May 8th…….“WHERE DID OUR GREAT GRANDPA RUSSELL BUY AT LEAST SOME OF HIS ANIMALS WHEN YOU LIVED ON YOUR FARM NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA”?
Palmer Hove down-shifted coming off of Highway 22. As he rolled into the driveway, there was a clackety, rattle, squeak and then a Moooooo!!! The gargantuan, 1954 Chevrolet cabover livestock truck rolled its dualie tires into the expansive graveled yard of Kiester Sales Company there in Kiester, Minnesota.
In the warm, Summer dryness, droll curls of lazy dust clouds, lifting into the air, were generated by those large treaded tires as the quizzical cows inside the slatted box of the truck got jostled from side to side as they wondered where their new farm and barn home would be next.
In “moo-chats” amongst themselves, I’ll bet the those bossy bovines likely inquired of each other, (in a higher Holstein voice, of course) “Well, Henrietta Holstein, I wonder which farmer at the auction is gonna milk us next”? 😉 Ever so deftly, from his many years of experience, Palmer put that Chevy’s clutch pedal to the floor boards and man-handled the “three on the tree” gear shift lever into reverse. Letting out the clutch, and with a whine of obedience, the “tranny” (transmission) in that immense old Chev began the mooooving migration backwards towards Palmer’s target of matching the slanted loadout chute and the truck’s rollup back door. Palmer’s handsome sons, Merrill and Harlan were nearby to help their dad carefully bring these cows off of the truck and down into the many pens at Kiester Sales Company livestock and auction barn.
The Palmer and Vera Hove family, who were blessed with five children, were a composite of one of those wonderful ingredients that flavored our hometown with the blessings of integrity, hard work and love of their fellow man and community. It’s no wonder our village of Kiester was so tightly knit together in those golden days of yore.
I’m sure, thanks to the inbred honesty and Christian morals of the farming families that populated our area, townsfolk were blessed, like our farm family, with the peace of mind to be able to not feel the need to worry about locking their home when leaving for a day (or even two or three). I know that upon our return home each time, all was safe and well. We just knew that our good Lord Himself and our “brother’s keeper” of neighboring farmers would watch over our home in our absence. Heck, it was even customary for us to always leave our keys in the ignition of our car and truck, too. Or, at the very most, trap the keys in the windshield visor above the driver’s seat. Dad would just reach up, pull down the visor, and the car or truck keys would drop in his lap to start our vehicles and we’d be on our way for another day of life on the farm. 😉
Over and above the bovine, sheep, horse and hog fragrances, that were an evident part of life in the sales barn, there could also be enjoyed the delicious aroma of various food delights at the lunch counter/restaurant there at the stockyard.
Our big brother, Lowell, gainfully looked for any opportunity he could find to accompany Dad as they’d jump into our old 1937 Chevy and head for Kiester and another livestock sale. There was nothing better for our big brother than to get a yummy piece of homemade apple pie from the Hove’s lunch counter for only 15 cents and an ice cold glass of milk for 5 cents. Lowell would then follow Dad as they entered the sawdust-filled arena area and the wrap-around wooden bleachers of the auction ring. Being like any adventurous youth, our big brother loved to take his tasty pie and milk and then climb to the top tier of those bleachers to take in what he considered a farm boy’s happy entertainment in the sales bidding that would happen shortly.
The staccato “cattle rattle” of the auctioneer captured all the farmers attention in the bleachers that day as the first animal entries were herded into the arena. Those animals would strut around just like a movie star would walk the red carpet of getting attention in Hollywood.
The loud and clear auction chant was usually comprised of barking out two numbers at a time that reflected the monetary starting bids hoped for in the sale of said animal or group of animals. Dad and our brother often witnessed the sale or buying of sheep, hogs, horses and the customary bovines that populated farms in our area of southern Minnesota. “One dollar bid, now two, now two. Who will give me three”!! That chatter and the rapid fire fill words were thrown into the sales chant for color and rhythm of the overall auction cry.
On one of those sale auction days, our father, Russell, had bought a Shetland Chestnut stud pony who we ended up naming him “Joker”, cause he was soooo mean-spirited.
Another quality of Palmer Hove was his compassion. As the months passed, that nasty Shetland Dad bought became a burden to us, so Dad approached Palmer about this ornery little equine enemy and sought a remedy of the issue. Palmer took the matter to heart and kindly gave Dad a $25 Trade-In Value to take back “Joker” and replaced him with the sweetest little pony this side of Horse Heaven. Our new pony friend was a young mare; another Shetland with speckled Chestnut coloring and a lovely white mane and tail. This Shetland was so darling, we gave her the name of “Little Lady”!!! 😉
There’s an old saying I recall from my younger days that goes: “You can take the boy outta the farm, but you’ll never take the farm outta the boy”!!!
That phrase paralleled how much we loved our dear Kiester friends over the years. We, as a family, were taken out our of Kiester, but Kiester still remained in our hearts. And, even after moving our family to Washington State in 1967, those precious kindred-spirit family friends would make the journey out west to visit us in our new home. Palmer and Vera Hove were some of those cherished Kiester friends who’d come visit us. On one occasion, even Charlie and Mabel Heitzeg made the 1,700 mile journey with the Hoves. Ohhhhh for the times of memories, coffee and meals around our family table as Mom and Dad would relive dear hometown reminiscing with these folks that were more like family than just acquaintances.
A Christian hymn from 1782 comes to my mind as I ponder the dear ones of my Minnesota hometown. The hymn sings………“Blessed be the tie that binds, Our hearts in Christian love; The fellowship of kindred minds, Is like to that above”!! Can you hear that lovely tune in your heart today? It sure resonates in the soul of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son. ><> 😉