First Love

Think back and remember that first true love.  I’m not talking about a school yard crush in the second grade, that first boyfriend in high school.  That first person in your life you can recall being totally and completely in love with, that person you looked up to and thought they could do no wrong and was the best thing since sliced bread.

My first love would have been 78 when I was born, Elza (pronounced ElZ).  Recall thinking of him as my boyfriend for as far back as I can remember.  Years ago I found that he was a friend of the grandfather I never knew, wonder if he had something to do with my love for Elza.  I am a firm believer in such things.

Elza pry didn’t stand quite five foot tall, he almost always wore the ol’ farmer blue and white striped overalls and his old cowboy hat or brown ear flapper hat.  When not in his farm clothes he would be dressed to the nines, always a suit, so handsome in his suit. 

As far back as I can remember Elza and his wife lived in town, upon retired they built a house in town and left the farming operation to their sons.  Elza never really retired, well not until shortly before his death at age 99 when the family moved him to a local nursing home.  One could set a clock by Elza, he had to drive past our farm to get to his farm…he’d toodle past in the morning and again just before noon on his drive home for dinner and again after dinner until quitting time when he’d toodle past again.  The worse thing for a new driver was to come upon Elza, don’t think he ever drove more than 35 mph and in the hills it was tough to pass him.  

Elza was a roadside farmer, as my grandfather was and I’ve found that I have become over the years.  Often when he’d be out working or just riding the horses he’d pull in for a visit.  He didn’t have much to say, but when he talked it was always something to hear. The stories he could tell!

My most fond memories are of sitting in the coffee shop in our Hill Town will the man. He carried a pocket watch with a well worn leather strap in the upper front pocket of his overalls.  The best thing in the world was the occasion when he’d pull that watch out and say to come to him and he’d put that watch up to my ear and let me listen to it tick.  Yes, should a simple thing, but a wonderful memory none the less. 

When I was in junior high we went on a 10 mile charity horse ride to the stockyards.  Right along with the rest of us was sweet ol’ Elza riding Desperado.  We were all sunburnt and roasting, didn’t seem to phase him a bit.  He was given an award for being the oldest person on the ride, of no importance to him. 

My absolute best memory of Elza comes with a tear, one that brought tears that had to be hidden the day it happened.  He had slowed down considerably and really shouldn’t have been driving anymore, his memory was starting to go.  We were home visiting from Nebraska, outside at mom and dad’s and Elza pulled in.  The Girl was just a little thing, maybe two.  Elza called The Girl over to him, told her to come over, pulled that watch out of his pocket and held it up to her ear.  Tears of joy and sadness.

My first true love! 



Wednesday 31. January 2018

Have an Australian Shepherd and a Chihuahua wrestling under my feet, they are so helpful sometimes!  Everyone else in the house is sleeping, so it’s just as well they are being goofy here with me rather than bother everyone else.  

Bubba had youth group at church tonight, Old Man had to run up to southeastern Minnesota today and wasn’t home for supper, so Bubba and I ran into our Hamlet for Mexican night at the former Catholic church.  Glad we went, after we walked in one of Old Boy’s aunts came in with her sister-in-law, daughter and son-in-law, the neighbor boy stopped in after being dropped off by the activity bus after wrestling practice and then my brother and his youngest stopped in.  We had a table full.  Good food, lots of laughter!  Good night! 


Monday 29. January 2018

Another grand January day~way below freezing~but the sun makes it feel and seem warmer.  Dogs are wound tight and are underfoot~wishing it was warm enough for them to go out in the play yard~the chihuahuas can’t take the cold.

Had us a weekend.  The big kids came home from Nebraska for a visit~it was time for the annual Cattlemen’s banquet and dance again!

Used to be the one thing we looked forward to every year~the only time of the year I allow myself to drink.  The one time of the year we’d go out and shake a booty~dance the night away and visit and laugh with friends we see only once a year.

Old Boy didn’t want to go this year~said the last few years were no fun.  The Big Kids came home mainly for The Cattlemen’s~I wanted to go and visit and dance.  He was pissy because he wanted to stay home~set the mood for the evening.  I had as good a time as I was able to.  Was able to get Old Boy out for one slow dance and we were home by 10:00.

What I’ve come to enjoy so much about this annual ToDo is that it was evolved over the years from a Rowdy Brawl where everyone knew there’d be one good scuffle to a more low key social family event.  Most now bring their teens who are involved with the family farm, 4H and FFA.  Nice seeing the new generation mingling with the older~learning the ropes.


NorthWest Iowa during thrashing…my great grandfather and neighbors.

We met up Sunday morning with some family for brunch in our small hamlet~was nice to get together and visit and support our neighbors in their new venture.  It’s been ages since there has been anyplace in our area to go for brunch on Sunday.  The neighbors had heard that from a number of people and thought they’d give it a try.  Sounds like it’s going really well!

A year or so ago two local Catholic churches in our area were closed to merge with another small town Catholic church in the area.  Originally it was said the churches were going to continue to be used for funerals and weddings.  The one in our hamlet was decommissioned and sold.  Our neighbors over the hill bought it and have really done a wonderful job with the building while respecting the building was a church.  The kids moved their few year old business up the hill and have really done well thus far.

Was so nice having The Girl and DingBat home for the weekend.  With their being so far away and busy with their work and livestock and us not having anyone we really trust to take care of the livestock and our dogs, we don’t get out to see them as we should.  Bubba and I could go out out more than we do.  Old Boy and I don’t dare leave him in charge to go out to visit~we’d come home to Lord knows what mess.

When The Girl was her age we could leave her home overnight with a friend or two and knew they were responsible enough to get chores done and make sure the dogs were properly cared for.  Bubba is no where near ready for that kind of responsibility, even with the neighbors keeping an eye on him.  Crazy how differently boys and girls mature. It’s frustrating at times.

We are trying to talk him into going to The Sweetheart Dance at school in a couple weeks. He’s never gone to a school dance and just knows they are stupid.  Trying to get him to step out of his comfort zone.  Get him to realize if he steps outside his box he may have a good time, or may not, but he’ll never know if he doesn’t try.  At homecoming he and his best friend went deer hunting instead.  They think they maybe would think about going together and just check it out.  UGH!  He loves to socialize, he loves the girls and has a bunch after him…he could just go and see what happens.  Don’t know if I’ll ever get boys. Gotta love them though!


The Magic of Old Photos


This photo was taken decades ago, guessing by my grandfather. Can’t recall for sure but it was either the late 1940’s or early 1950’s when my grandfather was approached by a member of the school board for this school to come on board as custodian to put the in bad shape building back in good running order. Grandpa Pete and this man both grew up in this farming community and Elza knew Pete was the perfect man for the job. Pete agreed with the understanding that it was his school to do with as he saw fit, he was boss in that department.

Grandpa worked here, along with all his other doings, until his heart attack that rendered him unable to work. Sometime in the late 1960’s. Over the years whenever someone who went to school during those days find out who my grandfather was…oh, the wonderful stories. I mourn at times over the fact that I never knew him. Someday I will write about him, he did so many things in only 64 years.

The building was built in 1918, in 1962 the school became one with the neighboring town and in 1990 it closed when the larger town built on and moved all grades into one school. This building thankfully is still is use, being the center of our county it’s the home of our emergency services unit. Two generations of our family went to the school.

Now I’m getting off track…while going through my grandmother’s albums the other day I came upon this picture and posted it to my FB wall asking who knew which school this was. When I went to school here in the mid-1980’s (it was the 5th-8th grade building for our two town community school district) it looked much different, the windows had been changed and a large tree in front. Dozens of people spoke up that they’d gone to school there and the wonderful stories from people who went to school with my mom down to those younger than me.

My husband absolutely hates Facebook and I get it…there’s so much BS out there. From time to time I’ll dig through old pictures or school albums and post a random, do you remember and leave it at that and the stories that come rolling and some getting longer and longer with others posting replies under other peoples comments. That is when FB can be so much fun and leave such a smile or sometimes even bring on a good belly laugh.

The biggest thread under the picture comes from a story of a guy a grade above me and his getting in trouble and being paddled. The story hasn’t come out as to what he did to get paddled, most of us only remember the incident…the ones who know aren’t spilling the beans.

Sometimes you just have to look back to the old days and start some good old story telling!


Thursday 25. January 2018

Day two of sun and everyone out and about for the day, Old Boy working and Bubba at school!  Life is good at the moment!


Doesn’t look like it, but a perfect day to throw the snow boots on and hang laundry out to dry.  We have quite a bit of melting going on today.  Last I asked Google was told it was 34 degrees F.

The in-laws gave us a Google gadget for Christmas.  They have one they use a lot, they ask it to play modern country when they are going out and about and leaving the dog home.  We use it mainly for weather.  We have to laugh from time to time being it doesn’t know how to pronounce our three lettered town and spells it out each time we ask for the temperature.  Sometimes when I’m washing dishes or folding laundry I’ll ask it to tell me a story.  It’s interesting.


Having been working on a temperature afghan for Old Boy and my 25th wedding anniversary come the end of May.  This is all January 1 through March 1, 1993.  If you’ve never heard of temperature blankets, it’s a fun thing.  I set mine up in 15 degree segments although I usually do 10.  Take the high temperature for each day and make one row in the color that the temperature falls into.  15 and below is Ivory, 16 to 30 is Brown, and so on.

Have made one for my folks’ and Old Boy’s folks’ 50th and our closest friends’ 25th.  Something a little different and fun. I make out a chart with what each color stands for and a write out of the high temp for each day to go with each blanket.  They are time consuming, but fun!


Had Bubba drag out my Gramma’s box of albums the other day, was blessed to get several of them.  Gramma kept EVERYTHING, obviously where I get it!  Didn’t find the picture that I was looking for but found some amazing pictures I’d obviously never paid close enough attention to recall ever seeing although I’ve gone through these albums dozens and dozens of times since a little kid staying with her.

So glad she kept everything!  Letters I wrote her when we lived out in Lex when The Girl was a baby, cards I made her when I was in elementary school, some of my mom and her siblings report cards, pictures they drew and so on.  Obituaries, funeral papers, church letters, even her own graduation invitation from 1936.  I can lose myself for hours.

I remember my mom telling me about this fellow above.  My Grampa and Dom worked together in California at the Mare Island Naval Yard during World War II together.  After moving back to Iowa in the mid-1940’s the two continued to call one another every Christmas.  Wonderful memories!

Have been making great progress lately on Old Boy’s side of the family ancestry!  Wish my family lines would be more agreeable!  Most of his lines go back way further than mine here in the states, most starting out in the east and staying for many years before heading to Iowa.  I get so tickled by some of the things I find and no one here is interested in the least.  The past two weeks or so I’ve discovered two and three times grandparents on his side that are buried a county over in two different directions…so excited for the spring to come and go visit them.  Always bring flowers for them, figuring so far removed that they haven’t had flowers in ages and that they’d like it.

Yes, I’m one of those.  A year or so ago while talking with one of Old Boy’s aunts and uncles, we were talking about needing to decide where we were wanting to be buried and getting our plots.  Our close by cemetery where several of both our families are buried is where the four of us all decided was where we wanted to be.  Uncle said he wanted to be as close to his folks as he could, in the newer part of the cemetery…I said I wanted to be in the older section, it’s so beautiful over there.  Uncle asked why being we didn’t know anyone over there to talk to!  He gets me!  That’s the way I talk…Aunt and Old Boy just kinda shook their heads.  Our kids hate it when we get onto the cemetery topic and will tell us they’d like it if we changed the subject.  Part of life.

Suppose it’s about that time…perfect day to take out what needs to be burned and maybe take the big dog for a walk!