Raising Herefords

Henry with a Hereford bull

Henry with a Hereford bull

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.

Grandpa Guy Havelick


Grace writes:

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Driving to Alaska

Henry's shop, with the 1953 Chevy he drove to Alaska.

Henry’s shop, with the 1953 Chevy he drove to Alaska.

Henry was possibly my favorite uncle. He always had ideas and aspirations, and his politics were a little strange. For some reason my memory of him has always been linked with the John Birch Society.

Most memorable was his ability to do (almost) whatever he wanted. Build a house. Experiment with an Oldsmobile Diesel engine. Tear down a grain elevator. Build a wooden bull, pagoda or castle. Or drive to Alaska on a whim.

The attached letter describes his trip and his impressions. It’s not clear to whom the letter is addressed, but it would be fun to know! Henry had a huge shop, with dozens of fascinating projects, including many of those I mentioned above. In the back of the shop were a couple of identical 1953 Chevrolet sedans. One of them is the car he took on this trip.

A question for the family … Did Ray go on this trip with Henry? My memory says yes, but there’s no mention of him in this letter.

Henry writes:

One day in August I started to drive north from my home in Pettibone, North Dakota. No particular destination in mind, I just planned to see what the country looked like farther north. I had a good old car and some money for gas so thought I could just as well make use of it.


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