Follow by Email

Down on the farm

Down on the farm
Out of the woods.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Ezekiel 36:28  And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.
Exodus 28:2 “Make special clothes for your brother Aaron. These clothes will give him honor and respect.
2 Corinthians 5  We know that our body—the tent we live in here on earth—will be destroyed. But when that happens, God will have a home for us to live in. It will not be the kind of home people build here. It will be a home in heaven that will continue forever. But now we are tired of this body. We want God to give us our heavenly home. It will clothe us and we will not be naked.
John 13:34-35 “I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.”

I think I have mentioned before that my cousins are the siblings I did not have.  I looked forward to summers spent with Terry and Pris, Marlene, and Charles.  The big guys Colin,  and Dwayne were far too old to be companions, but around just enough to keep us careful. When we were younger Terry would come to our home in Rochester, MN for the summer.  We spent happy days roaming the medical museum, the historic museum, the Mayo Clinic, and whatever wonders Terry's inquisitive mind searched out. He was good at that...Terry could make fun happen from a trip to the store.  When we moved to Iowa I usually went to Terry's. We rambled the town, visited friends and cousins, walked out to Cocoa Beach, and baby-sat for money to spend for movies and cherry cokes at the drug store.  We hitched rides to  Washington, or to Grandma's out on the St. Claire Road so we could walk to the swimming pool at the country club. We were not members but someone always would sign us in. We sat up nights in the breathless Missouri heat and talked of futures and plans, dreams and movies, books and wishes, and what to do tomorrow.  We loved one another, as only two lonely onlies can love. We fostered dreams, we shared hurts and fears, we looked after one another.
It was a much simpler world. No one thought anything of two young teens wandering the streets and highways.  We were clean, decently dressed and minded our manners so we were accepted where ever we went.
One night we went to the Muny Opera in St. Louis, the show may have been ROBERTA, with Bob Hope. Afterward we stopped at a bistro for a sandwich and coke before the hour ride home.  Some how we'd miscalculated our money, or maybe it was lost or any rate we hadn't  enough cash to pay the bill.  I sat nervously nursing the rest of my coke while Terry ran to a nearby hotel and cashed a check.  Can you imagine such a thing today? The hotel cashed his check, the Bistro gave us no problems, and we went our embarrassed way.
Although you can be sure we checked our cash more carefully from then on, it didn't slow us down.  Once discovered, St. Louis was our goal, just a bus ride away. We did progressive dinners, beginning with a famous salad at a certain restaurant, and so on through 4 or 5 course meal.  We slipped into night clubs to hear the jazz, or comedy and no one questioned us as long as we did not order liquor.  Not a problem, we were there for the fun, the laughter and entertainment, booze was for adults at the American Legion at home, where the folks were. Where we avoided being and our absence was rarely noted.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Children of the American Revolution

On the eve of the Fourth of July, I want my children to know their own history. This story was hand written by Grandma Blanche Campbell Downs, my mother. I believe she copied it from a genealogy book researched and written by a Gideon cousin. Next time you are here, ask to see this. 
James Isham Gideon was born in Cork, Ireland in AD 1749 of Irish parentage. His father was a hatter (he made and sold hats) by trade and in humble circumstances.(I'm guessing this meant they were really poor!)
He (James) and his two half brothers landed in Norfolk, Va about August of 1764. They settled in Roanoke County, Va. on a large tract of land where they engaged in farming until the Revolutionary War. They joined the Continental Army under Washington and served during the war. (James) Emigrated to Hawkins Co., Tenn. on a farm on War Creek. (the parcel of land was his payment for serving in the army) He died in 1832.(He was 83) He was a Federalist or Anti-Tory, a hard shell Baptist and a Mason.
James G. Gideon (4th child) son of Isham Gideon #1 and Nancy Miller was born in 1822 in Tennessee. He died August 22 1874 in Franklin County MO. (aged 73) His first wife was Martha Eliza Parman? (I am not sure of the spelling.)  They married in Feb. of 1847 in Laurel Co. KY. She died May 12, 1865 in MO leaving 5 small children. On Oct 20, 1859 James married Lurana Butcher in Wright Co., MO. She was born in 1834 in Hawkins Co. TN and died in Franklin Co, MO in 1873.
During the Civil War he, along with his widowed mother and sister in law's family went to Franklin Co, MO for safety. They left Wright Co., known as Gideon Valley, to escape outlaws and bushwackers. When they returned after the war, all their property was destroyed. He sold his Wright Co. land and became a prosperous farmer in Franklin Co., MO. Both James and Lurana are buried on their Old Mill Creek Farm.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


When I was about 11 years old I pitched a real fit. It is the only time I ever remember throwing a fit and certainly the only time it worked. 
But this was beyond the pale. Daddy was going to visit Grandpa Downs and planned to go alone.
Since Grandpa lived with us for a year when I was six, we had been good buddies. He'd taught me to use the Dewey decimal system, and I used it to fetch his reference books for his grand
opus, the HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY. Since Grandpa moved to Evanville, IN and we had moved to Rochester, MN I had not seen my pal. We had spoken, and written occasionally, but had spent no time together at all and now Daddy was going to see him and leaving me home! They were going to go to some race in Indianapolis and Uncle Gene and cousin Jimmy were going, too.
It was SO unfair that Jimmy could go see Grandpa and see the race and I was being left home. Somehow this argument worked.
We were hitching a ride with a pilot who was delivering a 3 seater to it's new owner. I do not recall what kind of plane it was, certainly not the usual Cessna 140 or 170...for one thing it
did not have a tricycle landing gear, which interested me. How my father ended up in the pilot seat I do not know, but we took off into a beautiful blue yonder, and sailed past cotton puffs
and through rays of warming sun. I was small enough to fit in the single passenger seat in back, but I was crammed round with dufflel bags and luggage and barely had room to turn the
pages of my book. I must have drifted off, and when I woke we were circling the airport at Joliet. The familiar sinking feeling in the stomach told me we were losing altitude quickly. Maybe too quickly? Daddy kicked the rudder, nearly standing on it, pulling the stick so hard I could feel the constriction in my knees.....he was trying to turn the landing into a touch and go, but the plane was having none of it. The nose refused to lift and with a sickening thud the left landing gear crushed in on itself and the right wheel circled around it in a neck wrenching ground loop. The sudden halt threw me hard against the seat belt I still wore, then smoke drifted up from the overheated engine. Hands were pulling on me, 
jerking at the belt latch, dragging me roughly through the hatch, over the wing and onto the tarmac. Under the boiler suit, I defined a woman's figure, stocky and strong enough to hold
all 110 pounds of me in her arms. She set me down, patted me over, checked me out thoroughly and asked if I would like a cookie. I've never turned down a cookie in my life, so I said
yes, of course. Behind us the crunched plane was being sprayed down with fire retardant. I have no idea where my father was in all this time. Not by me. 
We took a train to Indianapolis and met up with Grandpa, Uncle Gene and Jimmy. We got to Indy, spent the night and got up early the next morning to get out to the track. Grandpa did not go. 
Even then, the Brick Yard was an amazing sight. We climbed nearly to the top of the bleachers. It was sunny and hot, and I was soon fried and miserable. After an eternity Bill Vukovich won. 
After dinner I was abandoned in the hotel room with a radio and a Gideon Bible for company while the "men" went out. I didn't 
even get to spend any time with Grandpa. The following day we took a long slow train ride back to Rochester. 
I spent most of the time wishing I'd lost the battle to attend the 1954 Indy 500.