Pioneer Potluck: About being adopted

  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017 8:28pm
  • LifeFood

A farm in Northern Colorado


Dad always had an explanation for everything, whether it was long or short, right or funny. He could find the funny side of most people and stories. He also loved to tell jokes — over and over and over!

He laughed harder than anyone that he was telling the joke or story to. Sometimes he would not get through the whole joke or story without breaking down and laughing uncontrollable.

His best friend for years was Rev. Marcus Grether, our Presbyterian Minister of the Fort Collins Church that we belonged to. I do not know whether Dad told this story or Rev. Grether, but Dad always told it like it was his own story — just maybe it was! Seems the preacher and this “farmer-dad” were walking into the barn with the milk pail to do the late evening milking chores. He was tired from being on a tractor all day and in a bit of a hurry. He called the milk cows into the barn. Locked them in the stanchions and sat down on the three legged milk stool. Just then his 12-year-old son came running in.

“Dad, Dad, I need some help with the geography questions — can you help me?”

The “farmer-dad” turned around on his stool, looked at his son and began to explain right then and there! He looked at his son and took the time explaining the questions. When all were answered and the son was satisfied, the “farmer-dad” turned around and started milking.

The preacher-man asked “Why did you take the time right now? You could have waited until you got all your chores done and went into the house to answer all those questions.” The “farmer-man” said very thoughtfully, “Because he may never come this way again and I may never get another chance to answer his questions.”

This fits our Dad. He loved to tell stories with a moral, and loved to listen to them so he could repeat them with his own twist. Which leads me to the title story!

I was running as hard as my 6-year-old legs could to keep up with Dad’s fast pace to the milk barn with pail in hand.

“Dad, Dad, how come Butch has black hair, Ginger has pretty curly auburn hair, Mom has black hair, and YOU have auburn hair and I have the white straight stingy stuff? (He called me “Cotton Top.”)

Being in his “unusual” hurry, he shot back at me, “Oh, honey I found you in the wood pile.” I stopped in my tracks! I looked at him as he hurried off. I started to cry. He thought he had answered my question and went on to milk the cows.

I knew it — I just knew it — I was adopted! My hair didn’t match anyone else’s. I went into a worry-wart state, about being adopted and who was my real family and where I came from. For several years I worry about it, until I was 12. We were doing our usually Sunday, after fried chicken dinner, entertainment. Dad’s nephew and wife were visiting. Dad got out the family picture album and we would listen to the endless stories Dad would tell (again!).

As he turned the page my eyes fell upon the photograph of my Grandma Cogswell (Mom’s mother).

“I look like Grandma!” I shouted scaring the half sleeping audience.

Dad turned his head slowed in utter amazement. “Well, of course you do!”

I shouted at him “And I am not adopted?”

Dad shot a startled glance at me, “Well, who ever told you that?” I never revealed my secret and never said a word or offered an explanation. From then on I never worried about being adopted. And I loved my Grandma even more.

I never ever told Dad. He would have laughed at me, anyway!

The Pioneer Potluck series is written by 50-year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski. Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her mother, a self-taught wonderful cook. She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day. Grannie Annie can be reached at

More in Life

Minister’s Message: The power of small beginnings

Tiny accomplishments lead to mighty successes in all areas of life

A copy of “Once Upon the Kenai: Stories from the People” rests against a desk inside the Peninsula Clarion’s offices on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Hidden history

‘Once Upon the Kenai’ tells the story behind the peninsula’s landmarks and people

Artwork by Graham Dale hangs at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. These pieces are part of the “Sites Unseen” exhibition. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Apart and together

‘Sites Unseen’ combines the work of husband and wife pair Graham Dane and Linda Infante Lyons

Homemade garlic naan is served with a meal of palak tofu, butter chicken, basmati rice and cucumber salad. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Naan for a crowd

When it comes to feeding a group, planning is key

P.F. “Frenchy” Vian poses with a cigar and some reading material, probably circa 1920, in an unspecified location. (Photo courtesy of the Viani Family Collection)
Unraveling the story of Frenchy, Part 6

The many vital chapters in the story of Frenchy fell into place

Jesus, God of miracles, provides

When you are fishing or eating them, remember how Jesus of Nazareth used fish in some of his miracles

Sugar cookies are decorated with flowers of royal icing. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Blooming sugar cookies

These sugar cookies are perfectly soft and delicious, easy to make, and the dough can be made long in advance

Minister’s Message: What God wants you to know

Do you ever have those moments when you turn toward heaven and ask God, “What do You want with me?”

Most Read