101 Stories

with which I follow the road of the Family for a Century

85. Grandpa Speer's Sickness.

On his birthday, March 29th, 1904, father and I took one of those long walks we used to enjoy all over the farm to examine the fences and plan the crops for the spring work. He was 48 years old and I was 16. It was a chilly day, with melting snow everywhere, and we wore rubber boots.

That night father became sick and for about twelve weeks was confined to the house, much of the time in bed with a kind of rheumatism. We had a lot of young cows with their first calves, and some rented land on hands. As it was my first experience working in the fields without father with me, I had many decisions and choices to make for which I was not too well prepared. By doubling up teams and keeping at it, however, I got a good crop growing. I was very richly rewarded by father’s continual praise of the crops to everyone who would visit us later in the summer. It made me appreciate him the more deeply to think how very near we came to losing him.

Possibly this is the best place to mention a character who was very familiar in our home, although we did not need him often. Dr. F. A. Hemingway, local physician, eccentric character and benefactor to ‘poor’ people far and near. He was addicted to hobbies, photography, telephones, and peach orchards. We could never forget the big white horse he rode, or later the strawberry roan. He brought father through the sickness with extraordinary care.

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