Morrisons Cove Herald - Putting cows on the front page since 1885.

Old Order Mennonite Memoirs


December 12, 2019

"It was in May, 1918, that a new friend and companion came into my life: a character, a personality and a ring-tailed wonder. He weighed less than one pound when I discovered him, a furry ball of utter dependence and awakening curiosity, unweaned and defenseless. Wowser and I were immediately protective. We would have fought any boy or dog in town who sought to harm him."

So begins the story I began to read last week over the phone to Granddaughter Cassidy, age 9, and her brothers. Together we learn about a motherless boy who has many pets, including a Saint Bernard dog. Written by Sterling North himself in 1963, we meet Rascal and get caught up in his life as a delightful pet. I'll never get over the wonder of reading, not even today as I read to my grandchildren over the phone. It is a way to stay connected when miles between us prohibit much interaction.

But sometimes our grandchildren do come to our house. On Thursday when Lyla, age 2, and her brothers came, it was a happy day. I was ready and waiting for their arrival, but needed to dress for their plans, which was sled riding. Tyson, age 6, and Conner, age 3, were worried that our farm wouldn't have as much snow as their yard in Lafayetteville. It didn't, but it was enough for some sledding on the little steep hill beside the shed.

When that fresh air activity made Baby Sister too cold, we made a pile of boots, gloves and coats on the floor beside the wood stove and moved to the kitchen for some cooking endeavors. The cake turned out perfect, as did the cookies and it was fun to make cheesy dip for veggies at lunch time. After lunch when I was doing all the dishes they had fun in the basement with the ride toys. Lyla delighted in the basement steps themselves which are L-shaped and well-lighted with backs. Up and down she went, peeking at me when she came to the top.

Games, puzzles and stories swallowed up our whole afternoon. I was completely surprised when I looked at the clock to find only 15 minutes left to make supper. After those dishes we headed for the barn. Although Lyla was worried, she did like a wagon ride with her brother Conner. When we arrived at the calf hutches she began to cry in fear. I wasn't sure who was more scared, the calves or Lyla. We went around outside to the milk house to get milk for the babies before we went to feed the horses. For a trip to the cow stable where Dawdy was milking, I had all three of them sit on the wagon. During the trip through the main aisle, the cows had all the typical mannerisms for a disruption to their routine. With tremulous voice, Lyla told us she doesn't like Dawdy's 'moos'. Teardrops quivered on her cheeks as she clutched the wagon sides. I found a safe spot to calm her anxiety and to answer the questions from her brothers. When they had no questions, only dumbfounded stares, I filled in with information.

To their farm cousins, however, I can show and tell no such wonders to impress. Instead, we shared the joys of shopping and browsing at Spring Farm Greenhouses in Saturday afternoon's sunshine. Besides brilliant poinsettias and other live beauty, here we met friends, which included my sister and her family, even her two granddaughters. The time was too short but we needed to stop at Peach Hill on our way home. Even the unavoidable task of grocery shopping is more fun with three grandsons with me.

The sunny day was still here when I was unloading my spoils from my friend's mini van and the sound of fire sirens began to pierce the calm air. When the day had faded, the red and gold was in the sunset and not in the flames anymore, but the damage to the shop and storage shed which housed an outdoor furnace, was already done for our neighbors along Lock Mountain Road. As the night grew cold, however, fire was our friend.

A singing for the youth was along Ridge Road and at Piney Creek church the next morning, we were blessed with Cove visitors. We hurried to our warm house after the chilly buggy ride back home to share our meal with Bella, 14 months, and her parents. After dishes I was pleased to share books with her and show her how to feed a doll baby with a toy bottle.


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