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Poems of my Grandma Offerle

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Checking out just how bad the foundation was with Rockey.

Today is rainy, as it has been for the past few. This brings an end to the summer drought that began towards the end of June, when Rockey and his family came to visit us from Alabama. That was also when I learned that my suspicions about the house foundation, or lack thereof, were confirmed. The house had shifted four inches to the north, joists were broken, the floor was bulging in the center by about 5 inches, wood supports were rotting, bug infested and leaning.  My list of summer projects was put on hold as I tackled the unplanned undertaking. 

Though the lack of rain has been a tremendous curse to farmers and encouraged numerous forest fires, I am thankful not to have had to work in the rain and mud.  I managed to backfill the final wall the day before the rain began. Now, except for a little more insulation in the crawlspace and trim around the top of the blocks, the three-month plus foundation venture is essentially complete. 


Mike, Wayne & Merle stand guard as I cut out the old wood logs that passed for a foundation.

Said achievement couldn’t have been accomplished without the aid of many helpful neighbors. Mike loaned me his concrete mixer. Kevin gave me a bunch of rebar.  Denise (and my supportive wife, Mare) hauled dirt away. Wayne dug out the deepest part of the project with a backhoe. Merle did a little bit of everything: dug, leveled, poured, laid block, reworked the sewer drain & well pipe, etc. And all provided their unique perspective on what should be done and how to do it. Looking at it now, I’m quite happy with the results.


With my grandma Offerle, June, 2010

So, here I am, taking what I feel is a much deserved break, though my summer task list is lengthier now than at the beginning of the season. As a part of this mini vacation, I’m scanning old letters into the computer. One is from my maternal grandmother, which included a couple of poems written by her and I thought to share them here:

Our Grandsons, Lance & Richard [NKA Kirk] by Grandma Offerle

We have two grandsons,

Lance & Richard

Born nineteen months apart

And the joy

Of Grandpa & Grandma’s heart


Heap Big Chief, head cook & bottle washer!

Now that’s our grandson, Lance

Likes to cook & mess the kitchen

Every time he gets the chance

Then he hides the dirty dishes

When his mother isn’t lookin’

But his mother has “an eye

In the back part of her head”

And she finds those dirty dishes

Where he hides them ‘neath his bed


Robert Louis Stevenson

Played with soldiers on his bed

But hale and hearty Richard

Plays out in the yard instead

Digging holes and digging ditches

Dirtying up his good school britches

Crawling on his dirty knees

Planning out his strategies

“General Shorty” does stand tall

For it’s never in his plan to fall


How we love those little fellows

With their blue eyes and blonde hair

We trust they’ll grow up for Jesus

Is our constant earnest prayer

May they always know we love them

Even when we aren’t there


[the rest of the original poem was lost in a fire, but she added the following years later]

I remember their pictures in the news

When Richard got his fishing line caught

And the branch that held it down

Simply would not let it go

And the time they caught

ImageA wee 5-legged froggie in our back yard

The fifth leg so white & small, the frog so green

It was the most curious thing

They thought that they had ever seen

Still the memories of their childhood

Often come & romp with me

And so I write them down

That you may share in memory


Throes of A Teen-Ager by Bertha Offerle

I’m on a wheel that cannot stop

It has no bottom, it has no top

It just keeps turning and momentum grows

And where it’s going, no one knows


I’m in my teens with a question mark

The road is long and sometimes dark

I just keep spinning as momentum grows

For where I’m going, no one knows


I try to call but no one can hear

My voice sounds loud upon my ear

I keep on trying as momentum grows

My fears are deep, but no one knows


[a note at the bottom of the poem]

Written on a Sabbath – thinking about our youth and what it means to be growing up in this day and age of tech knowledge & necessary intelligence /c the absence of parental guidance and religious blessings & the presence of peer pressure & satanic temptations.


One response

  1. So glad to hear your mega project (aka the foundation that was not) is over!! Thanks for sharin Grandma Offerle’s poems.

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