Yearly Trek: Grandma and Grandpa's Family Farm

Arizona woman recalls road trips to her grandma and grandpa's family farm in Missouri during the Dust Bowl

| Good Old Days

The yearly trek to Grandpa's family farm in Missouri from the Colorado dust bowl plains in the late 1920s and early '30s was always something for me to look forward to. It was a straight-line journey through the state of Kansas, where the grasshoppers would land on the car's hood emblem and I would want my dad to go faster and get ahead of them-I can still hear him laugh! There was no air conditioner in the car, but I do remember stopping and getting drinks of water at windmills along the way. We all drank from the long-handled dipper that was attached to the windmill's frame-I don't remember my mother ever worrying about us getting any disease by drinking from the public dipper. There weren't any rest stops or bathrooms either.

Grandpa's barking dog announced our arrival. Grandpa would amble out and ask my dad how much he paid for his new car before we ever got out. I don't remember Grandmother coming out; she was always standing with open arms inside the kitchen.

She was short and fat, always wearing a long dress, her hair pulled up in a knot and standing firm in her lady "somebody" shoes. Her face was creased with wrinkles, her hands worn by many years of hard work, but as she pressed you to her bosom you only felt love and comfort and contentment.

The old black cookstove had the coffeepot on, and the massive buffet held Grandpa's cookies and bread. Daddy used to get Mother to wash the inside of the coffeepot really good as he said the coffee was so strong (they never threw out the grounds-just added more along with some eggshells), and Grandpa would swear up and down that the coffee wasn't fit to drink.

I really don't remember what we had to eat while we were there. I do remember when Grandpa would lather the old white oleo (before it had the yellow capsule you mixed in) on a piece of bread about an inch thick-it made me think of someone plastering a house. The spoon holder with the grape design that sat on the table graces my table now.

West of the farm a tiny little brook ran through a grove of persimmon trees. We played in the grass and the little pebbles in the brook while the many birds serenaded my brother and me. We built boats out of leaves and scraps of tree bark and played many make-believe games. What a contrast that little grove of trees, the singing brook and the grass were to where we lived in Colorado. Sixty years later I went looking for that oasis. It was no longer there-and neither were my grandparents.

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