Thursday, June 12, 2008

From September Beginnings: Searching for My Wyoming Legacy, Chapter 2 Part 1

This post is a continuation of the earlier post under the same heading.
Chapter 2
When I think of Dad, I think of him out in the cowbarn while we were milking cows and in the hayfield hauling hay and in the beet fields hoeing and thinning countless rows of sugar beets.  I remember him on frigid winter Saturday mornings when he enlisted my help to haul hay or sugar beet tops or haul a pig or a cow to the Powell Livestock Auction Market.  I think of his frustration while fighting kicky cows after already having worked twelve hours in the fields.  I remember countless times when Dad tried desperately to find a bolt or fix machinery without having to take an offending part to Gail Burke at the blacksmith shop in Garland for repair or go to town for a new one, thus unexpectedly throwing the work schedule off for a half day or more.

I remember with great glee when Dad rounded up "us kids" to go off to the movies and when he uncomplainingly sat through endless band concerts in the Powell High School gym, always assuring us how wonderful they were.  I believed him and glowed with pride.  I remember when we would park the old Model A by Lord's Feed Store or by the Wyoming Hotel while he would go to the movies and we would go to a band practice or to a Halloween party in the old Powell High School Cafeteria, which perennially smelled of my detested carrot-and-raisin salad.  I remember the night that the movie was "The Song of Bernadette."  We thought it was going to last all night before Dad would come and take us home.

I always knew how hard Dad worked but I have only recently come nearer an understanding of just how close to the edge of financial disaster my parents were through all the years we were at home and for some years afterward.  Every bit of cash spent on us was painfully spent, for my Waltham high school graduation watch--which, sadly, did not run very long--and then for my blue plaid dress suit bought from J. C. Penney's in Lovell (which I would quickly outgrow, being only 15 when it was purchased), and for my brown Samsonite suitcase which I plastered with decals of the Future Farmers of America emblems.  This suitcase accompanied me on countless FFA and band trips and then was borrowed by several friends at the University of Wyoming who had even less money than I, and who had no luggage to take on their honeymoon.
To be continued . . .

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