My dad and my Uncle Myrwin farmed together for most of their lives. The brothers and their families were all very close. In fact, when I was a child the phone would ring bright and early every morning and it would be my uncle calling to talk to dad about the day’s farm business and work. I cannot remember a day while growing up when I did not talk too or see my Uncle Myrwin.
About five years ago my Uncle Myrwin had to move from the farm into a nursing home, because he had developed memory issues. He has been there ever since and over the years his cognitive abilities have declined.
From the first week he entered that home, I decided that he was not going to ever be forgotten by his niece and so I began to write him a letter every week. I have continued this practice for the past five years except for a short time during my cancer fight when I was in a nursing home and too sick to write. I even got letters off during my stem cell transplant. I have never told him of my illness.
Yes, I know that my uncle would no longer recognize me. That does grieve me, but I know that he still enjoys getting my cards and having them read to him. I will continue to write to my uncle for as long as God allows either one of us to remain on this earth. You see it doesn’t matter one bit that he doesn’t remember me, because I remember him and that is what counts.
For the past year I have found pictures online and made my own “farming” cards for my uncle. This picture of a stuck tractor is this week’s card. I thought I would share this week’s story of my memories of farm life with him, dad and stuck tractors.
Dear Uncle Myrwin,
I hope this finds you having a good week and feeling good. It looks like spring is almost here and there are a lot of song birds again at my bird feeder. Their song sounds wonderful!
I really like this picture of a tractor stuck in the mud up to its axles. Boy, does that bring back memories of stuck tractors on our farms.
It seemed that the vast majority of stuck tractors occurred in the spring when we were in a big hurry to get into the fields and plant. I recall many a time riding on the back of a big red tractor, standing on the hitch behind the driver’s seat and holding on for dear life to the back of the driver’s seat and the wheel fender.
As we would drive into the fields to check field readiness, there would eventually be a dip or ditch that was extra moist looking. Sometimes there was even standing water in them. It was at this point the tractor’s driver would shout loudly above the roar of the engine, “Hang on, I think we can make it!”
The driver would then speed up and make a run at the wet spot. As we would hit the moist mud the tractor’s engine would moan in exasperation at being so rudely stressed while the tractors big back tires would slide first to one side, then back the other way as they cuddled into the rich slippery black dirt. Eventually, we would come to a complete halt with the rapidly spinning back tires furiously spitting mud chunks high into the air.
With mud raining down on us from the heavens, the driver would then start the process of rocking the tractor. First, forward,then in reverse. This was done to try to get out, but in my experience it only served to sink us deeper. Eventually when the big rear tires were sunk to the axles and the back hitch was level with the water and frogs, the driver would shut the tractor off.
As we climbed free of the stuck tractor the driver would then slowly walk around the entire scene with narrowed eyes and a set jaw. Then, he would walk up next to me, grab the bill of his green seed corn cap with his thumb and pointing finger, slide it to the back of his head while he scratched the top of his head with his other fingers. He would slowly replace his cap into the original position, breathe a deep sigh and with a proud smile declare, “Well, we almost made er.”
Sending lots of love and hugs,
There is one thing that Uncle Myrwin always appreciated as much as he did good farming and that was excellent baking. There was always great cakes, cookies and bars to be found in either family’s farm kitchens. Fudge Mud Bars are still a favorite treat served in my mother’s kitchen.
Fudge Mud Bars
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease at 9 X 13 cake pan.
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups of flour
2 cups quick cook rolled oats
In a large mixing bowl cream together butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and salt. In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl combine and mix together the dry ingredients: flour, oats, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture and mix well.
Firmly press about two-thirds of the dough into the bottom of your greased 9 X 13 pan.
2 Tablespoons butter
One, 14-ounce can of sweetened and condensed milk
One, 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium-sized sauce pan, on top of the stove on a low-medium heat, add butter, chocolate chips and milk. Stir continuously until the chocolate chips have melted. Add vanilla and stir to combine.
Spread the fudge mixture over the dough. Drop teaspoons of the remaining dough evenly on top of the fudge mixture.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until the dough starts to brown.
Letter writing has become a lost art which is a shame, because the written note immortalizes the writer while bringing so much joy to the recipient. I would encourage all of you to take the time to send off a card or note to someone who is ill, lonely, a child, grandchild or anyone in your life who needs encouragement. I can assure you that it will make their day!