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Pansy Grandma

by Donald Mehl  
6/21/2008 / Family

When I was of grade school age in the 1940's, I would spend 2-3 weeks each year during the summer on my grandparent's farm. I have many memories of those visits.

There was no electricity and no plumbing. Horses were used for pulling all of the farm equipment, hay wagons, etc. There was a tractor on the farm, but it was rarely used because of the difficult time starting the engine using a hand crank. The cows were milked twice a day by hand, then, buckets of milk were carried to the hand operated milk/cream separator. Of course, the barn cats were always nearby at milking time, noisily anticipating a quick handout. Everything done on the farm was done manually, for that was all that was known back then.

Grandma would re-fill the lanterns each day with fresh fuel. She would gather baskets of eggs from the chicken house twice a day. The laundry washing machine had a gasoline engine that grandma would operate, then, she would hang the clothes outside to dry. She would carry pails of fresh water to the house each day from the windmill pump down by the barn. The black iron cook stove in the kitchen burned dry corncobs that she would collect from the hog feed lot. The stove also provided hot water from its built-in tank for cooking and personal use. A fresh baked loaf of bread and cookies were always there to enjoy.

In those days there were no vacuum cleaners, no refrigerators, and no kitchen appliances. Open windows provided all the air conditioning needed. Saturday night baths were done in a metal tub on the kitchen floor, each of us taking our turn. Life was hard and the work was difficult, but grandma did it without complaining and actually seemed to enjoy it. I remember her allowing me to "help out" with many of those chores.

However, the things she enjoyed the most were growing flowers and tending her garden. She grew flowers and vegetables from seeds she carefully collected and saved from the previous year's blooms and fruit. Although she had many varieties, her favorite flower was the pansy. Grandma grew them in small pots in the house, in window boxes outside, and some were grown in flowerbeds pansies of all colors and sizes. I recall laughing with her as we looked at the different pansy "faces" on the flowers each having its own personality.

She always said she was my "pansy grandma" and that's what I called her. Those memories have stuck with me for more than 60 years. I don't have any grandchildren and probably never will, but if you have them, spend quality time with them and fill their precious little heads with memories they will remember long after we're gone.

God bless!

During retirement, my prayer is that I might serve the Lord by sharing the Gospel through my writing. As the Lord leads, my work will inform, challenge and encourage. I also enjoy Biblical theme woodcarving, Bible studies and Christian music. Watch, pray and keep looking up!

Donald Mehl

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