I enjoy seeing all the photos and reading the stories on Facebook about Iowa farm families passing along the farm to the next generation.
I love the pictures of the little ones in the cab of a combine or next to the family tractor being held by dad, grandpa or another family member. They are precious.
These little ones will grow up one day and may take over the family farm and keep that tradition alive.
I’ve listened to many stories of families who have survived tough times to build a life, a family and their farm. I am looking forward to sharing more of these type of stories with my readers down the road.
Seeing all of this reminds me of my upbringing. Of course, I grew up in the city and not on a farm. It was different, but in some ways the same.
I still hold in my heart the many traditions and teaching of my parents to this day. The memories of getting up at 4:30 in the morning to throw Tulsa newspaper with my mom and helping my grandpa and dad mow yards. My mom used some of the money from the paper routes to make a payment on a 20-acre tract of land south of Tulsa near Bixby that she and Dad bought in 1974. They purchased a mobile home and moved to the farm in the early 1980s, later building a log cabin.
As I have mentioned before, my mom grew up in southeast Missouri’s Bootheel region where she picked cotton by hand on hot summer days and helped deliver “Grit” newspapers for her brother. Many years later, my brother, Tom, had a “Grit” newspaper route in and around the Bixby area to make extra money.
My dad enjoyed visiting and he often took over the route and made the delivers for Tom so he could visit with the neighbors.
My dad grew up east of Tulsa where he helped the family raise corn and other crops. I don’t think it was an easy life by any measure. He once told me about the time in the 1940s when the river went over its banks and flooded the area twice. It knocked the corn stalks down, but didn’t damage the corn. My Dad and his brother, Charley, hand-picked the corn that year and made enough money that their father was able to purchase an Allis Chalmers tractor and harrow.
My mom followed an uncle and aunt to Tulsa from Missouri after graduating from Van Buren High School in Van Buren, Mo. in 1955. She met my dad through a mutual friend. They had their first date and married three months and one week later on June 15, 1957.
My dad always said there was no reason to wait. I didn’t inherit that gene as I was one day from my 45th birthday when I married Debbie.
Anyway, my dad loved to fish and my folks often spent the weekends at Oologah Lake northeast of Tulsa in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Later on, we started traveling and camping at other Oklahoma lakes. One of our favorites was Greenleaf Lake southeast of Tulsa. We also traveled and camped to such places as Niagara Falls, Nashville, San Diego and many times, we’d travel to southeast Missouri to camp, fish and spend time with my Mom’s family.
My mom cooked on a Coleman stove using her iron skillet and a set of pans by Regal Ware called a Picnic Pack. They were known as “the pans that stack.”
There were four utility pans and a skillet. The pans had a removable handle used to move them on and off the fire. They also had a locking handle that held the pans together, making them easy to carry.
For some reason, I kept the Coleman stove and opted to sell the set of pans in the family estate auction in April 2011. I think they sold for 50 cents. I kind of wish I hadn’t done that.
For several years, I searched for a reasonably priced replacement set and happened to find a brand new set still in the box this past summer for $18 at an antique store in Kirksville, Mo. I’ve seen them for as much as $50 plus at antique stores.
The next day, I got on the telephone and bought them with a credit card.
Debbie and I made a trip to Kirksville late last month on my birthday and picked up the pans and purchased a few other items.
I’m sure I will never use the pans, but I will have them as reminder of the days of my youth and the importance of keeping family traditions and memories alive.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.