Tuesday, January 23, 2018

SHE NEVER KNEW DEFEAT; 1933; Oklahoma

Just before Thanksgiving we had some dear friends visit us,--a "used-to-be" prosperous farmer, his wife and children.

The little lady had always had a cheerful, jolly disposition,--never seemed to take life seriously. Though she had been a hard worker, she never appeared to worry if her plans were upset. But now, since I had learned of their misfortune, I thought probably she might be different. Their beautiful country home,--their life's savings--had been taken from them through a mortgage foreclosure.

If I had expected any difference in her, I was certainly surprised for she was her same dear, jolly self. Only once did she mention their misfortune.

"I know God will provide a way," she said, "if we will only trust in Him and do our best."

So the dear, brave heart had thought more deeply than I had thought, and although she secretly grieved for their lost home, she was ready to begin all over again. She smiled, and in that smile I saw her very soul, the soul of a fighter, one who never gives up, who never knows defeat.

As she was about to leave, I helped her with her coat. It was thin and especially worn at the elbows. Her toil-worn hands were gloveless. I watched her climb into the wagon beside her husband. They now had nothing but the wagon to ride in, having sold their car to pay a note at the bank. She seemed proud of her husband and he of her, and the children of both of them.

I watched them until they passed from sight, then I walked slowly into the house. All that had occurred had "put me under my thinking cap."

Thursday, January 4, 2018

PIONEER DAYS; by Mr. A. D.; 1949

                                 HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

If the following account sounds reminiscent of the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods, it would not be surprising. Mr. Dahlin was born less than a month before Laura, and his home was only 120 miles west of "The Little House" in the big Wisconsin woods.

I was born in Dalsland, Sweden, January 10, 1867. When I was two months old, my parents together with their eight other children, immigrated to America. Our belongings consisted of clothing, tools, food, and a very small amount of money.

After a four week ocean voyage we arrived in Jordan, Minnesota, where father obtained employment on the railroad at $1.25 a day.

In 1869, we moved to Belle Plaine where we purchased 40 acres of land. Here was built our first one room log cabin. With the aid of two oxen and one horse, three acres were cleared the first summer. The winter was spent in making railroad ties and barrel hoops. With the arrival of spring, it was a familiar sight to see buckets hanging on the trees, and to hear the echo of maple sap dripping into the containers. Maple sap was cooked in a huge iron kettle which supplied the family with syrup and sugar.

In 1875, the farm was sold and a 160 acre tract of land was purchased at $6.00 an acre in Hale Township, Mcleod County (about 50 miles away.) Here we built a two-room log cabin, with two windows, and a low slanting roof. Our furniture was made up of home-made benches, a table, and sleeping bunks. The cabin was lighted with candles made by mother. By this light she spun, knit, and made straw hats.

Mcleod County was a “Poor Man’s Paradise.” There was an abundance of all kinds of wild fruit, berries, and nuts; which provided food for the family table. On a moonlight night, one could see several deer in the rutabaga patch. Lakes were filled with fish, and pools were covered with ducks. The pioneer’s alarm clock was the song of the birds. It sounded as though the whole earth were joined together into one choir of song.

My father built the first log school house in 1877. In 1891, my brother and I erected a new building on the same lot and it is still in use. School was in session six months out of the year and attendance was largest on stormy days, as children had to work when weather permitted.

Every Sunday morning we walked six miles to church. Sunday afternoons, I attended Sunday School at one of the pioneer homes.

Spelling bees, square dances, skating, sliding, and husking bees were the main sources of entertainment. Many  hours were spent playing with a rag ball or mouth organ.