Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oscar at 27

He was a handsome young bachelor in North Dakota; one of the few young farmers who had his own car. He had this picture taken to give to the seventeen-year-old girl he loved and planned to marry. Recently I asked that girl if she had a picture taken to give to him as well. "No," she said, "I didn't have the money to get a picture taken." Seventy-five years ago Oscar married Viola. She was barely eighteen. As they started their life together, the country was on the brink of the great depression, the dust bowl, hard times for farmers. Those first years were not easy. In fact they were very, very hard. They planted gardens and they did not even come up; crops failed. I asked how they made it through those years. It was the cows. Each set of parents gave them a cow for a wedding gift. From those wedding gifts came calves, milk, cream, butter to sell and meat to eat. In the midst of these very hard times, what is amazing to me is that each child who was born was a wanted child, a valuable human being, a special gift. And every two or three years there was another child. Yes, they hung together, they persevered, they built a home, a family, a life. In the process they gave me the gift of life, the gift of stability, the gift of acceptance, and the gift of a wonderful example of how a family should be. Thanks, mom and dad!

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