Simple Pleasures on a South Dakota Homestead

A German Mennonite settles on a South Dakota homestead.

| Good Old Days

Born in Europe, Grandpa Henry Boese came to America with other Mennonites. He and his wife homesteaded between Freeman and Marion, South Dakota. That South Dakota homestead was a source of much simple joy and fulfillment.

They lived in an unusual house – a house joined to a barn. The dividing wall was thick, and the barn was kept very clean. Two oxen, big, strong and slow, lived in the barn, and later cows were kept there.

How happy we were when we could go to Grandpa's house! At Thanksgiving and Christmas, when the days were cold, Mother would heat bricks in the oven and wrap them in gunny sacks to keep our feet warm during the eight-mile trip by buggy. Our cheeks would be rosy and our hands cold before we reached our destination.

At the house the women greeted each other with hugs and tender words. Grandpa had pink peppermints for each child and later we tasted his newly processed honey.

We ate on benches or on a green wooden trunk. The knives and forks had wooden handles. How delicious were the homemade bread and the ground cherry or blackberry pie! Grandpa had an orchard of mulberries, apples, currants, chokeberries and plums.

We children tested our skill in drawing water from the well in the oaken bucket. We jerked the rope to tip the pail at the bottom, and then we pulled the rope which was around a pully at the top.

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