Lemonade from Lemons
Even into her seventh decade LaVena Moreland could work rings around any woman half her age. She was strong, resourceful, hard working and full of life. Her family have fond memories and remember many stories about LaVena but the one told at her memorial service said it all.
When she married her husband Lyle during the 1930s Great Depression years they lived in a tent and picked crops to make a living. Ever frugal they finally save enough money to buy a small farm of their own. Those were days when the modern conveniences of today were just a dream. No one had a refrigerator; the lucky might have an ice box which is just what the name describes, a box where ice was kept to keep the food cold or just cool depending on the season. Simple year round luxuries that we enjoy today, like ice cream in the summer, were not available. Most farm homes kept foods in an under ground cellar. Blocks of ice were hauled to the cellar from the frozen river in the winter and then covered deep in straw to hold in the cold. One would hope there was enough ice to last through the summer season to keep the foods cool. They could not afford to waste precious ice to make frivolities such as ice cream.
The Moreland’s were a friendly couple and grew to know nearly everyone in the small farming community. Often after a hard days work people gathered at their home to socialize. There came a year when the wheat crop and the gardens were growing abundantly and it was predicted to be the best farming year ever. The farm families were dreaming of paying off mortgages, buying new tractors, buying the wife that fancy new dress from the general store and buying the children new shoes. The community was a buzz: the crops would be ready for harvesting in just a couple of weeks. It was the buzz at least until that fateful afternoon when the skies grew dark, the wind began to blow and the hail began to fall.
When it was all over, there was nothing left of the crops in the field. Everything was flattened for miles around. When the storm passed the people began to gather at the usual spot, the Moreland gate. Men held their heads down to avoid having others see their tears and they kicked the ground. Women held each other and cried. Children sensing the seriousness, stayed at their parents side. But, where was LaVena and where were her children? As they looked beyond the house and out into the down trodden fields, they could see her scurrying around. While others wept, she and her children were racing back and forth to the house with buckets filled with something. What could be left out there where all the crops were destroyed? Then they could see the buckets were filled with round white balls, hail stones, or for her purposes ice. LaVena held up the big bucket with the crank for all to see and send the children running to tell them, “Come one and all, we are having ice cream tonight.”