My grandparents were married on this day 114 years ago in a tiny town in SE Minnesota. Grandma gave birth to her fourth son on her eight anniversary. Five years later her sixth child, and only daughter was also born on their anniversary. Imagine, two of your children sharing birthdays on your anniversary, with even bigger celebrations when Thanksgiving fell on the 28th of November!
All six children were close to each other but the bond between my dad and his little sister was very strong. Within a few years after my folks settled in Oregon to raise their family, Aunt Ruth packed up her small household and followed him west.
Aunt Ruth wasn’t much of a talker. Her passion was singing, most often in church choirs. Before she moved to Oregon she’d been in a large choir that had even put out an album in the early sixties. She was quite proud of that album.
She was a lady, in dress, actions and manners. Her elegance reflected in her slender posture and the clothes she wore even though she was very frugal making her meager dollars as a secretary stretch as far as possible. I never heard her tell her story; it was something she’d put in the past and refused to dwell on but my dad told me about it when I questioned him why no one ever mentioned her husband.
The story as my dad told me: A few years into her marriage her husband took her and two-year old Vic to a remote hunting cabin during a late snowy spring. Shortly after they arrived he told her he was leaving them, got in the car and drove away. Abandoned with her small son deep in the forest.
The cabin was so remote there was little chance of anyone coming to their rescue in time. With only the food and wood they’d brought for the week she knew they’d been left to die.
The next morning she bundled herself and Vic in as many layers as possible, and packed what food she could carry as well as needing to often carry Vic. Praying for protection and strength, she set out to walk to safety along the snow-covered road occasionally seeing faint tire tracks left by the car. Trudging through woods where bears were plentiful and at a time they were coming out of hibernation, hungry and mean. It took two days of walking to reach a road where they were rescued, on the brink of collapse. Sheer grit, determination and God’s grace got them out alive.
My quiet, unassuming aunt was a rock of fortitude, courage, resiliency, and tremendous faith.
The hanging basket on our porch is still sending out new shoots and a few flowers even after a few freezing mornings.
– my aunt and her steadfast example of resiliency and never complaining even though her life wasn’t easy.
– my dad and his wonderful example of quietly loving people.
– the abundant, real life that they’re now enjoying!