-By Orv Alveshere-
COVERED WAGON TRACKS IN THE SANDS OF TIME, 1895
“Horses and covered wagon brought me here,” the octogenarian said.
Determined, he staked a claim, turned sod, raised a crop, back at his homestead
He went back to the Red River Valley and returned towing a bobsled.
He had trouble finding food to keep himself and his livestock fed.
He tipped his wagon on its side…his shelter many years ago;
Waited for wheat and hay to grow and swatted mosquitos in the moon glow.
Walking plows, broadcast seeding and hay scythes were agonizingly slow.
There was a lot of strenuous work and living between Giddap and Whoa!
CLAIMED THAT CLAIMSHACK WAS HIS/HONEST, HARD WORK
Hooked to his covered wagon were seed sacks, water cask and walking plow;
Inside: salt pork, lard, flour, yeast, paper, bowls, knives, plus leading a milk cow.
He took tree saws for never ending sawing. He hunted wild game.
He brought a saddle and horse fuel (which was a barrel of oats) to his claim.
He trudged countless miles behind a team and plow, scattered seed kernels by hand;
Prayed for rain, cut his harvest with scythes and flailed the bounty of the land.
Horses and cows can only listen, they cannot talk…just a one-man show;
Lots of disappointments…and loneliness…between Giddap and Whoa!
NORWAY’S FJORD HORSES WERE FATHERLAND MEMORIES
Watching the evening star, the distant milky way and big dipper, his dreams
Of that new life interspersed with memories of Fjords…such extremes…
A real contrast from crowded Norway with markets and products to buy.
The new world had distant neighbors, no stores and only an open sky.
Over the horizon was more range land, miles to a church or store.
But the elements were near with lightning flashes and the thunder roar!
He dreamed of his Stave Church and hymns in his native tongue. A rainbow
Brought a promise of a new life. Arduous journeys between Giddap and Whoa!
CROPS FAIL/HAIL/NO MAIL/MUDDY TRAILS/GRASSHOPPER CLOUDS
Harness the horses, saw and haul wood, sink posts…life was tough, he did concede;
Rest and water the team, search for livestock feed, a real need to succeed.
The tethered cow would go dry. He’d return to the Valley before the snow.
His trip back to his claim with lumber, hinges and nails was extremely slow.
He built his claim shack. He pulled a two-horse buggy the following spring.
Some years later his new bride rode with him, wearing her new wedding ring.
Life on the prairie had new meaning, with sunrise, sunset and moon glow.
Through hardships and crop failures, a lot of living between Giddap and Whoa!
HISTORY EDUCATION OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL/BUGGY REPLACED
Later, he lived quite close to our country school. It was just a short walk.
That old timer made Homesteading Hist’ry come alive. He loved to talk.
On their 50th Party Day, we listened while sitting on their lawn.
Reminiscing about turn of cent’ry pioneer days…decades long gone.
He told of his first car, one lesson in ‘shifting’ that Ford Model A.
He opened his garage door and moved his horse buggy out of the way.
Successful in driving home…but STOPPING cars was a skill he didn’t know!!
Saying, “I yust vent tru da odder end ven I hollered WHOA!!
PIONEERS AND HORSES AT REST/TIME AND GENERATIONS PASS
On memorable occasions, without vanity, he imparted wisdom gained.
His perspective and advice: Do it yourself, be it good or tear-stained.
Who better than you to break your horse? Self-reliance was his goal.
Adverse pioneering experience prepared him to survive the ‘dust bowl’.
In his life span he bought inventions of reapers, mowers, stackers and drills,
Threshing machines, cars and trucks. Progress helped him harvest crops in those hills.
That Gent, A. E., survived drought and blizzards. His sage and sound advice…I owe.
Pioneers should know, there’s a lot of meaningful living between Giddap and Whoa!
By Orv Alveshere (c) copyright 2-08 all rights reserved
Orv Alveshere, an award-winning writer of humorous cowboy poetry and stories, “grew up hanging on a horse.” He writes about his lifetime of adventures.