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How a Blizzard and a Cow Fed Grandpa’s Family by Gail Jackson

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Now, I’ve painted a picture of him and his life.  They were very poor, but they were proud.  They believed in hard work.  I think that’s what’s wrong with this country today.  Too many people believe they should get all they want, right now.  That’s why so many are in hock up to their eyeballs.  And the kids don’t know anything about working for something.  The kids of today get it handed to them, they don’t have to wait.

When I was growing up, if you wanted something you had to work extra hard and save for that something special.  Now, it isn’t special because all they have to do is ask and they get it.  Then, after they get the prize they were wanting it isn’t special to them and they throw it aside and want something else, and usually get it.  

I said all that to tell you a little about the man who was my grandfather.  He worked hard, raised a family, and loved them dearly.  He knew the value of hard work.  If he didn’t work hard, his family would go hungry.  He had ten people depending on him.

One winter was especially hard for them.  Grandpa had started for home one evening from selling his eggs when a blizzard came up.  He said that he could only drive the truck a few feet and then he’d have to get out and shovel the road in front of him.  Drive a few more feet, get out and do it again.  It took him a long time to get home that night.

That night, the family was settled into their beds, when a knock woke them up.  Grandpa went to the door to see who it could be this late and in such bad weather.

“Pop, could you use some beef?” Tom asked.  Tom was their neighbor, he was an insurance agent.

“Sure could,” Grandpa told him.  “But, you know I can’t afford to be buying any meat right now,” he finished.

“You don’t understand,” Tom went on.  “Some fool just ran his car over one of my cows.”

“What?” Grandpa asked.

“The storm blew the fence down and the cows got out.  I guess they were disoriented in the snow.  They were on the road and he hit Bessie, my best cow,” he told Grandpa.

“Is she dead?” Grandpa asked.

“Not yet.  But I can’t get the vet out in this weather.  And I don’t need the meat.  So, if you and the boys want to dress her, you can have her,” Tom said.

Grandpa thanked Tom and woke up the whole house.  The boys went out with Grandpa to kill the cow and get her butchered.  Grandma got dressed and woke up the girls.  Grandma got the wood cook stove heated up.  She and the girls washed canning jars, and got the canner out and ready. 

Grandpa and the boys were out in the barn.  The big cow was hanging from a rafter.  Grandpa cut up the meat and then one of the boys would take  it inside to Grandma in a big metal wash pan.  Then, the boy would take the pan back out to get more meat in it.

Grandma and the girls canned all the meat.  They had to can it because it would spoil and they would lose it if they didn’t get it processed quickly.  They worked all night on getting that beef put up.  Grandma filled jars with all that beef.  It would go along way in feeding a large family that was hungry.   

Grandpa told me that they had been very close to the bottom of their food barrel when this happened.  The blizzard was a bad time, but God in His infinite wisdom had sent them some food to help a large, poor family through a hard time.

Grandpa is gone now, been gone for 37 years.  I think about him a lot, and remember all the great memories I have of him.  He never had anything of value to leave to his grandchildren.  But, I think I got a better inheritance than a million dollars could have given me.  By his example of loving, and caring, and working for your family.  He taught me more than he ever knew he could.  But then again, maybe he did know what he was leaving me.  Thank you Grandpa from the bottom of my heart.  You taught me a lot about living and loving in the country.


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