Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Dairy business gives new family good start

I’ve never heard where Dad learned the tricks of the dairy trade: milking cows, straining, cooling and storing milk overnight in a cool cistern and delivering the milk to town customers in time for their breakfasts. Customers listened for his call, "M-i-l-l-l-k!" at their kitchen doors and met him with kettles or pitchers. He poured the milk from a one-gallon measuring cup and then walked on to the next customer. The horse knew where they lived and waited until Dad refilled his measuring cup. It was demanding work but rewarding.

O.D. and Nancy Meyers prospered. We treasure a photograph that Mom snapped long ago, of a shiny black horse hitched to a lightweight, four-wheel covered milk wagon. Female relatives or customers stand around, dressed in white garments that almost touch the ground. With a magnifying glass, we can read "Dairy" and "Phone 897" on the milk wagon.

Dr. Kampsmith delivered their first baby, named Jim. Sixteen months later, he made another house call and said, "Mrs. Meyers, this one’s a girl." Mom named me, Sue for Dad’s sister Susie and Mom’s sister Susan.

Mom was welcomed at Olivet Church because she played piano and, with practice, taught herself to play Olivet’s pump organ that had been silent for years. One of my earliest memories is of Mom hitching the horse to the buggy and taking Jim and me to Olivet on Saturdays and Sundays. She was an accomplished pianist, but a pump organ required her to press with first one foot and then the other. Then she had to play the keys with both hands. She also sang along with Sunday’s hymns.

Their community was Harg, with Olivet Church at its center. Three Sundays of the month there was congregational singing with the addition of preaching and more music on every fourth Sunday. I liked Mom’s practice days because she let me get down on the floor and push those big flat foot pedals of the pump organ with my hands as she played.

Dairy cows required feed and milking twice a day. Dad rarely went to church except for "protracted meetings" in which a guest minister came to Olivet for a solid week of night preaching. Of course, Mom not only attended every evening meeting, she prepared the music each week. On one of those evenings, the guest minister was begging people to join the congregation and said, "There are two men in this meeting who need to come forward tonight or I’ll keep the meetings going until they do."

Dad and his friend, Jack, seized the opportunity to end the meetings and get on with the pressing business of earning a living by joining that night. The meetings ended!

When automobiles came to the Ford showroom in Columbia, Dad had saved enough money to buy a delivery truck and retire his faithful horse. He adapted a car into a truck with a special delivery body. The vehicle was one of a kind and served its purpose well. They were to live in this new community for the rest of their lives.

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