Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Trip to Chicago

This post is inspired by a prompt from Reflections of a Mother's Heart
The prompt was "Share about an outing you took with your Mom or Dad"

Travel back with me on a trip to Chicago with my Dad. When we went to Chicago, I was a mere 13 years of age so use your young eyes to imagine the fun.

We could start out near Union Station with breakfast at Lou Mitchell's. There is usually a wait, but fresh donut holes and Milk Duds make the waiting worthwhile, plus they give you added energy for all the walking ahead in the day. After that, take a walking tour to admire the skyscrapers or the beautiful architecture... quite a site for a little farm girl.

The ice skating at Millenium Park would probably be more fun for me than the sculptures. Then on to enjoy some shopping on the  Magnificent Mile. I love to window shop, but dad is probably more of a people watcher. You can do either of these there. Another amazing sight for a farm girl would be the amazing view from the Hancock Observatory. You can see three states from there!

And finally, end the day with a baseball game or a Broadway musical. I would enjoy the latter, but Dad would be more of a baseball fan.

Now THAT would be an awesome day 
in Chicago with your dad, 
but that was NOT our experience.

Oh no, we were moving our dairy farm from Ohio to Wisconsin when I took a trip to the Chicago Loop with my dad. It was fall. We had purchased a new farm in Wisconsin and we were moving the farm bit by bit as we could.

We were taking a grain bin which looks kinda like this.
It was laid flat on the bed of our truck that looked something like this....

The legs of the grain bin hung out past the end of the bed. So we tied red flags on the legs to worn cars behind us.

So you get the picture, right?

Okay .... It was my turn to be dad's co-pilot. That in itself was a bad decision because just the purring of the engine would put me to sleep. So I was of no use to my dad for anything. No good conversation, just probably some snoring! No map reading, because trying to read anything in a moving vehicle made me nauseous.

Somehow, Dad made it to Chicago on his own.  (By this time, he probably knew the way pretty well.) Anyway, when we got to the city, Dad woke me up and asked for my help. He needed me to watch for the signs. I think it's better than it was in 1974, but there were lanes of traffic everywhere and exit signs all the way across the highway. As you may know, one needs to know where they are going well in advance so that you can be in the correct lane at the correct time.

Dad said, we needed to watch for the Eisenhower, I believe that is I-290, Well, that's neither here nor there. All I know now is that what we did not want was the Chicago Loop exit. I watched intently, for the Eisenhower. And there it was 2 exits ahead. There were two or three exits right in a row.

I called out, "There it is!".  Now, you probably know the way traffic is in Chicago ... not exactly wide open road. Dad whipped that big old truck over a couple lanes of traffic. Who knows how many cars he pushed out of the way, but we made it down the first exit and right onto the Chicago Loop..

So imagine 
driving that loaded truck down this street..

Or maybe this street ...   

Somehow, my amazing dad managed to get us through the traffic and back to the highway. 

We made it safely to Wisconsin

and the new farm where I met new neighbors, saw where I would be attending school, and tried to plant flower bulbs for my mom in the frozen ground (They ended up in the china cabinet until we arrived for good in the spring.) Of course, my family has never let me forget this story.

So, that 
is my unforgettable outing 
to Chicago with my dad.

I've never made it back to Chicago to actually enjoy the city. Maybe it should be on my bucket list. When I was in high school, the band and choir would take a trip to see a musical every year. I decided I would save up and go my senior year .. which is the first year they decided NOT to take the trip.

As far as Chicago traffic. I never got over my nervousness about driving through Chicago's interstates. I drove through Chicago several times a year headed to college. I hated it every time. I would always say a little prayer as I approached the city, "It's me and You, Lord".

  But it was mostly Him!

But isn't that how we should approach life? After all, the Scriptures say ...

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy; 
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Never On Sunday

Why can't cows give twice the milk on Saturday and
take Sunday off like it happened with the manna for the Israelites?
I asked my dad that once when I was young. If there was one time thatCows_milk I didn't like coming home to milk the cows it was Sunday afternoon. We would be enjoying a nice afternoon with family and friends. Then all too quickly, we had to stop to go home and milk the cows.
Milking the cows was the only farm chore that was done on our farm on Sundays. We did only what was necessary on Sunday. We did not do any field work even if the hay was ready to bale or the corn was ready to harvest. The fields would get a rest as well. We had a neighbor that thought we were crazy. He could never understand why Dad was not out in the fields on Sunday; especially when there was hay cut and the rains were coming in. But that was just proof to my parents that people are watching and one should live out their beliefs as best they could.
My parents believed that Sunday should be set aside for the Lord. So we would rise early to milk the cows and go to church. On Sunday afternoon, we would have dinner with family or friends. Or we might take a ride and look at the crops....That was always an interesting afternoon. [I say that in jest.] 
cornfield Sunday Drive

Oh, we were overjoyed when Dad would say,
"Look how tall that corn has grown." or
"That is a beautiful wheat field."
"Whoopee", or maybe a good eye roll was our response.

Most of the time, Sunday afternoon was set aside for napping. Funny, as an adult, we look forward to that Sunday drive or an afternoon nap, but as a child, there was nothing more boring. Learning that we need a day of rest each week was one of those things we just didn't want to learn.
Occasionally, my siblings and I could play a game of baseball or croquet but that came to an end all too quickly when it came around to milking time. Then we would hear Daddy calling, 'Let's go kids, it's milking time."
Of course, we hadn't yet learned the joy in worshiping and serving the Lord. We still had that selfish streak in us. That's why I asked, why the cows couldn't just give twice as much on Saturday so that we could have the whole day off to play or have some fun. And that's when Daddy's answer struck a chord in my heart. He answered me with,
"God would probably go along with that,
if we were willing to REALLY give Him the whole day."
Maybe that's when I realized that the Lord's Day should be just that .... The Lord's. I think that is what He had in mind when He said. "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy."
Going off to Asbury College (now University) didn't change much along these lines. Sunday's at Asbury were pretty "holy" too. It was the only day that Sunday Dress (you know, suit and tie, or a Sunday dress) was required in the cafeteria.
Then in the  afternoon, it was back to the dorms for  an afternoon of rest. No mingling with the opposite sex. We called it "Holy Split". Again this was training to teach us that Sunday was to be treated differently, then the other days of the week. I hope it stuck with  the most of us.

For a little fun .. Here's a song we used to used for skits at Asbury ...


Have you found my devotional studies at Spiritually Speaking by Mandy


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Most Unforgettable Summer

Children's faces were pressed against the glass of the bus windows as we came up over the hill. At first, all you could see was smoke, but then everyone realized that the barn at the Dawson farm was no longer there. It had burned down while we were at school. The Dawson kids, already knew it had happened, but it was still a shock to see it as the bus pulled up to our lane.

That was 1970. I was six. Being young, I don't remember a lot of details about it except for seeing the smoldering embers of what was left of the barn from the bus on our way home from school. I also remember that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The barn was gone, but fortunately, we only lost one calf. They had even managed to save the new milking parlor that had been built a year or so before. This was all a pretty big shock for my dad and grandpa. My grandparents had suffered a house fire here on the farm 12 or 13 years earlier. Dad had recently been awarded "Farmer of the Year" and now it was mostly in ashes.

But it's what happened that summer which made it memorable for me. The whole community came out to help us in our time of need. The cattle were herded to a nearby farm for milking. All the neighboring farmers chipped in to help wherever needed. We had cattle, but no hay to feed them and no place to keep the cattle as it was still winter. And no equipment with which to plant and harvest. I was young, I don't even know the half of it, I'm sure. What I do know, is mostly stories told down through the years.

Sunday School class
Painting new barns

Here's what I remember...

 The Amish community was hired to build new barns. And our neighbors and friends volunteered to bring food to feed them every day. Local farmers helped with milking cows and planting and harvesting. The farm was a busy place. The noise of building tools filled the air. There were neighbor ladies buzzing about the house preparing to feed all the carpenters and neighbors. I'm sure there were tons of kids around too. Our basement was set up with tables (probably made of saw horses and plywood) to feed all the people.

My little brother and I somehow made friends with a young carpenter. Thinking about it now, Alex was probably the one to build the "friendship". He was always the outgoing one. I was the tag-along.

 Anyway, this young man had a great impact on our lives. He remains a friend of the family to this day.
His name was John Schmid. He was at least willing to give us a little attention with his jokes and stories. And we were quite entertained. He taught us "Amish" words ... and they weren't always the necessary ones like Hello and Goodbye. :)  For example, the word "Dummkopf".

Every day we would go out to find John to talk with him. I wonder if he actually ever got any work done with us always hanging around. Well, even with us under foot the men managed to build three barns and a new machine shed.
For the most part, these are the barns in which I was raised. The place where my siblings and I were trained up. The places we acquired good character and a strong work ethic along with the great memories.

We owe a lot to John Schmid, the Amish community, and our own neighbors for showing us the right way to live. Their actions showed us  and proved that the teaching of our parents was good.
After all, the Word of God says ...
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you have learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. - 2 Timothy 3:14
I'm so thankful that our parents and grandparents obeyed it's teaching as well when they were diligent to teach us the Word as it is commanded in Deuteronomy 6:7
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.




This Blog post is a Prompt from Reflections of a Mother's Heart

" Tell about your most unforgettable summer experience as a child."

The "saved" milkhouse.
 In the background, you can see a glimpse of some of the new barns.
 I loved this old elm tree in the front yard. I understand it is gone now, from Dutch Elm Disease
Dawson Farm in Louisville, Ohio before the barn fire in 1969 AND the house fire in 1957
Dawson Farm in Louisville, Ohio before the barn fire in 1970 AND the house fire in 1957

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Corn on the Cobb

Yes, That is what comes to my mind when I think of Labor Day memories. When I was young, Labor Day was the last day of summer break AND the closing of the county fair, but we'll save that for another day.
At the age of 13, we moved our family farm from Ohio to Wisconsin. It was there, in Wisconsin, that sweet corn corn became an icon for Labor Day. As it is in most rural areas, each town had there own special festival each summer. Near us were two festivals that I remember attending. The Watermelon Festival and the Corn Carnival.

In Randolph, they held their festival on Labor Day centered around the corn harvest. What a day it was! It began with a parade, and who doesn't love a parade? Then we all headed to the park for all the free corn on the cob you could eat. Of course there were tons of games as well, but I loved the corn!

truckloads of corn

Truckloads of corn still in their husks were steamed to perfection and dumped out on tarps, right on the ground. It was all free. So one could just grab an ear, peel back the husk, and slather on the butter and salt. All that was left to do after that was to sink your teeth into those delicious rows of corn kernels. There are no words to describe, except maybe ....




Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Day at Cascade Mountain

"Is she dead?" the little boy asked.

Those were the first words I heard after falling in every direction at the bottom of the hill. I have never been all that athletic and this day was proof of that.I had only decided to go skiing to be with my older sister and cousin. I'll have to say, we had some good laughs that day. The embarrassing part is  ...  I was on the bunny hill. You know, the hill for little kids to learn how to ski.

Having little kids fly by you on skis is more than a little dejecting to a young teenage girl. I was always the little girl with no coordination. Chubby since birth. The little girl nicknamed "Butterball".
By this time, I had slimmed up, but I still had little coordination.

But even with all of that, the worse part of the bunny hill was the toe rope. I never did get the hang of that. People would just grab on and go. I would grab on and get dragged. Then have to let go and roll away before the person behind me landed on top on me. See what I mean ... lots of laughs that day! I couldn't lift my arms above my head for weeks after that from using muscles that I never knew I had. That was my first and last time on a pair of skis.

You could take this day in history one of two ways:

1) a horrible, dejecting day of embarrassment and dejection.


2) a day of fun and laughter

I prefer the latter. After all,

A cheerful heart is good medicine,

    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22



  This Blog post is a Prompt from Reflections of a Mother's Heart
 When Did you learn to Snow Ski? Tell about your experience.