Anyone who knows me even a little knows how much I enjoy a good story, especially family stories.
Listening to a good family story is only slightly better than telling one. Besides, listening to a family story is the source of new material so it can be retold at a later time.
So, here we go.
A favorite family story of mine is that in the late 1950s my dad’s sister was going to marry a man she met from Wisconsin. He was from a well-educated family who had a list of accomplishments (including authoring books) in their chosen fields.
My aunt was a wholesome Iowa farm girl who raised chickens, planted a garden and enjoyed farm life in general. She worked alongside her mother taking care of her two never- married brothers – a pair of hard core farmers – and a third brother with Downs syndrome who lived with them at home.
As the wedding was approaching, one of my dad’s other sisters expressed a concern about what the family would wear to the wedding of their sister into this family of great accomplishments and high standing.
Her question was answered by another sister who said, “We will wear clean clothes.”
I thought that summed it up quite well. It said we are who we are and we have nothing to be ashamed of.
The man who became my Uncle Bob was a wonderful person who loved the outdoors and died too soon and too quickly from cancer when his three daughters were still in grade school.
Another favorite memory is one I witnessed in the early 1960s when my dad and Cousin Dick, who farmed in western Minnesota, were talking about how Dick was going to farm with one tractor – a John Deere 5010.
A 5010 was the biggest tractor at that time, the monster tractor of its day.
Thinking of a job with a very low horsepower requirement, my dad asked Dick, “What will you rake hay with?”
Dick’s answer was a simple, “I think it’ll pull it.”
My family seems to have a talent for understatement.
The most recent Dick story came from my sister who was told this by Dick’s sister during a recent phone conversation.
Cousin Dick has retired and is living in a nursing home in western Minnesota. His sister lives in the Los Angeles area and checks up on him by phone.
Dick has one remaining tooth and was outfitted with new dentures by a dentist. His sister asked him if he was wearing his new teeth.
Dick said he wasn’t and his sister asked where the teeth were.
They were sitting on a table near him answered Dick.
She asked him why he wasn’t wearing his teeth.
Dick told his sister,”Because they feel better when they are sitting on the table.”
It made complete sense to me.
Everyone has family stories. Be sure to tell and re-tell them at every chance.
Write them down because too many become faded memories that are eventually forgotten and that would not be right.
You can even re-tell my family stories.Chances are you will probably be rewarded with a new story from your listener.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.