Saturday, February 1, 2014

In the Sweat of Thy Face

What God decreed to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, is still true today, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." At least it has been so with my ancestors. All of them have had to work hard to be able to eat, provide clothing and have a place to live.

The list of work my ancestors did in order to live is long and varied from making hats to weaving wool. All of their jobs interest me, although I am sure their work was interesting to them. Census takers sometimes listed the occupation of my ancestors as odd jobs. When I consider the word odd, I think of peculiar, not regular or something different. For a split second my mind says, "Yep, that's my family."

I believe throughout time, many have wanted to work a little harder to provide more or have another job on the side to bump up their earnings. Nothing has changed throughout times, we also look for ways to make more money, enough be able to pay a bill long overdue or purchase a new shovel.

LeGrand Anderson, farmer

My maternal grandfather LeGrand Anderson and his brother R.D. worked together for several years farming and ranching in a small mountain town of Koosharem, Utah. Besides their chores of planting and harvesting crops, the two also raised turkeys, chickens and other farm animals. Earning a living as a farmer has always been unpredictable.

R.D. and LeGrand Anderson

One year, the two brothers conspired to make some extra money raising geese. Because after all, geese are easy to raise, they don't need much shelter and only eat grasses and weeds. The Anderson boys probably thought this venture was a sure thing

While going for the gold, they decided to do it in a big way--about 1,000 ways [or geese] which were penned on the family property. The geese did very well until their day of reckoning when LeGrand and R.D. arose one morning at 3:00, loaded them into crates and onto the back of R.D.s flatbed truck and headed toward Salt Lake City for the goose market.

LeGrand and R.D. made good time traveling on US Highway 91 until they ran out of gas in the town of Payson, Utah. It was still dark outside when LeGrand decided to leave R.D., the truck and the geese to try to find some gasoline.

R.D. waited in the truck patiently, listening to the rustle of the geese and a few occasional goose honks. Then it was as if a choral director raised his arms, brought the geese to attention, and led them in the loudest, most off-keyed ballad ever heard. R.D. was very alarmed when he noticed the houses on the street light up one after the other--their occupants awakened abruptly by the unruly choir. His goose was cooked so-to-speak! It is supposed the goose raising trial failed since it was not ventured again--at least not in those numbers. A decision probably for the best.

Since hearing this story, I have wondered about all of the different ways my ancestors may have worked to provide a living for themselves and their families. I suppose some of them had to swallow a little pride to raise acres of carrots in poor soil or sell sauerkraut door-to-door. I love and admire them for their labors. I am here today as proof of their efforts and I thank them.  

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