August 5th…“TELL OF A MEMORY OF HAVING SPECIAL FRIENDS COME VISIT YOUR HOME.”
There is a warmth that exudes from the chambers of one’s heart when special friends come to call. Even when life’s requirements keep those dear ones thousands of miles away from us; all one has to do is hear of or even think their name and the doors of golden memories swing wide to welcome them once again, in proxy, for the gold that their very life enriched you with.
Our family’s beloved farming neighbors, Evert & Oda Meyer, wore the title “Special Friends” with elegance for many decades. Even though they both now rest upon Heaven’s Shores, their memory in our hearts glows on with much love!! Our brother, Lowell, from his earliest days of Grade School, has always been kindred spirits with the Meyer’s eldest son, James. As time passed, and since the majority of Minnesota families were of the farming culture, it was only natural that our two families were brought even closer through an agricultural fraternity known as 4-H Club.
Brother Lowell relates how the Meyer family, and numerous other 4-H families would gather, with their cows, at our farm to learn how to best train, prepare and show animals at our local Faribault County Fair each year in Blue Earth, Minnesota. Our local 4-H Chapter was known as “The Kee Club”. Adult leadership would instill proper etiquette into their young teen charges and demonstrate showmanship and animal care, in hopes that some of the club members may garner the coveted honor of winning a Blue Ribbon or maybe even a Grand Champion rating for their animal. Once club formalities were completed, for that night, animals were loaded back into respective pickup trucks and/or trailers. Then, it was time for club families to enjoy a fun time of visiting, food and family fun for the rest of that evening.
In 1967, our parents, Russell & Clarice, sold our farm and moved our family out to Washington State. We were so lonely and sincerely missed our deeply loved family and friends back home in Minnesota. To help alleviate that loneliness came the grand news that Evert & Oda Meyer had started a new job and lifestyle. The Meyers had secured employment with the famed “Winnebago Industries” that headquartered in Forest City, Iowa. Their new job? Deliver brand new recreational vehicle motorhomes all across America.
Just think, your JOB is to climb into a sparkling new motorhome and drive that beauty to almost every one of the States in our wide open country of America. AMAZING, ya? The company paid them a wage AND, if I recall, paid for their airfare back home again, too, after they dropped the rig off at a local dealership, that is. Oh true, as in any job, there’s the fatigue of long hours on the freeways, fighting rush hour traffic in the big cities, and I’m sure they likely had to deal with inclement weather along the way. Yet, for us lonely, former Minnesotans, it was pure joy to hear of these precious friends that were on their way again to visit us for an evening when dropping off a new motorhome in the Portland, Oregon area.
We were all giddy with excitement whenever Mom would get a call from Oda letting us know they were on the way west again to deliver yet another luxurious new motorhome to one of the dealerships south of us in Portland, Oregon. It was like a classic family reunion as they’d pull into our driveway, there in Battle Ground, Washington, with their big rig of vacationing possibilities. Joyous handshakes and hugs were followed by the customary tour of the latest and greatest model of the Winnebago motorhome for that particular year.
The Meyer’s loving occasions with us were usually just for overnight. In the morning, they’d have to deliver their RV to the dealership in Portland and then get themselves over to Portland International Airport to fly back home to the Midwest and pickup the next Winnebago and be off to a new State. For those single evenings, though, our family made the most out of each happy hour. Seemingly, gallons of coffee flowed into cups with saucers while giant amounts of love and food were dispensed across our dining room table.
Mom and Oda Meyer were closer than sisters. So, when visiting our home, those two kindred spirits would spend the evening hours talking about quilting, gardening, hometown news and any other happy topic that would endear the one to the other. On the male side of the visiting spectrum, our father, Russell, and Evert (who were still farmers at heart) would chew the fat about all that was recently happening back home around the Kiester, Minnesota area. There was a kind-hearted camaraderie between these two men for the homeland of southern Minnesota that they had known so well as they both had farmed the rich, fertile croplands of that region for the largest share of their respective lives.
So gentle was the love between our mother, Clarice, and Oda Meyer. Such a deep respect and admiration they had for each other. I find it a sweet parallel that each of their maiden names began with an “S” (Clarice’s maiden name was Sletten and Oda’s maiden name was Scherb). In a winsome way, it was like they were sisters separated, in the eons of the past, and then brought together, in their farming years. They were two sweet souls that manifested and relished such love that, to this day, I can still count the innumerable sweet moments that they bestowed upon each other. Such a pure friendship casts a warm glow in the heart of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.