Dogwood Ramblings

Saturday the 29th was certainly different here.  First, it was 23 years since Willie passed away.  Archie Jennings, Ron and Rex Boeddeker and Moi got together at my place to play Pinochle.  Winning wasn’t important.  Visiting was great.  I only get to see Archie on election days and we had a lot to catch up on.  When we lived in North Dakota we played Pinochle nearly every week at our farm as we had the four little boys and bedding them at home was so much better than dragging them home late and getting them up the stairs to bed.  Of course, these gatherings always included home baked goodies and some sort of fruit sauce, and lots of hot black coffee.

Back then I went through 12 packages of yeast every Thursday for baking bread, rolls, and frying doughnuts.  This was between morning and evening milking of the cows by hand, using the separator, churning butter, feeding pigs and lambs, raising a huge garden, canning, etc.  It is fun to reminisce but sometimes hard to believe my own memories as I could not do anything like that these days….and certainly don’t need those calories.

We would probably play Pinochle more often but finding players around here has not been fruitful.  We play double deck and what has been referred to as “Navy rules”.  It has been well over a year since we last played so Rex printed up what we call a “cheat sheet” so players like me can refer to points before bidding. I only had to use the sheet once.  Lots of fun!  Rex provided us a lunch.

An e-mail came from a cousin in Hillsboro, ND saying that at some places in ND they are having -70 degree wind chill.  That is colder than where that ice breaker is lodged.  Grandson Nick is working in northwestern ND so he certainly knows about this cold.  I can remember many -20 degrees but -70 is record breaking.  One winter Willie took off driving semi to support our little family, leaving me with our 3 little boys, the oldest one just turned 4 and we were expecting another.  I had 5 cows to milk by hand and their only water source was the frozen river, which I was to keep open with a tamping bar in what started out as a 4’ x 4’ hole that was to be covered by hay bales after each watering episode, morning and night.  Willie was gone for a few weeks and when he returned the hole was now just big enough for the tamping bar but at least no fear of the cows falling into the river.  I was bawled out for letting this happen.  Willie called one of his brothers to help him open the river with dynamite and they found out the ice was 6’ deep – and I received an apology.  We didn’t have winter clothing then as we do now.  Instead it was layer upon layer of clothes nearly making movement robot like.  The average temperature for those 3 weeks was below zero.  Thank heavens for Captain Kangaroo and Cheerios to keep our little ones occupied while I was in the barn.

A little excitement occurred just before midnight on Friday when someone knocked on the door.  By the time I got myself presentable and to the door, no one was there although there were tire tracks on the driveway.  Then Sunday morning at 12:45 a.m. a consistent soft engine noise awakened me and I saw an SUV in my driveway with bright lights shining on the house, engine humming.  I watched for some while until Officer Jason Philpott arrived to check things out.  After awhile Jason came to my door and said a vehicle had gone off the road on the other side of Hwy 14, no one hurt, and the vehicle in my driveway was that of a gentleman who saw the incident and was waiting for a tow truck.  After the vehicles were gone Bob Wagner called to make sure all was well here.  God bless the Samaritans.  Side note: Jason Philpott’s grandmother was raised in what is now Randy Boeddeker’s home.

Do you agree with Al Gore about how our planet is warming????  Of course, I may think differently next August or so.  Right now it seems we are closer to the movie The Day after Tomorrow.

For those of you who have to work outside and/or with animals, you are in my prayers that you and all animals are safe.  The birds have been feasting at the free dog feeder on the deck.  I hope you have plenty of hay and that you keep the ponds open.  God Bless.