Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
"Mama, the wolves are coming. I can see them way off by the woods." I was sitting on a high stool close to the window with my bare feet on the sill, wiggling my toes at the sun shining in with early morning brightness. Mama had the window open to the cool fall air because the cook stove was "Heating up the kitchen so bad," she said. "Look, Mama! I can see them on the other side of the pond running along the edge of the water like they want to jump in and swim across. Can wolves swim, Mama?" Mama stuck another stick of wood in the big black cook stove, gave the oatmeal one last stir, and shoved it on the back of the stove to finish cooking. She leaned over my shoulder to get a better look. "I don't see any wolves." "I see them running back and forth between the pond and the woods. They're big and gray." She leaned over to see better. "That's the neighbors' dogs. I don't think there are any wolves around here." "Don't you remember, Mama? Daddy said wolves came down the hill behind the barn and scared the cows." "He only said it might be wolves. We really think it was wild dogs." "I'm afraid the window will fall down on my feet and the wolves will come and bite my toes." "Then get your feet out of the window, silly." And she swung me off the stool and into a chair at the breakfast table. We were in the big old kitchen on the north side of the house before Mama decided she wanted a smaller kitchen and took one of the downstairs bedrooms and made it into a kitchen. Then this room was a porch. But it was a kitchen now with me eating at the table with Daddy, Mama, Jack and Peggy still in diapers and bottles in the bedroom. "Did you see the wolves out by the pond, Daddy?" I said, when he sat down and started drinking his coffee. "Elizabeth! There are no wolves out there," Daddy heaped sugar on his oatmeal and poured on cream. "Time to get the corn in this morning. You can go with me if you dress up warm." "Are there wolves in the cornfield, Daddy?" "No, Elizabeth! There are no wolves in the cornfield." Mama dressed me up warm with long brown stockings hooked to garters that hung around my waist. She laced up my shoes and pulled a bright red knit cap over my ears and tied a red scarf around my neck under the collar of my coat. I was really warm and wiggly. Mama said, "Stand still," while she pulled on my mittens. Daddy carried me to the barn and set me on a milk stool until he was ready to go. Then he stood me at the front of the box wagon while he got up in the seat to drive. We went through the two gates by the barn and around the pond behind the barn to the fields. I strained my eyes to see if the wolves were still across the big pond in the other corral, but just then Daddy said, "Giddy up" to Pat and Jessie and they jumped ahead to pull the wagon, and I had to grab the sideboards to keep from falling. In the cornfield, Daddy said, "Now I want you to stay in the wagon, Elizabeth. It's deep mud out here." Pat and Jessie pulled the wagon along the corn rows, stopping and starting to Daddy's "Giddy up," and "Whoa, there." Daddy broke each ear of corn from the corn stalk, husked it clean, and threw it into the wagon box back of me. Two ears missed the box and landed on the other side of the wagon. "I'll help Daddy," I thought, and climbed over the tailgate at the back of the wagon and dropped down to the ground. Mud oozed up over the tops of my shoes as I waded around the wagon. I threw the ears of corn up in the wagon and tried to climb over the tailgate again but it was too high. "I'll climb up the wheel and get up that way," I said to myself as I started climbing up the wheel in the back. I grabbed the sideboard to pull myself into the wagon when Daddy said, "Giddy up." I tried to hang onto the slippery wheel as it went around, "Daddy," I screamed. He hollered, "Whoa there Jessie. Whoa Pat. Dang you horses, stop!" But it was too late. I felt the wheel go over my head and then my face being pushed deep into the mud. Daddy picked me up. I said, "Are the wolves here yet?" Daddy's face was all twisted like he was going to cry. "Oh, Elizabeth, I told you to stay in the wagon." He laid me on the corn on his jacket and drove home, slow like. I guess he didn't want me to hurt too much. "Well, her face will be full of scabs and bruises," the doctor said. "But otherwise she appears unhurt. The deep mud probably saved her life." Mama brought me home and made milk toast which was what sick people always got to eat at our house. That night there was a knock on the back door. Daddy was gone for a long time. When he came back he said, "That was our young neighbor down the road. He shot the wolf that's been bothering their livestock, a big gray fellow." "I told you, Daddy! I told you there were wolves out there by the woods!" "Yes, you did! And tomorrow we'll go down and take a look at that dead wolf." Daddy sat down in his easy chair and picked up the book he had been reading. It's time to renew-membership in Kimball's Historical Society. Or enroll someone for the first time, as a Christmas gift, it is your continued membership and participation that makes Kimball's Historical Society a dynamic organization. We value your friendship and truly appreciate your support. All donations and memberships are tax deductible, as we are a full non-profit 501C3 organization. Each holiday season, people scramble to find the perfect gifts for loved ones. That can be a real challenge. Kick things up a notch this year with inexpensive gifts that hold more meaning than the usual, with all our keepsake and souvenir items available always at the Kimball State Bank and some at Knaus Sausage. For $7 or $10, any of them are a treasure, guaranteed. 2008-A good year for Kimball Area Historical Society. 2009-A great milestone never celebrated before. The Centerpiece of our society's successes is no doubt preserving the historic Kimball City Hall. Phases One, Two and Three have been completed, thanks to the vision that holds us together with the ability to see, faith to believe and the courage to do it. Now the vision train is moving on so you can continue to get on board anytime, as Phase Four begins. We just got official notification that the matching state grant has been awarded to us. Please call us if you would like a brochure about Phase Four. The Kimball Area Historical Society is at Box 100, Kimball MN 55353 and phone numbers are (320) 398-5743, 398-5250, and (800) 252-2521. ****** "Honoring History"