Pioneer Potluck: About Dad, the farmer

  • By Grannie Annie
  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 3:56pm
  • LifeFood

Northern Colorado

1936-1955

 

Have you heard or read the speech that Paul Harvey gave in 1978 at the National FFA Convention? The words “So God Made a Farmer” are wonderful and very inspiring. The first thing that comes to my mind is our dad, John McClure.

Dad got up at dawn or before to tend to the irrigated crops, milked cows, feed his cattle and horses, make sure they had water, pat “Old Pup’s” head, give the kitties some milk in the barn. He carried the full milk pail into the house and poured milk in the jars to be refrigerated. He ate a great breakfast that my mom had made for him and us kids, washed up and shaved, put on his Sunday go-to-meeting clothes and took us all to church. We took the long way to church, as he picked up all the neighborhood kids to go with us. At one time there was 14 kids packed in that old pea-green four-door Dodge. Dad would sing his heart out driving into town and expected us all to sing with him. He would look in the mirror to see if we were singing and if we weren’t he gave us the “stink eye.” It was fun and we loved every minute of it. The memories I recall today are priceless.

We were the only Irish family in a mostly German-Russian community. Dad would say “just remember you are Irish” and Mom would say in her scolding voice “now remember, you ARE Irish and don’t do anything to make your dad be ashamed of you!” That simple statement kept me out of a lot of trouble! “What would your dad think?” was pounded into our head. Actually Mom’s background was English and Austrian-German and Dad’s was Irish. But in Mom’s eyes we were all Irish and she would add “and don’t you forget it! And our last name is McClure. And don’t you forget it!”

I never knew what nationality our neighbors were because during World War II, the Germans became Russians and after the war some switched back to German. Dad teasingly called his friends “Rooshins.”

It did not matter very much to me because the kids were my friends. I got to go to their houses and eat such wonderful dishes as Kraut Burgers, a most delicious cabbage pocket. (Cabbage and hamburger wrapped in a soft bread dough and then baked.) Or go to Betty Schmidt’s house for dill pickles that were fermented down in the dirt basement in a crock — my goodness those were good! You just reached your hand in the crock and grabbed a pickle out of the brine — no matter where your (or anyone else’s) hands had been before that. Eileen Lauck’s mom was a good cook and different things on the table were so interesting and tasted so good to me.

Geraldine Dietz seemed to have apple pie at her house all the time. The Winnicks were good friends of Dad’s. Their kids were older, in high school.

The farm next to our farm were Italians. Tony and Mrs. Aranci, their pretty daughter JeanAnn and their son Duane, who became (and still is) a good friend of my brother John. Mrs. Aranci called her husband Anthony. We all enjoyed Anthony playing his violin. We all thought it was most fascinating! Dad would smile and clap whenever he finished a song. Dad called him Toni. He would bring his “fiddle” as Dad teasingly called it, to our house. He and I would play good music as I tried to keep up on the piano. He very patiently taught me to play along with him. He was a good teacher. He played for square dances with my piano teacher Kathryn Sutherland, in the Sutherland barn. Those dances did not last long and I do not know why. I enjoyed them so much.

The last names of our farmer neighbors were Aranci. Winnicks, Schmidts, Dietz, Triples, Klings, Buderus, Strobles, Shields and Reins and of course McClures! Good hard-working friendly farmers.

Dad never cut corners as he plowed, harrowed and seeded his fields. In earlier days he used three big horses, Barney, Babe and Dan. My biggest memory is Dad hefting me up on the back of one of the big draft horses and telling me to hang on, as those gentle wide backed horses took their time going to the barn after a big day in the fields. Dad would unharness them, rub them down, feed them oats, pat each one the rump as they went out to the water tank for long drinks of water. I sat on the milk stool in the barn and watched this gently man — my Dad.

Always smiling, always willing to help his neighbor and always ready to tell a story or a joke with his smiling Irish eyes and big grin. He held one of his kids on his lap and scooted another up beside him and put his big arms around them. Yes, we as family, were proud of what our dad did. Because God made him a farmer!

 

Note: I wrote this article Sunday Morning and then watched the AMC awards Sunday Evening with Bob. There on television was the very Paul Harvey poem I had written about! Bob and I were speechless — so this article mean a bunch more to me now.

 

If you would like a copy of the Paul Harvey speech, e-mail me at anninalaska@gci.net and I will be glad to e-mail you a copy. It is priceless. Thanks to my sister Ginger I have my copy!

More in Life

Homer students pose after their performance from the musical Shrek on Saturday after the three-day Broadway Bootcamp theater workshop with director Jim Anderson in October 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Emilie Springer/ Homer News)
Intensive Broadway Bootcamp offered in Homer in August

During the five-day bootcamp, youth participants will work with top performing artist educators to develop leadership skills through theater arts.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Young actors rehearse their production during a drama camp put on by the Kenai Performers in their theater near Soldotna on Thursday.
Kenai Performers’ drama camp trains young actors, puts on ‘super’ show

When they arrived, most of the actors had never performed before, but in just a week they’ll put on a real show

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
A copy of Howard Weaver’s “Write Hard, Die Free” rests on an ink-splotched guard rail in front of the Peninsula Clarion’s defunct Goss Suburban printing press on Thursday.
Off the Shelf: ‘Write Hard, Die Free’ an exciting and incisive window into history of Alaska, journalism

Immediately after the death of legendary Anchorage reporter and editor Howard Weaver, I picked up a copy of his memoir

This 1961 drawing of the Circus Bar, east of Soldotna, was created by Connie Silver for a travel guide called Alaska Highway Sketches. The bar was located across the Sterling Highway from land that was later developed into the Birch Ridge Golf Course.
A violent season — Part 1

Like many such drinking establishments, Good Time Charlies usually opened late and stayed open late

Dillon Diering and Sarah Overholt dance while the Tyson James Band performs during the 45th Annual Moose Pass Summer Solstice Festival in Moose Pass, Alaska, on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘We’re about community’

Moose Pass throws 45th annual Summer Solstice Festival

This summer salad is sweet and refreshing, the perfect accompaniment to salty meat and chips. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Fueling happy memories

Fresh salad accompanies an outdoors Father’s Day meal

File
Minister’s Message: The way life will be

“Is this the way it was all meant to be? Is this what God had in mind when He created us?”

Photo provided by Art We There Yet
José Luis Vílchez and Cora Rose with their retired school bus-turned-art and recording studio.
‘It’s all about people’

Traveling artists depict Kenai Peninsula across mediums

Promotional Photo courtesy Pixar Animation/Walt Disney Studios
In Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Anger (voice of Lewis Black), Fear (voice of Tony Hale) and Disgust (voice of Liza Lapira) aren’t sure how to feel when Anxiety (voice of Maya Hawke) shows up unexpectedly. Directed by Kelsey Mann and produced by Mark Nielsen, “Inside Out 2” releases only in theaters Summer 2024.
On the Screen: ‘Inside Out 2’ a bold evolution of Pixar’s emotional storytelling

Set only a year after the events of the first film, “Inside Out 2” returns viewers to the inner workings of pre-teen Riley

Most Read