There are limits to any method of writing a story. The format Grace and the others used to record their stories for me focused on making it easy for her to get the stories on paper. It worked marvelously. Thanks to this project we all have well over a hundred stories from that generation. I wouldn’t give that up for anything.
Can you forgive me if I ask for more? The story about Henry moving the bull from one pasture to another was one of Fanny’s favorites. When she told the story it took more than Grace’s five sentences. Far more. All I remember of the story now is that it was long, involved, and full of detail that Grace didn’t have room to share. Wouldn’t it be fun to have more of those details?
The photo of Henry and a bull gives some detail about the North Dakota prairie. There are no buildings in the picture, not a road in sight, not even a dirt cow path! The vegetation looks lush, but maybe a little dry? The bushes in the background are suspect, what are they? Berries? My mother was big on chokecherry jam, maybe those are chokecherry bushes? There are wooden fence posts. Herny’s carrying a holster belt, too. Is that a Bowie knife? He looks pretty well dressed for moving cattle. How many stories are hidden behind this picture?
This is what we have, in Grace’s handwriting and her words. Our imagination can fill in the rest.
We stayed on the farm after papa was gone and Henry + Melvin started raising cattle rather than grain farming. After about a year they got rid of all the sheep, too. So all we had was cattle & chickens. Lots of both. They built up the herd real fast. In the summer we would drive them to pasture up to the north place. Mom could count that herd of cattle so fast. We would stop to check on them nearly every day. Some times we would have to drive into the fields to find them all and if one was missing we found it one way or another.
One time when we had a big Hereford bull Henry tried to haul him in the truck. The box must’ve only been about like a pick-up with sides but the bull was huge and just fell out. Luckily he wasn’t hurt + was used to his halter + being led so Henry led him the rest of the way to the pasture. The Herefords have horns that naturally turn up so to make them look nice like registered Herefords should we had to put weights on the horns to make them curl downward + from the face.