The Last Windrow: Happy Mother's Day to all moms
This week's column is dedicated to my Mom, Millie.
Mother's Day happens this weekend, and even though moms have to share it with the Minnesota fishing "opener," I'm sure that mom will take precedence over any fishing excursion. They should!
My mother, Millie, just turned 96 in March. She was born on a small farm in the Loess Hills of western Iowa to an immigrant mother and a close-to-immigrant father. My mom has no middle name, which always puzzled those who knew her. Maybe they just didn't think of it, but no middle name has followed her through her days.
Running free and barefoot through the hills and wild hayfields of that countryside developed my mother. She hand-milked cows, herded geese, slopped hogs, pulled eggs from unsuspecting chickens, caught tadpoles from Westfield Creek and lived a carefree, wild life among those tall, yellow hills.
My mother lived through the Great Depression. Many times she retold the story to her six kids of the times when she and her eight siblings were sent to school with lard crackling sandwiches. She ate the blossoms of prairie plants and her family ate every part of a hog except for the squeal.
Those years only made her a strong woman, and when she met my dad at a malt shop in LeMars, Iowa, she not only made him the best malt he ever had, but she enamored him enough to propose. Not long after World War II, the two were married and journeyed together on a farm and a small resort in Minnesota for the next 70 years.
One of my favorite memories of those two working together came one early evening during oats harvesting season. I distinctly remember my dad piloting the WC Allis Chalmers, pulling the binder with my mother riding on the steel seat of the binder. The sun was setting in the west as they chugged across the oat field with only the sound of the tractor and the binder cutting the Iowa silence.
Every so often my mother would "trip" the bundle rack and release the twine-tied bundles to the earth to be "shocked" later the next day. I can still see and hear that scene. It is called "working together."
And so, we honor all our mothers this weekend. There are so many ways in which they have guided us to where we are today. They have had the patience of Job and the love of a person toward a child that has no bounds.
I want all the mothers who might read this column to know that even if they don't hear it directly from us, we are totally in awe of what you have done to give us life, give us love and stay along our sides when sometimes we really didn't probably deserve that treatment.
Happy Mother's Day to Millie and all! And, if it works, you can take her fishing!
See you next time. Okay?