My sister has different memories of them than I have because she is nine years younger, so Pa was retired from farming when she was a girl and spent more time with her than he was able to spend with me. However, she and I shared the same love for Ma and Pa.
We each remember Ma’s special love of beautiful things and how she could create beauty in her home. She also saw beauty in nature. We each remember how she would always have some kind of flowers or greenery on the dining room table. If nothing was available, she made roses and sweet peas from crepe paper. I can’t imagine how she learned that. Once she wanted to paper the kitchen but times were hard and they couldn’t afford paper so she found a big catalog of wallpaper samples and papered the kitchen walls with those pages. We children each had our favorite pages. I remember that mine was of big pink and red roses. Only Ma would dare to do that but we thought that was just great.
One of Pat’s favorite memories is of the pond, which was near the corncrib. She would walk the perimeter of the pond and watch the big bullfrogs jump in, one by one. No one was ever allowed to kill or “gig” Pa’s bullfrogs so they grew to be huge. She loved to hear those frogs at night, along with other night sounds. I remember that Pa had put a little catfish in his pond and it grew over time to be huge. He had to catch minnows to put in the pond to feed him. I loved to try to see him in the pond.
Pat remembers the long pole with a trap on top to catch the chicken hawks. Pa would take the foot of a hawk, pull the leaders down, and fasten a wooden stick onto each. She could then pull the sticks and make the claws move. Gruesome.
Pat was not very athletic and couldn’t learn to hit a ball with a bat, so Pa whittled a bat, which was flat on both sides, making it easier for her to hit the ball.
She especially remembers being tall and gangly and that Pa told her often that he loved tall women and that she should never slump her shoulders, but stand up tall. Many times, when her peers were shorter, she was tempted to hunch her shoulders but then she would remember Pa’s words, “Stand up tall”. It made her happy to think that Pa liked tall women.
To conclude our combined column, I quote from Pat, “Oh, that my grandchildren could feel about me as I felt about them. They made such a difference in my life. I always wanted to be like Ma. She was my role model. They say I look like her. I hope that is true.”
Please feel free to call me at 270-522-3632.