The winter months were very cold and snowy. We left to visit Mama and Kathryn one day when a blizzard caught us in St Joseph, Mo. We had to stay with Mama since roads were closed along hwy 7 and Hwy 20 where we lived in Denton, Ks. I worried about getting home to Terre and Lady. I knew she would be out of hay by that time. We were still using the square bales at the time and this was before we had bought Red. Everyone told us we couldn't go but Charles wasn't afraid to drive in the ice and snow. His driving scared me on a dry hot summer day. He always drove too fast and as I had said before he didn't worry about anything. We took the back roads through Atchison and took the graveled roads that emptied out beside the property. We knew those farmers with their big tractors had to get through to feed their cattle and would have the roads clean before a state plow would. We parked the car there on the gravel road and got out and walked through the deep snow, across a ravine across the cornfield that had been combined a month before. Terre was on top of the hill, (we had put up hot wired fence around the cornfield so she would be able to eat the remaining corn the combine had missed.)She whinnied and ran around the best she could through the 3 feet of snow and we plowed our way through up the hill. We were so glad to be home! We fed the dog and gave Terre a bale of hay and made sure she had enough water. Horses drink about 12 gallons of water a day. We had a five gallon bucket we kept refilling throughout the day to be sure she didn't get the colic, a disease in horses that comes from eating too much dry hay and not enough fresh water. In the spring of 1978 Charles wanted a horse too and we bought Red. Later in the spring we decided to buy Jenny a pony. A family called Kennedy's had horses to sale and Jenny found a little black pony she wanted as a pet. It was real cute but not broke to ride; we wanted to go riding as a family. That little horse was too little for either of us, by us I mean Charles. I could see Charles now striding that little thing with his long gangly, skinny legs hanging off the side and the pony rearing and bucking in my imagination at least so we didn't consider buying it. Jenny was disappointed but we found her a little bigger one, it was white with large brown spots on its back and rump and a circle around his tail. It was a gelding pony and had a long white mane and tail. We called him Thunder. I made a trip to the bank in Wathena to borrow the money.200.00.Prices of ponies and horses were going up with the market. We had a little children's saddle we had bought from Ace Williams and the bridle and bit. We took the pony home in a rented horse trailer from U haul. When we got home we saddled the pony and adjusted the stirrups for her size and she tried to ride. The pony was stubborn with her and kept trying to rise up in the air, scaring her to death. Terre had always taken care of her and she was not scared when she rode Terre. I'd get on the pony and ride him down through the water way between corn fields. Water way is a narrow strip of lush green brome grass between fields to keep the crops from washing away the Milo seeds planted by the neighbor down the hill. Our landlord Mr. Becker said we could put up hot wire along the water way and turn Terre out in it in the summertime so she could eat. The old, crabby neighbor down the hill didn't like that either.
I didn't have any problems with Thunder because I was heavier and made him mind. I wasn't afraid and he knew it. He had a good comfortable gait; I rode him bareback to the woods and back.
One day when we had first moved there and Peanut was still alive, Charles and I and Jenny and Peanut walked down to the woods to check out the creek. On our way back we saw holes in the ground and I thought they were snake holes. Suddenly Charles exclaimed that he saw something move a dirt clod over one of the holes. I told him it was his imagination but he moved the dirt clod over and stuck his finger in that hole and drew out a mother tarantula and about a million baby tarantulas hanging onto her back. I do not like spiders especially a black hairy tarantula like that! I told him to kill it because I didn't want it and her brood coming to the house. We were both stomping and I stomped awhile and screamed awhile. We caught a black snake that was racing across the yard in an S formation. Charles had to have it so he caught it and put it in a 5 gallon bucket until we could set up an aquarium in the basement for it. That was in the fall too. In the spring we carried it back down to the woods and let it go.
In the winter of 1977-1978 Charles helped Jenny make a snowman. In the summer of 1978 we played hide and go seek. I tried to climb through the corral fence to hide and ran into a giant web with a big orb spider right in the middle of the web. The problem with theses kinds of spiders the web is not there and then suddenly it's there. If you knock down the web the next morning it's back. I screamed bloody murder and hollered for Charles to come rescue me. I danced around and begged him to tell me if it was in my hair." There's nothing in your hair!" Charles didn't have any patience with my fear of spiders. He'd pick them up with bare fingers and pet the big ones to my disgust. He was just trying to show me there wasn't anything to fear. I'm not afraid of anything like snakes, no big deal, but spiders I can't help but be afraid.
We went to Wathena by the river to ride our horses. Jenny was afraid of grasshoppers and we ran into a swarm of them. She panicked and the pony kept trying to rear up on her. She had grown so much that we didn't really notice how much until she kept falling off that pony. It suddenly occurred to us that we hadn't reset the stirrups on her little saddle since we had bought it for her. Once we had the stirrups set for her size she stopped falling off. She just wasn't that crazy about that little pony and it was getting harder and harder to get her on him. She would still ride Terre and Red but we needed to ride them. There was a creek on a gravel road to the east of us in Denton, a very pretty area with small bluffs. We rode down that creek and around. There was a long dirt road leading to the creek and we had fun galloping through there. It was a great place to ride until someone put up a no trespassing sign. We never did see anyone there and no one tried to stop us from going, I think it was for hunters mostly. We didn't hunt. Charles always wanted to go hunting but I didn't like guns and didn't want any in the house. The thought of him killing squirrels and rabbits was bad enough let alone Bambi's mother.
I knew he wanted a gun for Christmas in 1977.I went to Gibson's in Atchison and bought Christmas presents for Jenny and I did buy him a bee gun. He seemed pretty disappointed especially when he had gotten me a toy black poodle. The cutest little thing you ever saw! I named her Nicole. She was spoiled like Mitzy was but she didn't get McDonald's hamburgers. She was really possessive and if anyone came around and got near her box, well let's just say they didn't get near her box!
Almost every evening when the neighbor down the road got out of the bar he was in the habit of stopping in to bitch about something. When Charles came home I told him I was tired of him coming around and threatening to shoot the dog, Lady, or telling us we had to get rid of our horses. Bob Becker said we could have horses there. He said Bob Becker didn't have anything to say about it because he was paying Bob rent on the land.
One Sunday I was in the house and I thought I heard a car pull in the driveway. The house was insulated so well you could hardly hear anything outside but I looked and saw a new Cougar leaving the driveway. I thought it was someone lost and didn't think anything about it until I went to Mama's the next week and Kathryn said Audrey had come up and decided to go for a drive. They ended up at my place but didn't see the car because Charles had it at work. They didn't think anyone was home or if they had the right house. They said they honked but no one came out. I told them I was home but didn't hear them. The whole time I was home that day I had wished that Mama or someone from my family would come to see my little house. I was getting pretty lonely. I hadn't seen them since the snow storm the previous winter.
Mama had been sick off and on. She went to the store as she usually did one day and carried her groceries home. Thomas' market was only a half block away. She passed out in front of the house on Nebraska St. She ended up at the hospital. They said she had sugar diabetes. She had been given some little pink pills at first from Dr Dumont, but the Diabetes had gotten worse and the little pills would no longer help her, she needed to take insulin shots. Everyone was scared to give them to her but we knew we had to or she would go into a diabetic coma. Her Pancreas would no longer make insulin for her body. Insulin makes the cells open up to except sugar. A person with diabetes could eat all the sugar or glucose they wanted and the brain would still starve to death.
She had a couple of heart attacks,” no damage to the heart yet”, the Dr had said. In July on the fourth we had a picnic at my house. Charles had made a picnic table and Mary Ann and Kathryn and Floy Mae and her 3 children and Mama came. We set the food on the picnic table and began to eat fried chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers, potato salad and whatever else I had cooked and they had brought. There really wasn't anything that Mama could eat. Eating greasy foods was not on her diet but we didn't know anything about the disease at the time. I was going on and on about Terre. The next thing I knew Mama had her head down on the table and almost passed out.
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