Sunday, February 17, 2008

Feeling better today

I'm still a bit wiped out, but better today. I'm getting a bit knit on the Ice Queen, a bit spun on the Prudence fleece (RocketGansey-dottir), and I'm soaking some little peat pellets for dye plants. Pictures? Maybe soon, because I have lots of pictures to load from the last week.

I wanted to tell a few stories about my Uncle Jim Losey. My Mom, Lutie Ann, says that their family pretty much fed anyone in town who was hungry. They owned the local gas station, and sold gas for 5 cents a gallon. Grandma would buy 500 baby chicks each spring, and raise them in the hen house. When they were pullet size, they'd kill, dress and cook about 5 per day. Can you imagine cooking for that many people? There were 7 kids, plus a lot of people who were "extended family."

I already mentioned how small Jim was when he was born, and how they kept him warm on the oven door. Jim was a religious person, but not an evangelist. He would show his religion quietly, by being the behind-the-scenes angel who made things happen. During those old-fashioned box suppers, he'd notice whose boxes weren't being bid on, and buy them for about $3 each. This was back in the Depression, when that was big money. Then, he'd pass them out to the young men who couldn't afford to buy a box. Lawrence met Eleanor this way, and they're still married 60 years later. Eleanor is still one of my Mom's best friends.

When my Grandpa died in a tragic house fire, Mom was 11 and Jim was fighting in WWI. He would rather have staid with his buddies and fight the war (according to my cousin Bob, anyway), but he came home to Gove to help his mom with the farm, and to help raise his 4 younger sisters.

He also married his brother's widow -- Bill was electrocuted building his new home in Indiana, leaving Thelma with three small children.

Thelma sent a telegram to Gove (Kansas), but the man who wrote it out left it on the counter until the next morning. It said "Bill has died. Please come." When his relief man asked why, the guy just shrugged and said "I thought you'd do it." (I tell this to illustrate that slackers aren't a new thing, and to express astonishment that the man would even do that.)

The Loseys in Gove piled in the car, and drove more than 24 hours straight through to Indiana. After the funeral, they brought Thelma and her 3 children back to Gove --to one of the worst winters ever. My cousin Bob said the snow was 12 feet deep, and the horses didn't even sink down into the drifts, but just went over the top. Thelma must have thought she'd moved to the ends of the earth.

After about a year, Jim was ready to send the cattle to market. They would do this by loading cattle cars on the train, and the railroad would give one free ticket per cattle car filled. Well, according to my mom, this is how Jim proposed to Thelma. They were all around the dinner table, and Thelma asked if she could have one of the free tickets. Jim said "Well, I better marry you then!"

My cousin Bob, who was one of those children Jim brought back to Gove and raised as his own, gave a superb eulogy. I wish I'd had the movie camera-- if you have a death of a patriarch like this, please do consider recording it for posterity!

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