||BECOMING THE WIFE OF EDWARD GRANT LABONTE
The day that Edward and I became Man and Wife is forever written in my heart.
Edward and I are so alike in many ways and it seems to me as if we've known each other all our lives.
Even though I've told our "story" in the TIMELINE, I will re-tell it again here...
We drove to Fargo North Dakota one cloudy miserable day to get a marriage license.Darn it all if the Security Man wouldn't let me into the courthouse! The beeper kept going off everytime I went through the security barrier!
Wouldn't you know, it was because of all the studs I had on my Western Boots, my shirt, and my silver concho belt...
After a few swipes with his hand-held thingie, he figured out I was a safe bet and let me through !!
Once we had our license, we learned that we would have to come back and get married in a week or so when there was an opening at the Court House. The gal gave Ed and I our License and a cute little
"Bride's Bag" full of things to set up housekeeping. Small, trial sizes of laundry soap, toothpaste, etc.... It was sort of funny to me!!! Here I was 44 years old... and I was getting a blushing bride bundle!!!!
I got a Brainstorm of an idea!
Ed agreed and we drove to the local Salvation Army Chapel.
The Commander was just finishing a TV spot that was focusing on the upcoming Christmas Red Ketlle Kickoff.
We sat down with him and told him we wanted to be married.
He asked us some questions and then sat back and thought deeply..
Finally he said.. You know I promised myself I would never marry a couple again who just came in and asked off the street so to say...
. I did it the last time and the woman was back in here the next year with another man asking that I marry them.
But you two look like you know what you are doing. Come back in an hour and I will marry you.
And so it was, in that lovely little chapel, with our kind chaplain, two witnesses and lovely music playing on the piano,, Ed and I became Man and Wife.
Ed and I were always holding hands in those days! Even on the way back home to Park Rapds. I remember we stopped to have a special wedding supper at "The Red Lanturn"... We ordered Prime Rib.. Both our cuts were raw with the blubber on the meat still wiggling away!! Yuck!
We never forgot our Wedding day!
||NORM & YVONNE !
I first met Yvonne and Norm at "Wimpys" one cold Eventide before Christmas!
Park Rapids was having it's Christmas Kickoff, with the Lighting of the Community Christmas tree, and goodies for all in all the stores!
Mom and I were dressed in our fur coats with fluffy fur hats!
We looked very festive!
We walked into Wimpy's to get something warm, when Norm called out to Mom..
"I know this lady"
They went to High School together in Park Rapids, although in different grades!
It had been many years since they'd seen each other and a good reunion was had by all!
I got to meet Gladys his sweet wife, and "Yvonne".
"Yvonne" who would become a close confident, and dear friend.
Years did past, Gladys left to be with the Lord, and yet Yvonne who always thought the world of both Gladys and Norm, watched after Norm.
She took him to coffee each and every day, made a good supper for him, and gave him all her attention and devotion as a good friend.
Norm also now is with the Lord, and Yvonne continues to love life and enjoy it to the fullest!
Even though she misses her friends Gladys and Norm, she will forever have fond memories of them and know that she made a differance in their lives!
She has in mine too!
||THE TORNADO ! 1953
MOM WAS PREGNANT WITH ME WHEN THIS HAPPENED TO OUR FAMILY!
MOM FELT RESTLESS AND TOOK A WALK DOWN THE PRIMITIVE ROAD WE HAD. SHE HEARD A STRANGE BUZZING SOUND. LOOKING DOWN, SHE SAW SWARMS OF FLIES ALL MASSED NEAR THE GROUND.
IT FRIGHTENED HER, AND SHE HIGH-TAILED IT BACK TO THE CABIN.
SHE NO SOONER GOT INSIDE AND STOOD BESIDE DAD, WHEN SHE SAW THE TREES ACROSS THE LAKE FALL DOWN, AS IF SOMEONE HAD TOOK A GIGANTIC SAW AND TOPPLED THEM ALL AT ONCE!
DAD YELLED TO EVERYONE..
"GET TO THE BASEMENT" !!!!!
THE STORY WAS TOLD MANY, MANY TIMES TO ALL OF US.
THUNDER, OUR FAITHFUL COCKER SPANIEL STAYED UNDER DAD'S HEAVY OLD BUICK AND HE WAS SAVED!
BY THE TIME DAD GOT UPSTAIRS FROM THE BASEMENT (WE WERE THE ONLY CABIN ON THE LAKE THAT HAD A BASEMENT) THE OIL FURNACE'S OIL WAS INCHES AWAY FROM A FIRE THAT HAD BEEN BURNING IN THE FIREPLACE!
GOD WAS WITH US ALL THAT DAY!
NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ABOUT THAT DAY!
Tornado Lashes At Two Inlets Area Heavy Loss Is Reported In Region
Weigelwood, Cone Cove Are Badly Damaged
Winds of tornadic velocity whipped the area around Two Inlets lake, 10 miles northwest of Park Rapids, Sunday causing heavy damage at two resorts and several private lakeside homes.
Particularly hard-hit were Weigelwood Resort, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Perry Donovan, and Cone Cove Resort, owned by Harold Cone.
Private lake cabins belonging to I.F. Warfield of Detroit Lakes, George Davis of Minneapolis and Bertha Fry of Rogers Heights, Ark., were also damaged.
A sheep barn, owned by Mike Ronnebaum of Two Inlets vicinity was also flattened, but none of the sheep housed in the building were killed.
Lesser damage was caused at the Brookside Resort, Thole's Resort and Flatten's Two Inlets
It is believed the storm struck the area sometime between 5:15 and 5:30 p.m. the wind sweeping
in from the southeast.
When the wind subsided, it had left hundreds of trees strewn in its path and electrical poles down.
The electrical service, which went out sometime between 6 and 1 p.m. Sunday, was restored in the vicinity early Tuesday morning, according to Jack Cook of Park Rapids, assistant manager of the Itasca-Mantrap Cooperative Electrical association, which serves the region.
Mr. and Mrs. Donovan and their three children, Jo Ann, 13; David, 10, and Richard, 8, were at their
resort when the storm struck.
"The water looked funny" recalls Mr. Donovan, just prior to the storm. He described the lake as "rough all over" with "tiny whitecaps swirling on the water."
The Donovan family was in the main lodge of the resort during the storm and watched trees fall all around them and boats picked up from shore and thrown into the lake.
Donovan estimated there was 50 to 75 per cent loss on the standing timber at his 33-acre resort. Trees were yanked up by their roots or snapped not far from their base.
The loss included several hundred Norway pine, spruce, balsam, basswood and oak.
One small building, used for a storehouse, was demolished, while there was water damage to several cottages.
Two of Donovan's boats were left in a bay of the lake. One boat was anchored out from his dock, while another had been pulled up on shore.
Donovan bought Weigelwood in 1952 from A. E. Carlson of Kansas City, Mo., and he and his family had been here since April 25 readying the place for the opening of lake fishing. They
wintered in Minneapolis.
'. Another family at the lake during the storm was the I. F. Warfield family of Detroit Lakes.
Mr. and Mrs. Warfield, their son, Irvin, 12, their daughter, Karen, 11, and Francine Mott, 12, of Detroit Lakes a friend of Karen's were at the cabin.
The storm "seemed to take the bottom of the lake and push it up in our face," Warfield told the Enterprise Monday.
A large oak table in the living room was lifted and thrown through six logs in a wall of the cabin, the Warfield's testified.
During the storm, Warfield directed his wife and the children to the basement, where they wait-
ed until the wind had stopped. Mr. Warfield feels they avoided certain injury by staying there.
The Warfield's had been at their cabin since Friday night and spent Saturday cleaning up the cottage and making general spring repairs.
"The Warfield's believe there a guardian angel," was Mr
Warfield's closing quote.
The breezeway and garage was completely destroyed at th George Davis cottage. Mr. an Mrs. Davis had spent the weel end at the lake, but had left ft Minneapolis about an hour befoi the storm struck.
Wolf Lake In Path Of Tornadic Wind
The village of Wolf Lake, located about 27 miles southwest of Park Rapids in Becker county was ripped by high winds late Sunday afternoon. Doors of the Wolf Lake fire hall were blown in and the roof torn off. The roof struck the Fairway store owned by Jennie Kangas and punched two holes in the building. The fire hall and Fairway store are about 50 yards apart.
Park Rapids Enterprise May 14,1953
||LITTLE TOMMY'S PRAYER
MY GRAMMA USED TO RECITE THIS POEM TO ME AND MY LITTLE SISTER CINDY WHEN WE WERE IN BED.
GRAMMA SOMETIMES STAYED A WHILE WITH US, SO WE'D BEG HER OVER AND OVER AGAIN TO TELL THE STORY OF TOMMY;
IT STILL SPEAKS TO ME TODAY OF GOD'S LOVE FOR HIS CHILDREN, EVEN WHEN WE ARE 53,GREY, AND TIRED.
In a dark and dismal alley where the sunshine never came, dwelt a little lad named Tommy, sickly, delicate, and lame. He had never yet been healthy, but had lain since he was born. Dragging out his weak existence well nigh hopeless and forlorn.
He was six, was little Tommy, 'twas just five years ago, since his drunken mother dropped him and the babe was crippled so. He had never known the comfort of a mother's tender care, but her cruel blows and curses made his pain still worse to bear.
There he lay within the cellar from the morning till the night, starved, neglected, cursed, ill-treated, nought to make his dull life bright; not a single friend to love him, not a loving thing to love-- For he knew not of a Saviour or a heaven up above.
'Twas a quiet summer evening, and the alley, too, was still; Tommy's little heart was sinking, and he felt so lonely till, floating up the quiet alley, wafted inward from the street, came the sound of someone singing, sounding, oh! so clear and sweet.
Eagerly did Tommy listen as the singing came-- Oh! that he could see the singer! How he wished he wasn't lame. Then he called and shouted loudly, till the singer heard the sound, and on noting whence it issued, soon the little cripple found.
'Twas a maiden, rough and rugged, hair unkept, and naked feet, all her garments torn and ragged, her appearance far from neat."So yer called me," said the maiden, "wonder wot yer wants o' me; most folks call me Singing Jessie, wot may yer name chance to be?"
"My name's Tommy, I'm a cripple and I want to hear you sing, for it makes me feel so happy-- sing me something, anything." Jessie laughed, and answered smiling, "I can't stay here very long, but I'll sing a hymn to please you, wot I calls the Glory Song."
Then she sang to him of heaven, pearly gates, and streets of gold, where the happy angel children are not starved or nipped with cold; But where happiness and gladness never can decrease or end. And where kind and loving Jesus, is their Sovereign and their Friend.
Oh! how Tommy's eyes did glisten as he drank in every word, as it fell from Singing Jessie-- was it true what he had heard? And so anxiously he asked her,"Is there really such a place?" And a tear began to trickle down his pallid little face.
"Tommy, you're a little heathen; Why, it's up beyond the sky, and if yer will love the Saviour, yer shall go there when yer die." "Then", said Tommy, "tell me Jessie, how can I the Saviour love, when I'm down in this 'ere cellar, and He's up in heaven above?"
So the little ragged maiden who had heard at Sunday School, all about the way to heaven, and the Christian's golden rule, taught the little cripple Tommy how to love, and how to pray. Then she sang a Song of Jesus, kissed his cheek and went away.
Tommy lay within the cellar which had grown so dark and cold, thinking all about the children in the streets of shining gold. And he heeded not the darkness of that damp and chilly room, for the joy in Tommy's bosom could disperse the deepest gloom.
"Oh! if I could only see it," thought the cripple as he lay, "Jessie said that Jesus listens and I think I'll try and pray"; So he put his hands together, and he closed his little eyes, and in accents weak, yet earnest, sent this message to the skies:--
Gentle Jesus, please forgive me as I didn't know afore, that yer cared for little cripples that is weak and very poor. And I never heard of heaven till that Jessie came today, and told me all about it, so I wants to try and pray.
"Yer can see me, can't yer Jesus? Jessie told me that yer could, and I somehow must believe it, for it seems so prime and good. And she told me if I loved you, I should see yer when I die, in the bright and happy heaven that is up beyond the sky."
"Lord, I'm only just a cripple, and I'm no use here below, for I heard my mother whisper, she'd be glad if I could go; And I'm cold and hungry sometimes; And I feel so lonely too, can't yer take me, Gentle Jesus, up to heaven along o' you?"
"Oh! I'd be so good and patient, and I'd never cry or fret. And your kindness to me, Jesus, I would surely not forget; I would love you all I know of, and would never make a noise-- Can't you find me just a corner where I'll watch the other boys?"
"Oh! I think yer'll do it, Jesus, something seems to tell me so, for I feel so glad and happy, and I do so want to go. How I long to see yer, Jesus, and the children all so bright! Come and fetch me, won't yer, Jesus? Come and fetch me home tonight!"
Tommy ceased his supplication, he had told his soul's desire, and he waited for the answer till his head began to tire; then he turned towards his corner and lay huddled in a heap, closed his little eyes so gently and was quickly fast asleep.
Oh, I wish that every scoffer could have seen his little face, as he lay there in the corner,in that damp and noisome place; For his countenance was shining like an angel's fair and bright, and it seemed to fill the cellar with a holy, heavenly, light.
He had only heard of Jesus from a ragged singing girl, he might well have wondered, pondered, till his brain began to whirl; But he took it as she told it, and believed it then and there, simply trusting in the Saviour and his kind and tender care.
In the morning, when the mother came to wake her crippled boy, she discovered that his features wore a look of sweetest joy, and she shook him somewhat roughly, but the cripple's face was cold-- He had gone to join the children in the streets of shining gold.
Tommy's prayer had soon been answered, and the Angel Death had come, to remove him from his cellar to his bright and heavenly home. Where sweet comfort, joy, and gladness never can decrease or end, and where Jesus reigns eternally, his Sovereign and his Friend.
John F. Nicholls
||DAD READING TO US ALL... "THE LITTLE HALF WORN SHOE"
MY DAD HAD A WONDERFUL VOICE! SOMETIMES AT THE CABIN, AND EVEN AT HOME, WE'D RATHER SIT AND LISTEN TO HIM READ HIS FAVORITE POEMS OUT OF A WORN OUT BROWN PAPERBACK BOOK OF HYMNS AND POEMS HE ALWAYS CARRIED IN HIS SUITCASE.
THIS WAS ONE OF HIS FAVORITES, AND ONE I'VE NEVER FORGOTTEN.
SEE IF YOU CAN READ TO THE END WITHOUT GETTING A BIT TEARY!
THE LITTLE HALF-WORN SHOE
Shall I tell the story, stranger,
Of the little half-worn shoe?
And why it stirs my deepest feelings
More than all else things can do?
Listen then, and when I’m finished,
I don’t doubt but you’ll agree
Nought on earth could be more precious
Than that little shoe to me.
Years ago when we were married,
I and Mary, she’s my wife;
Everything seemed bright before us,
Most too bright to last thro’ life.
We were poor when first we started,
And as I worked each day,
She was savin’ every penny
And a-layin’ it away.
And when the day was over
And the work was done,
She would meet me at the doorstep
With a kiss of “Welcome Home!”
Then one day a sweet girl baby
Was sent to us from Heaven above,
Came to bind our hearts still closer
With the golden chain of love.
How we argued what to name her
With a sort of friendly strife,
‘Till I settled it by saying’
We would name her for my wife.
How we watched the little darlin’,
Trained her tiny feet to walk;
And how proud were were and happy,
When she first began to talk.
How we talked and planned together
When she’d be a woman grown
And repay with compound interest
All the kindness we had shown.
But God’s plans and our differed,
For when she was but three years old,
Death stepped in and took our darlin’
To the blessed Master’s fold.
All the world seemed plunged in darkness;
Both our hearts seemed turned to stone,
When we saw our baby buried
And we two were left alone.
But at length the sorrow lifted,
And again we toiled and saved;
And the larger grew our fortune;
All the more we grasped and craved.
And finally we both decided,
As we’d saved up quite a pile,
We would move into the city
Where we’d live in classy style.
So we rented out the homestead,
Bought a house and lot in town;
And we thought we’d be so happy
When we got all settled down.
It wasn’t long before a coolness
Seemed to come betwixt us too,
And we kept the thing a-goin’,
‘Spite of all that I could do.
No---we never quarreled,
‘Though we couldn’t quite agree;
She’d get pouty without reason,
And I s’pose ‘twas same with me.
And the neighbors—“Heaven curse ‘em!”
Kept the thing a-growin’ worse
With their Satan hints to Mary
‘Bout procurin’ a divorce.
And they kept the thing a-goin’
‘Till it almost broke her heart.
Then one day we both decided’
‘Twould be best for us to part.
No, we didn’t need a lawyer,
Nor any papers for to sign;
For what we both had earned together
‘Twas hers as well as mine.
So I figured up the prop’ty,
And I tried to do it square;
And I figured so that Mary
Would receive the larger share.
Then while lookin’ thro’ some older things
That had long been laid aside,
There were some little trinkets
That she said we should divide;
Somethin’ in the line of keepsakes
So we wouldn’t quite forget
That we once had loved each other
And had ought to do so yet.
Then while lookin’ through a bureau drawer,
Suddenly there came to view,
Almost hidden in a corner
Was that little half-worn shoe.
It was the shoe our baby Mary wore
The last she walked about.
It was ripped across the upper
And the sole was most worn out.
And when she died, we put it
With her other things away;
And there it lay almost forgotten,
‘Till we found it on that day.
While my eyes were dimmed with tear- drops,
That I thought forever dried,
Suddenly I heard a sobbin’
Soundin’ closely at my side.
And I knew ‘twas Mary sobbin’;
Knew her tears were fallin’ fast;
Knew that she like me was thinkin’
Of the times forever past.
Then I turned where she was standin’,
And the pleadin’ look she gave
Shall not ever be forgotten
‘Till I’m lyin’ in my grave.
Did we stop and talk the matter over
And decide what was the best?
No---we didn’t stop for talkin’,
But I caught her to my breast;
And our tear-drops fell together,
And the old love came back anew
While we both pressed lovin’ kisses
On that little half-worn shoe.
Then we rented out the prop’ty
And we moved back to the farm
And the old love never leaves us,
For we keep it glowin’ warm;
But if ever it should languish,
It would brighten up anew,
If we’d think for just a moment
On that little half-worn shoe.
||LONG WALKS ON COUNTY 40 & BEYOND!
Walking was quite a thing to me when we first moved to Park Rapids and Potato Lake!
It was Dad, Mom, and me back then, and of course, my faithful black Great Dane, Lord Thorn.
I would walk up to 10 miles each and every day! Even when it was raining or below freezing!
It kept me fit and healthy, physically and emotionally!
Mom and Dad depended me for a great many things, and as they got older, it became clear that I would be needed more and more.
So I would walk !
What beauty I saw and heard on those walks!
County 40 was a quiet road usually, except when the summer tourists were crawling around!
So many people knew "Dobi" and could set their clocks by the time they would meet me on the road!
Walking made me less tired too. Even with all I had on my plate, I was so refreshed and renewed afterwards!
It was my time with my Lord...
Sometimes, I would take Lord Thorn with me on a gravel road to the north. This road was very remote, with few travelers. Perhaps Farmer Dennis checking on his cattle at sunset, a few men who set traps for bait up on one of the many small lakes/ponds.
And a regal family by the name of Churchill.
I had been told about them by a dear friend, Sis Hein. She told me
I would find no better family than theirs.
They were true blue, and one of a kind.
As I walked on that gravel road, and County 40, I became familiar with the old blue Dodge Ram truck and it's three occupants.
Bill, Lola, and their faithful German Shepherd.
I sure wanted to meet them.
And one day I did.
A bonding memory that forever I hold dear in my heart, I became friends with Lola Churchill and her family.
But that is another "Special" memory of Lola that deserves more time and space.
I loved her as a second mother and a bosom buddy!
I treasure the memory of those walks and the beauty I encountered.
They were a gift and one that would come back to me twofold now when I am homebound and can no longer have those moments.
I get tears in my eyes when I think how lonely that gravel road is now.
My dear friend Lola no longer lives there, but she lives on in my heart!
Walk a little today, breath the fresh air and listen to the quiet!
You might hear His voice and feel His presence!
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