On a farm in Northern Colorado
1940’s to 1955
Our Dad loved to go to Sunday School and Church. He also loved to drag every kid in the surrounding area along with him. It was not unusual to have from 10 to 14 kids packed in the pea green four door Dodge.
Saturday night was bath night. We polished our shoes. We decided what to wear to Sunday School and went to bed early.
Sunday morning Mom made a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon or sausage. Then we got ready for Sunday School. For some reason, we never called it Church.
Dad would go milk the cow, bring the pail of milk into the house, pour in jars and put it in the “fridger-rater.” He would wash his hands and face, shave and go into the bedroom to get dressed.
He had a ritual that never changed. He would stand in the closet in his boxer shorts and his vee-necked tee shirt, reach for his hat on the top shelf of the closet and put it on his head. He would unbutton the nicely starched and ironed white shirt, take it off the hanger and put it on, button up to the top button and stand in front of the mirror and put on his tie.
Next, he put his socks on, pulled his suit pants on, slipped into his shoes and tied them, put the belt through the loops and buckled it. Lastly, put his suit coat on, come out of the bedroom and say “You ready?” He would go out the kitchen door, after telling Mom goodbye and go sit in the car until we all got in, start the engine, put it in “go gear” and off down the dirt road we would go to Sunday school.
He picked up neighbor kids along the way but before we got to church we had to endure his singing! In his booming, mono-tone voice, he would belt out, “Oh That Strawberry Roan, Oh That Strawberry Roan. She was a sun-fishin’ son of a gun. She would jump through the air with the greatest of ease, she would turn on a dime and leave you some change. OHHH! That Strawberry Roan!” Then he would serenaded us with “Big Rock Candy Mountain, “whar” the mountains were candy and the clouds were fluff, the rivers were lemonade and*…….”
The closer to Sunday School we got, he would switch to hymns. “The Old Rugged Cross.” “ I Come To The Garden Alone, while the dew is still on the roses and He walks with me and He talks with me.”
Next song, one of his very favorites, “Into my heart, Come Into My Heart, Lord Jesus, Come Into My Heart.” Then, “Jesus Loves Me, This I know, Jesus Love Me This I know…..fooooorrr the Bible tells meeeee soooooo!”
When we turned a certain corner into Fort Collins, he would sing “Nearer My God to Thee.” All the songs were sung with one eye on the rear view mirror to see if everyone was singing with him. We got the “stink eye” if we were not! We owe our, out of tune, mono-tone voices, to our Dad. We did not mind his singing, as his loud voice was full of happiness, cheerfulness and love.
Dad parked at Church and we tumbled from the car, happily running up the stairs to our different class rooms for Sunday School. Dad taught a class with the same enthusiasm that he sang. Reading verses out of the Bible to his audience and telling stories that had great morals. His enthusiasm was contagious! We all, at one time, ended up teaching Sunday school or playing the piano in Little Church. This was taught by “Mrs. Reverend Grether” a little itty-bitty lady with a big, big smile and lots of love and kindness. Little Church was for little guys who could not sit still in Big Church, which had “Mr. Reverend Grether” as the minister.
Instead of just babysitting, she had Little Church, complete with rows of folding chairs, hymn books and Bibles on every seat. We were very important to her, which made us feel important. Anyone who could play the piano was the pianist. I had that honor for a while, as well as my sisters. It helped me get over my fright of being in front of people by playing the piano, however well I played. Mistakes were not mistakes in her book, she just sang over the top of the mistakes and the pianist would catch up whenever they could. What a grand lady!
There were snacks afterwards and the boys folded the chairs. When we heard Big Church let out we could go get our coats, help the little ones with theirs and wait for our parents to come down the stairs to get us.
We all ran to the car and after Dad shook hands and talked to several people, he would get in, look around to see if everyone was accounted for. We headed around the corner and down the street for Poudre Valley Creamery for the long awaited ice cream cone.
We all filed in to the creamery and each picked out their own flavor of hand dipped, wonderful tasting, ice cream. It was made right there from the cows milk that was gathered from the surrounding farms, including our Dads. We would file back into the car, sit way back in our seats and lick and lick and see who could make their ice cream last longest. Dad was always the first to finish his double decker.
Then we sang songs all the way home!
*My memory is not real keen on the verses to the songs!
About Ginger getting left at Church.
The Grannie Annie series is written by a 47 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 anninalaska@gci. net
The “Grannie Annie” Cook
Book Series includes: “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ on the Woodstove”;
“Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ at the Homestead”;
“Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ Fish from Cold Alaskan Waters”;
and “Grannie Annie’s Eat Dessert First.”
They are available at M & M Market in Nikiski.