Grandpa and Grandma Ryan - Joe Roberts (Axtell, Nebraska)
My grandparents got married in 1930.
In those years, the weather made things very dirty.
Grandpa Ryan was Catholic Irish and Grandma Ryan was Lutheran Swede.
There wasn’t much they couldn’t produce, for items that they did need.
They did sell some eggs and cream,
as there wasn’t much money to buy other things.
I felt as if they ate like kings and queens,
because there was fresh beef, vegetables and pork and beans.
Grandpa did the chores,
for the cattle, horses, chickens, and boars.
When Grandma was in the house “bakin”,
I was outside helping Grandpa make bacon.
If we didn’t want a “lickin”,
we knew that we had better help prepare the chicken.
When we gathered eggs across the yard,
it always seemed to be so hard.
We had to put our walk mode in booster,
to stay away from that darned old, mean rooster.
When we entered Grandma’s house, my oh my,
you could smell the aroma of Grandma Ryan’s homemade apple pie.
We wanted potatoes that were mashed, baked, fried or hash browned,
and we had so much fun, digging the potatoes from the ground.
At age four I was sad, as I did not know how,
until Grandpa thought me, “how to milk a cow”.
I remember the mouth-watering smell and taste of chicken fried steak,
and for that, you didn’t want to be late.
Grandma made fresh baked bread and the house smelled so good, but now some would say why bother.
My Mother always said “I get rid of my frustrations by kneading bread and not on your Father”.
Grandpa Ryan farmed first with huge strong smelly horses,
to make the meals of many courses.
Then came the distinct sound of the “Johnny Popper” John Deere.
Sometimes in the evenings, Grandpa would sneak a beer.
The farm was like a rural zoo,
with baby piglets, colts, chicks and calves and sometimes they came in 2’s.
When Grandpa was working in the field,
if he saw a pheasant, he would move the nest to save the birds as this was a big deal.
When we weren’t at the farm, we could only dream,
about Grandpa’s cows giving us fresh milk, butter and cream.
I grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s and at that time most people would have given their right arm
to grow up on a Nebraska farm.
We didn’t have computers and cell phones for distractions,
as the farm life, family, and making great food were the main attractions.
We didn’t have time to get trouble on our heals
as we were always busy and having fun preparing meals.
I have great memories of Grandpa and Grandma Ryan,
and the food that she was always frying!