This page is a text version of the Forest to Field History Book Volume Two. You can purchase a PDF copy of the book in our online store. The PDF copy is an exact page by page representation of the original book. This text version has been reformated for the web and contains text recognition mistakes. These mistakes do not appear in the purchased version. The purchased version also includes each image in the original book.

Page Index of Forest to Field Volume One

Previous - Page 43 or Next - Page 45

in the group called out' Amen'! finished. The reader added, Gronbeck!" We all remembered of the reading.

During the social hour at one of these meetings, an old senile woman asked the woman sitting beside her, "Who is that old man sitting across from us?" "That's your husband," was the answer. "Oh, is that his wife sitting beside him?" was the next question.

The Erickson Church celebrated its twenty-first anniversary for which some special arrangements were made. One of the women baked and decorated a cake in the shape of the church. Before refreshment time the cake was brought up to the front of the church for all to see. One critical lady said it was just like dancing around the Golden Calf! I doubt very much if anyone worshipped it, however.

I organized a little girl's group at Clanwilliam that we called the Dorcas Society. They met at the parsonage during summer months. They were a shy little group who were afraid to speak up, at least at first, but would giggle and whisper. There were only a half dozen girls. We made some articles that the Ladies Aid let us sell at their bazaar. We once gave a program at church consisting mainly of an original little play.

Clanwilliam had a string band of a sort. There were several guitars, a violin, a banjo, all with organ accompa­ niment.

But, the sermon was not "That's enough now, the closing if not the rest

Some of the members from Clanwilliarn walked the four miles to church during the winter.

After a Sunday School Christmas program one of the teachers became very angry and cried and cried because the pastor had not thanked the teachers profusely enough. Many months passed before she would show any recog­ nition of the pastor. Live and learn!

We marveled at how the women in both churches could manage to serve public dinners (usually fowl) in the small and inconvenient church basements. They were dark and damp, with the furnaces taking most of the space in the center. These dinners were one of the chief ways of making money for the churches. The women put on bazaars and also had bake sales and teas in some stores in the villages. In the summer there would be a picnic to which the public was invited for dinner. The Clanwilliam picnic was held in the woods across the road from the parson­ age. I heard one lady ask another what she should bring to the picnic. "Bring everything you've got!", was the answer. When I sawall the food that the members did bring I thought that that statement was pretty accurate. They brought the food they did have in exchange for the money they did not have. It was inspiring to see how their gifts were multiplied so that they were able to pay their Pastor's salary of 900.00 a year and make contributions to missions, schools and other causes.

The People

People made us feel welcome and we soon learned to know the members of both congregations. Most of the people in this area were poor. They had to work hard to make a living. Their products had to be shipped far to market. Most of them were farmers. The wooded land had to be cleared and the growing season for grain was short. Many of these people had come from Donnelly (near Monevideo), Minnesota to take homesteads in a new land.

Some of the homes were only partially finished, some without paint, some with no walls to divide rooms. The fanners would build as long as the money lasted. It might be many years before they were able to complete the homes. There were no modem improvements; running water, electricity or furnaces. Kerosene (coal oil) lamps were used although there were a few gasoline lamps. Wood was burned almost exclusively in the heaters.

The chief work of the men in winter was to supply wood for fuel. They would sometimes need to go many miles to the bush for this, starting very early in the morn­ ing with their horse-drawn sleighs. I can still hear the screeching of the sleigh runners on the frozen snow as the loads oflong logs were driven by our home, and memory's eye still sees the men walking, swinging their arms to keep warm, and the frosted horses trudging wearily homeward. There would be much winter work after that to saw and chop the wood.

People had to make their own music. One of the popular instruments for home amusement was the harmon­ ica. There was one family of several grown brothers who became quite skilled in playing these. There were few pianos. I recall only one home with a radio and that family would have been better off if the father had bought shoes for the children. We were fortunate in having a portable phonograph, which I had used while teaching school.

The weddings that were held when we were in the parish were either in the home of the bride or at the parson­ age. The first wedding Rudolph had at Erickson was in twenty degree below zero (Fahrenheit) weather. We drove from Clanwilliam with our' Desperate Ambrose' but the cold was almost enough for him to give up. Rudolph had to get out to pump up the tires several times. After the cere­ mony, we sat up with the family and newlyweds waiting for a group of charivariers who never came. Young newly­ weds in the community would be visited by other young people who would come to the home with much noise and expect a treat - food or money. T recall one case where the groom gave money and the young people used it to buy a chair for the couple.

During refreshment time at a Clanwilliam wedding, the mother of the bride complained that the pieces of wedding cake were too small. The bride answered her mother (in Danish), "It is the custom". Rudolph's first funeral was for a man who burned to death. He had been

32