• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Once There Was a Baby

How did your mother spend her day?

Did she have a job or do volunteer work outside the home?

Journal answer 4 March 2001

I really don’t know how mom spent her day but I can surmise from things I do know. 

On the right is a picture of her mother holding her as a young child.

Our family always had everything we really needed. I attribute that to her frugality and diligent hard work and innovative efforts.

Mom with unknown child 

I remember arriving home after school on very few occasions that she was not there. She might go to Lethbridge, one hour away by car, [usually caught a ride with a neighbor, Betty Stewart, Orva Smith, Necia Bennett, or maybe Delaine Lowry] to do shopping or just for the trip out of town.

Finding her not at home was as rare as finding there wasn’t any bread in the large bread drawer (that accommodated 10 loaves with room to spare). The bread in the drawer was always a Piranha feeding frenzy after school. We often saw bread in process as we came in from school and if it were just out of the oven –  too soft and hot to cut – we would just tear a loaf into pieces to eat with dripping butter (actually margarine) and/or honey or jam. Mother baked 10 loaves of bread 3 or 4 times a week. (One of the few treats we had on a regular basis were the cinnamon rolls she made from any dough left over from making the loaves of bread.)

Most often she was about some task: laundry, sewing, gardening, or other home-animal-and-farm care. She spent a lot of time taking care of the outdoors and indoors while dad was gone: wood and coal for the furnace, feeding animals, milking cows and separating off the cream, hauling water to drink and bathe before we had running water, and any other yard or garden chores that needed attention. Our garden was about ½ acre – I realize now that our diet consisted mostly of the vegetables raised in that plot and meat from the farm and hunting.

All else aside there were 10 of us kids and she spent much time keeping us all spotlessly clean and bathed, neatly dressed, and fed - I never remember ever being hungry; there were few treats but never were we hungry. In the mid 60’s mom and dad invited a student from the Indian Placement Program to live in our home for more than 10+ years. I heard her tell dad, “What difference does one more make?” 

One more meant one more around the 8'x 4' table adding up to 13, one more sandwich each morning on the lunch assembly line, AND one more helper: mom kept us as busy, and happily involved in all aspects of working and playing, as children can be.

I was so oblivious that I probably wouldn’t know she worked so hard if we hadn’t missed all she did when she was not home. Sometimes she would be visiting teaching or taking care of someone that needed help. Some days we knew to get off the bus where she was at – other days she would just wave the bus to a stop as it passed a house along the bus route where she happened to be and give some instructions to us and/or take the younger children with her.

In addition to all other things she served in many church organizations and callings. 

One of the adventures that was looked forward to each year was berry picking.  Everybody big and little, old and young went berry picking. We were always allowed to eat as many berries as we wished as long as we had a bucket and picked into it to contribute to the gallons of berries to be preserved for the winter months – except that they seemed to disappear VERY early in the winter - we loved to eat berries.  

Mother also took care of aging relatives. Some of my funnier memories are of grandparents living with us as their bodies and minds became feeble.  She was always so kind; to them and to us. We seldom went to a doctor - Mother took care of us – especially when one or more of us were ill.  It was amazing how she could discern the difference between fake and real illness.

My mother will celebrate her 80th birthday Thursday.  

I honor the noble, hard working, gentle, upright example you provided to me every day of my life, mom. I pay tribute to your 80 years - 80 years of struggles and striving, 80 years of infinite faith, 80 years of living and loving.


August 2010 birthday trip