Thursday, June 21, 2018

Cows, Raggedy Ann and Broken Legs.

This week's portion of my mother's life story reflects the joy she had with her new husband and her growing family. I love reading this part of her story. I wasn't around yet for most of this, but my family talked about it so much that I feel like I was there in some small way—if only as an observer, like a foster child trying to fit in to a family unit already in motion. Their story became part of my story too.

Bertha's story continues:

"Orville divided his time between teaching Chemistry part time at Messiah College and working the farm. Life there was rich with gardening, animals, beekeeping, and cycles of the seasons. In the winter we went tobogganing, ice skating on the pond and cut down our own Christmas trees from the woods.

We had food from our own garden, we had our own meat from the beef and chickens we raised; I baked our bread and our one Jersey cow gave us milk and cream from which we made butter and ice cream every week."

Frances here: (This could very well be where I learned the habit of eating ice cream at least once a week...I needed this evidence to convince my husband, Tom, that it's in my "blood" to crave ice cream weekly. When we go for motorcycle rides in the summer evenings, it's hard for me to not beg for a treat...which always means ice cream!)

My father milking our jersey cow; Doug (left), Adriel (middle), Brenda (right).
"Sewing many of our own clothes was very satisfying to me; I said to Orville one time, "I feel like I'm really living when I'm sewing!"   One year, I even managed to create Halloween costumes—Adriel's was a burlap-bag bear, and Brenda (Aspen) was a Raggedy Ann. They both won prizes in the school costume contest."

"One time, we were boarding a horse for someone, and our 7-year old Brenda had been guarding the special food for the visiting horse from a cow who was intent on eating it. When the cow wouldn't shoo away, Brenda kicked it in the hindquarters, and the cow kicked her back. Orville heard the screaming and found Brenda flat on her back, picked her up and carried her to the house.

She of course, was crying and screaming in pain, and her leg was dangling in such a way that it was obvious to me that a bone had been broken. And I exclaimed, "Why, her leg is BROKEN!" And Orville looked at me and said "SHHHH!" as if we could keep it a secret—don't let HER know that!
Even in the midst of it, though this was not fun for Brenda, I had a moment of great laughter because of how ridiculous it was to me that Orville thought he could keep it a secret from Brenda. It makes me laugh out loud, still, to think of it."

Brenda (Aspen) with Woody, her school bus driver, first day of school (1965).
"But the next story I want to tell regarding God preparing my heart prior to a tragedy, is......."

Frances here:

This is the part where my life begins to intersect with the little family already in place on Willow Springs Farm. Their world was about to be turned upside down.