Our visits to the grandparents were always fun. My grandparents on my dad’s side were totally into farming. They had a huge farm, located not far from our farm, with many animals, and acres and acres of corn, oats, soybeans and flax. Besides my two uncles that were still living at home, Mike and Lyle, they always had hired help—as many as they needed. And grandpa was always working too. And so was grandma. She was the brains of the outfit—much more than grandpa. She kept the books, made the schedules, and I think even made sure grandpa got up in the morning to milk the cows! And then after the early chores were done, all the workers came in for breakfast, which grandma had all ready for them on the big kitchen table. Breakfast was always a big deal—eggs, bacon, pancakes, juice, milk, coffee, whatever you wanted.
I guess you could say that when we came over to visit, nothing stopped just for us. The farm work had to keep going and we understood that. Many times, us kids would just set in the living room and watch TV. That was fun for us because we didn’t have TV at our farm. I also remember walking around in the barn while the milking was going on.
Everything on Grandpas farm was so much more modern and bigger than on our farm. All the milking was by machine, and unlike our old wood barn, grandpa’s barn was made of shiny, silver-looking metal; and it was huge! And all their buildings looked modern and huge. And their tractors and machinery looked so new. And they had horses, which we didn’t have.
And they also had other properties. Besides their farm in Montevideo, they also had land in South Dakota, where they had Black Angus cattle—hundred of them. I remember riding with grandpa and my dad one day to check on them. Grandpa said he just needed to check to see if they had enough salt blocks, and also to see if there were any new calves.
I liked grandpa. He laughed at my stories (when I was about 7), and he told stories to me too. Unlike my dad, grandpa was a hunter. He hunted deer and pheasants, and even rabbits. And he always had his rifle in his pickup truck. I remember once when I was with him hunting rabbits. The way he would do it was just to shoot them out the window of his truck as we drove through the fields. I heard some stories about grandpa after he died, that he would go into town to drink, and that he had a wild side. I never knew that about him. I guess for some reason grandma and my parents wanted to hide that from us. But I still have always liked him.
Next post: part 2.