Monday, November 27, 2017

The Ancestors, Part 5

My Great Grandmother and Grandmother
Between two of Clyde’s trips to Keystone he stayed for ten days to haul sand for the new bank.  We really needed the money for we hadn’t had much money to bring with us and it was going to be at least two years before we could have income from the cattle that we hoped to raise.  First though, the place had to be fenced, a house and barn built and a well put down.  Clyde and Bob also took a contract to cut and stack some hay for a rancher living east of us.  We had brought a good mowing machine and rake and necessary hand tools.  Then there was Clyde’s violin.
On that first Fourth of July, the cowboys of the area really put on a big celebration in the new little town that was just started for a new county seat.  Rather County had been formed by the state when the land was opened for homesteaders.  By the Fourth of July there had been two buildings put up.  One was a big hall in which they could dance and Clyde and a young fellow who played guitar.  It was a hot day and someone had put up a big tent for people to eat in.  The smaller building was to be a store and they had a few supplies hauled in.  After dinner, everyone went out to watch the games the cowboys were putting on: horse races and potato races on horseback.  They put a big tub of potatoes at one end of the course and with long sharpened poles they tried to carry the most potatoes to another tub about a block across the street.  There was a wild time with the horse tearing back and forth and little boys trying to get out of their way.
I rode home with Bob and his wife, who had come over from their home to spend the Fourth.  The children were tired and so was I.  Clyde didn’t get home until nearly daylight.  If it was not moonlight the ranchers usually danced till it was light enough to see the trails.  This was the beginning of many long trips for Clyde to play for dances all over the area.  He often went on horseback, or sometimes was picked up by a crowd that got together to go a long way.  I tried going with them once or twice, but it was too hard on the children and me, too.  There was no such thing as a baby sitter in those days.  Clyde got a good trio together, a drummer, a good piano player and Clyde with his precious violin.  We practically lived on the money he earned that way.
We also had a Sunday school organized that summer.  A young missionary for the east came to the little tar-paper school house that had been built for the ranchers children, got a group together and organized a Sunday school that was as popular as the dances.  He held the first meeting in a bi tent, a picnic dinner affair.  There were seven different denominations represented.  Among the group was an elderly woman who was so right for the superintendent.  She was the mother of a young fellow that I had met when staying at the hotel in Keystone, and they turned out to be our adjoining neighbors on the west.  She and her husband made a radical change in their lives.  Mr. Wilson had been an officer at the big fort in Omaha.  Their young son who had come late in their lives wanted to be a cowboy, so they had bought a relinquishment, had a nice little four room house built on it and moved from their comfortable home in the city to this raw new country just to please their big red-headed son who knew nothing about cattle ranching and cows that he hadn’t learned at picture shows in Omaha.  He had a good little riding horse and a couple of wolfhounds to chase coyotes with.  But he did have beautiful manners.  His big hat always came off when he came in the house or met a lady and he automatically stood up when a lady was standing.  Gene Wilson was the object of many jokes, be he gradually learned the hard way.  And his mother was as good as a minister in our Sunday school meetings, which we kept going to as long as we were out there.  Later we had a larger schoolhouse, an organ, good songbooks and good membership.  It was the first Sunday school that some of the children had ever had the opportunity to attend.


Short But Sweet

I took a very short getaway with my daughter and grandkids.  We flew to our old stomping grounds in Santa Cruz, CA.  It was supposed to be t...