of the house, and well, you will understand when you read them.

What are some of the most important lessons you learned over the course of your life?

This question is too serious. I want to answer something goofy like, how to take out the garbage or how to change a diaper or how to clean up cat puke. [Perhaps my real answer should be how to keep a blog organized and going. Somedays I look at my statistics and think, “When and why did I write all those posts, and who really took the time to read them?” I suspected the teacher put in this question to make them get the feel of what real journalists do. I remember being editor at the local newspaper and interviewing new people when they came to town, these thought provoking questions were the ones I always wanted to ask, but I stuck to the simple, where did you come from, why are you here sort of thing. Mostly I interviewed the new clergy or gave the new teachers or coaches a form to fill out for the back to school edition of the paper. I was always pushed to interview significant members of the community. I never did that job, I think the owner was more relieved than I was when I finally moved on from that job. Seriously, I know too much of the history of this town and the people. It seems that each time someone is featured for some accomplishment or simply for being a life-long citizen, there is someone who remembers something of the past that is a bit seedy, and well it sort of takes the sails out of the “nice” interview. I guess that is why I gave some goofy answers to Elisabeth, even if she didn’t put them all into her paper. I was trying to be more real. I have lots of reasons not to be the start attraction or the one held up as the roll model. Unless of course you are practicing to be that crabby old woman who comes out onto her back porch and yells at children and teenagers with their BB guns.]

Actually some of the hardest things to learn include when to speak up and when to keep silent. As you get older you begin to learn that being right is not always what is important. It is how you treat people. My mother told me a very wise thing when I became a teacher. She seriously believed that no childless person should ever be allowed to teach. It isn’t a practical thing, but she realized that I was being really harsh about a student, and she told me that until you have children of your own and you see them hurt, you have no idea what can be done to their feelings. As I get older and see some of the struggles that some children endure, I realize that in many ways, she was very wise.

What is the secret to a happy marriage?

There is no secret, you have good times and bad times. My mother told me that when a couple first gets married they are so in love that everything works out, later they become tied together by children and home and finances and then you are stuck. I always thought that was a horrible way to look at marriage. I was 25 when I met James, and he was 26. We were mature and had our educations, which made a big difference for us. Besides being attracted to each other, we had similar interests and soon became best friends. I also credit the four sessions that we had with the minister before we were married. He and his wife had us talk about things we might not have discussed before they became issues, like how much money is too much to spend without consulting the other and who decides which way the furniture sets, and just goofy little things.

[Having lived with him for 33 years, I think that I could handle the sessions with a couple. I seriously believe that the finances are a big part of the stresses of marriage. Who earns the money; who spends it? How do you save, invest, donate? These are all important things to be able to discuss. We had one session on what would be a deal breaker for us. What one thing that the other did would make you walk out and not look back. Over the years, I have come to know that trust is the one thing you must have. You might be madly in love, but if you don’t trust them there is nothing. Respect is nice, but you can sort of respect someone, but still not trust them, and you can love someone without either. Trust, I believe is also the hardest to repair once it is broken. It takes a long time to heal that wound, and to me it is much like those goofy little cuts that break open on your fingers, they are really difficult to put back together, and then all of a sudden it is good. Weird.]

So, this is all of my interview for today. I would be interested in hearing your answers to either of the questions. It might be an interesting dialogue.

Interview Round #3

I chose these two questions to be next because they will be easy to elaborate on. I need to explain more on most of my answers. I did not add all of it in the interview because, well frankly it was just so stinking many questions. It was fun though. I understand she scored an outstanding grade for her efforts. It must have been the great subject that she chose to interview. Ha!!

What were 2 major historic events you lived through?

Well the older you get the more you have, and my generation remembers where we were when JFK was shot. I remember watching the rerun of that in the living room while my mother was changing the diaper of my baby brother. And two other things that I remember profoundly were the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and when we landed on the moon. I remember watching both of those events on a small 10 inch television in the kitchen of our farm house. I think the death of Bobby Kennedy was probably even worse for our country than the death of President Kennedy. I don’t know why, but Bobby just seemed to hold so much promise for those of us who were young when he was campaigning. Things would have been so different had he been allowed to live.

I am adding this part: Watching the Kennedys when I was young pulled me into politics. Not that I even ran, but I have always paid attention, watched the conventions (both when I could stomach both sides, and that was every election up until just the last two) I wasn’t a Regan Democrat, gasp, but I was a George H. W. Bush listener. I watched his acceptance speech and inauguration and State of the Union speeches. I am appalled that these events are not watched in school as parts of history class. We did that in Pollock and students went ballistic that they were forced to watch. I am sorry if you don’t agree with the politics, it is still the leader of the country and you should be an informed citizen. This is our history, we should be paying attention to it. Perhaps this is why my children are the way they are.

Who impacted your life most as a child?

I wasn’t impacted by any one person. Mostly it was my older relatives, grandmothers, aunts and uncles. I was the oldest grandchild and so much older than my siblings that I was around adults much more than most children are. I learned to drink coffee before I was 10, and I listened in on stories that most children never know about. I tried hard to learn the family history from them at a young age. I credit my nosey nature to learning to speak German-Russian with them, something my aunt and I still do.

The Germans from Russia when they lived in Russia lived in family groups. They were very close to the extended family and that was part of our lives too. It is still part of the life we have passed on to the next generation. The farthest away is my nephew who lives in Sioux Falls which is 6 hours from here. We do not like that any of them are so far. Jessica and Paulina are 2 1/2 hours away and Victoria and Nate and the grandkids are a little over 3 hours away. If I had my way we would all be within the same county, but I am guessing they are happy to have the distance.

Well, that is all for today. I did leave a bit about the canning and garden slow down on the lucindagardens site, so check that out if you like. We quilted in church again last night and have finished up some very nice quilts. I could kick myself, I had the iPad with me for the purpose of taking pictures, and  I left it in the office and totally forgot. I will at least get some of the finished products and share them next week. For now, take care!!

Interview #2 on America

I mentioned a couple of posts ago how my niece had this interview assignment. I kept the answers that I gave to her just so that I could use them here if I felt so inclined. She told me on Saturday that she tweaked it a bit before she turned it in. Drat her. The first question below is the one where I was a real smart-alec in answering. I gave her a Paulina answer. Paulina plans to be a social studies teacher and always flips when someone refers to the USA as America. Technically America is North America and South America and has several countries in each. Our country is the United States of America, not just America or ‘Merica like they tried to say on some reality show last year. Anyway, enough of my rants, here were my answers. Sorry if they are too political for you, try to ignore me in that regard.

What do you think about America?

Do you mean the continent or the country? I think the United States is in a world of hurt because it is being held hostage by people who are afraid of progress and diversity. I cringe every time people in North Dakota talk about how bad the area of Western North Dakota has become. [This is in regard to how people from all different states and now from various countries have moved into the area.] Diversity is a fact of the technology that is part of our life. As we gain the ability to move and connect, we are shrinking the globe. We need to open ourselves up and embrace the differences in the people around us and in our world, and we need to open our minds to learning new things. I really don’t believe that building fences around our country is the answer; we need to tear down the barriers that separate us from others. That is the end of my sermon on that.

[I am not sure if I blogged about him or not, but when James and I were at the North Dakota Coaches Convention, the opening speaker at the Track and Field coaches session was a coach, originally from little tiny Zeeland, ND. He currently coaches at Fargo South and they placed quite high in the Class A division this past year. He said that he has athletes not just from several countries, but from every continent except Antarctica and Australia and he didn’t think they would be getting any from either of those places. He loved the diversity because of how much they all learned from each other.]

What does the future hold for America?

I have no idea except that the next presidential election scares me to death. Some of what is being said in the name of campaigning is either a bad joke or should wake up intelligent people to get out and vote and demand better candidates. Money shouldn’t be the only way people win, and it shouldn’t be the only reason they run. Finished with this sermon too.

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