General Fiction posted October 9, 2019

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When Life Doesn't Go as Expected

Farm Life

by Tirzah Greene

I am reminded of an interesting story of how my Great Grandmother Gladys and her twin brother Raymond had caused a huge stir in their small farming town and the family then fell to complete and utter ruins. This farming family ended up having to move from their small town of Duquette, Minnesota to the huge city, Duluth, Minnesota against their will. You see my Great Grandmother, who was known for feeding her cats with jagged edged SPAM cans. In fact, she was one of nine children in her family who originally hailed from Odense, Denmark. All of the children were twins with the exception of the last one who was solo.

When my Great Grandmother and her brother were teenagers, Raymond had a terrible farming accident and nearly cut his finger off entirely while chopping wood for the fireplace. After he had chopped his hand, the blood was gushing everywhere, and my Great Grandmother ran to his assistance. Gladys was an expert seamstress and sewing was her claim to fame. Well ... I'm getting ahead of myself. In that moment, Raymond was going into shock due to the trauma and blood loss to his hand. My Great Grandmother jumped up into action, got him to the house, and basically sewed his hand back together.

It took a couple weeks or way more but eventually they were able to remove the bandages and Raymond slowly regained movement in his hand and fingers. He was thrilled. My Great Grandmother was nonplussed about it. You see, she was a tough bird, and could problem solve any situation in a heartbeat. Think about it, she sewed a finger back on with a common sewing needle. You didn't mess with this lady.

Anyway, Raymond was so happy that he decided to tell everyone in the small town of Duquette about his good news. So, every day, he reportedly would run up to anyone he saw and get in their face and yell, "HEY YOU, LOOK!" He would then lift his hand up and wiggle his finger showing off how well my Great Grandmother had sewed his hand back together. I should mention, Raymond was slightly simple. However, he was so proud of his sister and wanted to tell everyone. For almost a month, he ran around town talking to people as he showed everyone in the town his newly fixed up hand.

Well, the town's folk at first thought this is just 'simple' Raymond and put up with having to look at his finger almost every day. So they put up with it. Finally, the pastor of the town, he had enough. He called a town meeting and recommended that my family be, I guess banished is the word, from the small farm town of Duquette. Everyone agreed, as they also felt, "it was funny at first but now it just bugs us". So, the leadership of the town, actually drew up banishment papers and my family had to leave in which they ultimately moved to a much bigger town. It was rather sad, they were simple farmers having to sell the farmstead and move to what was considered "the big city" in their minds.

No one in my family could figure out why they were handed such harsh treatment? How could the neighbors be so cruel? Raymond is just a simple kid showing off his fixed up finger, just because it was his middle finger, that shouldn't matter. However, it did. They tried to plead innocence but the town's folk didn't believe the story. They felt he was, well, doing it intentionally. Especially to the pastor of the town, as he was hit at least four times a day and up to eight times on Sundays while in church.

Now, knowing Raymond, I can see him being innocent. Yet, eight times every Sunday is quite a lot. So, I guess I can see both sides of the story. Nonetheless, my family ended up having to move to Duluth. They were given no choice. They packed up their small farm life and headed north to the big city. It has a happier ending though, the family slowly but surely became accustomed to city life and even the cows started barking at night.

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