Saturday, May 8, 2010

Remembering Mom...

This is my first Mother's Day without Mom. I've already had moments when tears threatened to roll down my cheeks and I've let them flow. She's been gone from this earth since Dec. 18th and I still have moments when I want to pick up the phone and call her. She loved talking to her kids and never was too busy to linger in conversation. She listened well and also shared the "news" of her life with all the details and usually with some bursts of laughter. She was a wonderful mother and I am grateful for all that she imparted to me.

There are five of us who share her DNA.
Her first child was my brother Jim.

I came next nearly three years later.

I was followed eighteen months later by my sister Kathleen.

Next came my sister Barbara with only fifteen months between her and Kathy.

And then we were complete when my sister Margelyn arrived three years after Barb's birth.

We all joined last June to celebrate Mom's 90th birthday where we took these photos as we celebrated her long life. I would have some more special days with her as she declined in strength until the middle of December when she breathed the last of earthly air and began life in the presence of Jesus whom she had shared with me and so many others. The smile each family member received as we entered her room will never be forgotten. I am grateful for many things including the fact that she never forgot her own children nor our families.

Mom wasn't perfect but she loved her family and I'm grateful she was my mother. She held nothing back when loving and guiding us through life. I am blessed because she was my mother. I could not have chosen better.

Thanks, Mom, for sharing yourself and the Lord you loved and served with me so that I could spend a lifetime loving and serving Him also. I miss you but I know where you are and I can only imagine that you are "kicking up your heels" with Dad and having a blast!!! And hopefully the cows don't need milking every morning and evening to interrupt your fun times with family and friends!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Growing up on Buffalo Ridge #1...

November 1st is the anniversary of the day my family moved to the farm where most of my childhood was spent.  I repost this blog to share memories of that day in 1948 when I was nearly 4 years old. 

I have only a few memories of my first home which was on my Great-Grandmother's farm near Viroqua, WI - seventy-five miles from Fountain City, Wisconsin. Perhaps I will share some of those early memories later but I have decided to start this story as I begin life on the 200 acre farm my parents had just purchased.

My family moved to a dairy farm on Buffalo Ridge, November 1, 1948, about one month before I turned four years old. I had an older brother, Jimmy, and two younger sisters, Kathy and Barbie.

This farm was three miles from the small town of Fountain City, WI and seven miles from Winona, MN which could be reached by crossing a big bridge. It was on top of one of the beautiful, high bluffs that borders the Mississippi River.

"I remember the day we moved to our new farm home," I said as I told my grandchildren what I remembered.

"It was a day when the weather was very cold and rainy. The rain was turning to sleet as we drove the last few miles up the long dugway that led to our new farm. I was riding in the car with my mother and sisters while my Dad and brother were driving a truckload of equipment and a hired trucker was hauling our milk cows in his big truck.

"My most vivid memory is of that big cattle truck (original drawing by Joanna Lee Worden, age 9) as it drove up the driveway onto our property. The freezing rain was whipping dangerously through the open slats of the truck bed where the cows were crowding perilously. The truck had no partitions to keep the cattle separated. The incline of the dugway and the driveway, along with the treacherous weather conditions, caused the cattle to slip, slide and fall down in their bumpy ride to the farm. By the time my father and the truck driver were able to open the rear gate of the truck, most of the cattle could no longer stand up. As the gate opened, the cattle fell out, anxiously struggling to stand and find a way to their new barnyard. (Original drawing by Lydia Rose Worden, age 7)

"I watched this fearful sight from the back porch of our new home. The saddest part of that day was seeing that one of the cows did not stand up after she fell from the truck. That cow had been trampled to death by the other cattle as they endured the harsh conditions of the day and the move."

As I recalled that difficult day, especially for my parents, I realized that I was being shone one of my earliest lessons in how people who love God and trust Him with everything in their lives should respond to adversity.

"I do not remember any expressions of anger or hopelessness from my parents. They felt the loss of this cow deeply, I'm certain, as it was part of their livelihood, but they did not blame God for their misfortune. Their trust in God was built on a firm foundation and they would continue to live in commitment to Him even when difficult things happened."

I would see more examples of their faithful commitment to God as I grew up. And I'll continue my story later."