country treasures

Teach the older women to be quiet and respectful in everything they do. They must not go around speaking evil of others and must not be heavy drinkers, but they should be teachers of goodness. These older women must train the younger women to live quietly, to love their husbands and their children, and to be sensible and clean minded, spending their time in their own homes, being kind and obedient to their husbands so that the Christian faith can’t be spoken against by those who know them. Titus 2:3-5 Living Bible (TLB)

Again, on the subject of “scanned slides” please bear with me while I reminisce about the dear sweet Aunt who raised my mother and was the only grandmother I ever really knew.

Auntie is responsible for so many of my deeply ingrained personal characteristics.  Auntie is the inspiration for much of the writing found here at the Cottage.

AuntieFarm2

Oh how I long for the days of yesteryear…when the elderly were revered for their life experience and wisdom. Perhaps, just perhaps, if we weren’t a society that disregards and disrespects those over forty we would once more be a society that values our Godly foundations. I can remember when a hard working, praying, loving older woman in a family was considered a treasure instead of a burden. But then, I can also remember when “In God We Trust” was considered a blessing, not a controversial statement.

A few seasons back, we watched as an older couple participated in the popular TV reality series, “The Amazing Race.” They were asked why they chose to go through the very difficult physical challenges, and the wife said, “We wanted to show the viewers that older people are not insignificant, because in our country older people have become invisible.”  Now please understand…this post did not start out to be a rant about the invisibility of those over forty in the US.  It just sort of slipped over into said rant as I fondly recalled how much my Auntie influenced my life as compared to how little influence my life has been allowed to offer in the lives of the nine youngsters we call “grandchildren.”  But that’s another story, for another day. So.o.o ….end of rant. Back to Auntie’s farm.

Virgina.me.MaeBelle&Auntie,UncleAuntie and Uncle Carl (the couple on the right above) raised my mother (far left) and her older brother from the ages of 7 and 9. The boy, as strong-willed boys often do, decided he could manage better on his own, without the influence of strict Christian adults, and so ran away to seek his fortune in California at the age of 12. From the stories I’ve heard, his mother (my biological grandmother, holding my hand in the center of this photo) was working as the cook on a work-train crew headed for the coast and he went to travel with her. He and grandmother were rarely heard from after that time, but my mother lived with Auntie and Uncle until she went to Colorado State College to earn her teaching degree in the 1930’s.

The stories of mother’s growing up years are sketchy at best. I know she met my father before she finished earning her degree and married him soon after, against the wishes of her guardians. I know they (my parents) lived and worked in several places around Colorado until, seven years into their marriage when I came along. I know they operated Lily Lake Lodge, located seven miles south of Estes Park, Colorado on Highway 7 for seven years. I remember traveling down the mountain to Longmont to visit Auntie and Uncle Carl often. And I remember, with warm nostalgia, the amazing thrill of being on the farm.

GoldenAnniv6Uncle’s farm boasted a large population of cats and chickens, guinea fowl and various other creatures. They all came running from barns and sheds each morning when Auntie opened the back door carrying a large pan of scraps and any oatmeal left from breakfast to feed them. Nothing went to waste on the farm…ever. Because of the number of barn cats, there was often a litter of adorable kittens and Uncle Carl was only too happy to help me find them.  I especially remember one huge gray goose who became my personal nemesis. The ferocious fowl followed me everywhere I went, and on one especially terrifying occasion parked itself between me and the house threatening to flog and pinch if I couldn’t run away. Of course I screamed for help and everyone came running. Dad carried his camera…he thought it was hilarious, Auntie flapped her apron to shoo the goose back to the barn yard and grandma Belle hugged me tight and sympathized until my tears stopped. Mother, as usual, completely disapproved of the whole show.

There are so many things that I love to this day simply based on those special trips to the farm:

There are sights and sounds (the ticking of an antique school clock, the patter of rain on the shed’s tin roof, the crackle of the fire in the kitchen range) and smells (bread—fresh from the oven, strawberries right off the plant, straw and kittens and horses) that bring it all back in an avalanche of memories.

I’m so thankful for a childhood before video games and cell phones.  I wish I could share these country treasures with the children of today. I wish our world was not so quick to discard the simple in favor of the slick and shiny and the old, tried and true for everything that’s NEW.

see ya soon

some photos in this post were captured online, most are from Daddy's slide collection