Sunday, March 11, 2012

Look for justice in heaven ...

by Kevin Schmitt

My dad said that jokingly after regaling me with the one and only anecdote that cast his dear sainted mother in law in a less than perfect light. The misunderstanding occurred on November 11th, 1918. Grandpa Lenard rode Mae into town to purchase some item that could not be made on the farm or bartered for amongst the neighbors. Cash was in short supply. But then, cash was ALWAYS in short supply if you were a homesteader. Sundown would come early and with it the winter cold, so Lenard didn’t allow his young mare to dawdle on the four mile trip into town.

Chaska was a pretty small place back in those days, and Lenard wasn’t on its main street a minute before someone yelled to him that the war was over. He was glad to hear it of course, but he didn’t have any relatives in the conflict, and the only thing that really mattered to him was his farm. It required so many things, and Old Man Winter wasn’t going to be a comfort to him in the coming months.

His shadow was still in the doorway of the hardware store when a fellow church member grabbed hold of him and fairly dragged him into the neighboring saloon for a victory toast. Now I need to make it very clear that my grandparents were not strictly against the consumption of alcohol, but they only used it when they were sick, or at someone’s wedding. Saloons were given a wide berth, since they were patronized by the worst possible sort. But since Lenard’s pockets were now empty, he felt safe enough. It seemed highly unlikely that anyone else would squander their money buying him a drink.He was wrong.

Well, all I can say is, it was a good thing that Mae knew the way home. It wouldn’t have been so bad except Lenard had to go and fall off his horse when he was about halfway across the east field. You see, there was a terrible influenza epidemic raging across the United Stated back then. People were terrified of this 20th Century plague because it killed the young and strong just as efficiently as the old and weak. Almost three quarters of a million people died from it, and it was on Grandma’s mind as she ran across the field to her husband.

Anne was very relieved to discover that her husband was not going to die. But that relief lasted about four---maybe five seconds. We don’t know exactly what happened at that point in time. Grandma wouldn’t tell and Grandpa couldn’t remember. But the important thing is that she forgave him eventually.

She must have. They had five children afterwards.

Horse With No Name - America

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