Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Labor of Love

When I was growing up early in life, my dad worked on building things in construction, and also building bridges, then when I was ten years old we moved to Utah and lived on a 45 acre farm, and dad worked at the Geneva Steel Plant to help build it, and we ran the farm, and milked cows. Then four years later we moved to Idaho and bought an 85 acre farm, but my dad still worked on construction jobs to help pay the bills and to support his sweetheart and 6 children who were still at home. Then there was a financial crisis, and we were about to lose the farm. Through fasting and prayer, my dad got a call from an old construction company he hadn't worked for in 10 years, asking him to go to Alaska to help build Quonset huts for the army there. The pay was much higher, and they would fly him there. So he took the job, and flew to Alaska with one of his former construction buddies, and they stayed there for four years with the exception of being allowed to come home once a year in the middle of winter for one month.
When he went to Alaska, we didn't know if we were going to make the deadline for the farm payment of $1000, and mom had received a notice from the bank that the loan would be foreclosed on by the former owner who had ripped off my folks, as when they bought the place, it was to be lock, stock and barrel so to speak. Equipment, trucks, tractors, grain and hay, cattle and everything as it stood. But when we sold our place in Utah and went there, we sold it with everything as well. And upon arriving in Idaho on the farm, we found everything had been sold at a farm sale, and nothing was left to do, but to take out a loan to buy everything that was needed to run the farm including cattle. That really put us in a bind, and necessitated dad having to work away from home.
The day before the loan payment was due, mom got a check in the mail from dad for $1,000. We were all so excited, and when mom went in the next day to meet with the banker and the former owner, who also had the sheriff with him, she presented the check for $1,000 to the banker, who was almost as excited as she was when he saw that check, and the former owner was very disappointed. Our prayers had been answered, and our farm was saved.
Since I was the oldest one home, I had the responsibility of running the farm. I was 16 years old and my younger brother was 14. We had 20 cows to milk night and morning, feed the farm animals, do all the haying, planting, plowing, harvesting the crops, plus go to school. Needless to say, my schooling suffered, and I got poor grades. I finally dropped out of school for a year, and then ended up joining the Army during the Korean War, leaving the farm in my two younger brother's hands to run. Shortly after that Dad came home, and they sold the place and moved closer into town.
Shortly after entering the Army, my sweetheart of four years became my eternal bride, and we lived on love, because $75.00 a month wasn't enough to get by on, but we did it, with the help from the Army of what they call "separate rations" which was another $55.00 a month. I also started getting "jump pay" which also helped. That was another $55.00 a month. We loved each other, and treasured every moment we had together. Because I learned to type in High School, I never had to go to Korea during the war, but worked in the Army as a typist. I didn't have to go to Korea until 1956, when the Department of the Army sent down orders for all Army personnel who hadn't been overseas, to have to serve overseas. When the orders came down, I was sent to Korea, which is a whole story all by itself. My wife and sweetheart went home to live with her folks, and I went to Korea in December of 1956, just before Christmas. And what an experience that was. I didn't realize it at the time I was sent there, but it literally became my mission.

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