Ruth was born in Culbertson, Montana in the second month of World War I. Her father had a small farm and raised horses and cattle. He also ran the ferry across the Missouri River serving north-eastern Montana and western North Dakota. Ruth had five siblings: three older brothers and two younger sisters. She remembers her Dad working long hours and her Mom as being a great cook.
Dad would often rock his daughters on his lap when he had a few moments before dinner or just after. Then one day he got real sick with horrid pain in his stomach. The one doctor in the county took one look at him and said it was appendicitis and placed him on the first train to a hospital in Denver. It was nearly two weeks before he returned.
His body was still very tender and his bandage had to be replaced frequently. Nile, the oldest son fed and watered the stock while his Dad, Adee, was on the mend. 3-year old Ruth was being rocked one afternoon when Nile came in and asked his Dad what he should do as one of the horses was acting up. As Adee went to calm the horse he opened the gate to approach from the back. It happened faster than the eye could see. Suddenly the vicious beast kicked backwards with both rear hoofs ripping open Adee’s stomach.
The neighbors got him on a stretcher for the next train to return him to the hospital in Colorado.
Ruth didn’t know when he’d come back home and thinks it must have been a month or more before she overheard a neighbor tell her mother, “I’m sorry Adee didn’t make it.”
Talk about a tragic and heartbreaking start to a life. 3-year old Ruth would have more than her share of heartaches along life’s way.
After her father was killed her mother couldn’t keep up the farm nor be the nurturing Mother anymore. Her brother in far away Oregon said she and the kids could come and stay with his family. It was more than a thousand-mile trek and Ruth remembers how horribly long the trip was and getting motion sickness on the way.
Finally they arrived at her Uncle’s place and, though really crowded, it was warm and felt secure. Her Mom kept job hunting and the kids felt lonely but found ways to play between their many chores. One afternoon her Mother kept looking out the window like she was expecting someone.
Ruth and Lillian, just two years apart, were really close knit and were playing when there was a knock on the door. A man and woman came in and had a cup of coffee with Ruth’s Mother. The girls kept playing but Ruth felt she was being stared at.
The couple stood up and Ruth’s Mom called her. “Ruth, come here”, as she took Ruth’s hand and marched her to the couple. “Ruth, this is your new Mom and Dad.” Though Ruth clung to her Mom she was shoved away to the man and woman. Ruth remembers that horrible time as one of the worst in her whole life. Not only was she leaving her own Mother but also Lillian and her other siblings. It would be many, many years before she saw any of them again.
After a very difficult adjustment and harsh, unreasonableness, Ruth finally became an adult. She couldn’t move out quickly enough. She found work on a large farm as the cook. She was naturally gifted at cooking and remained that way all her life.
She met Roy at the farm and later they married and moved to their own flat. Shortly thereafter they had a sweet little blond daughter, Mary. Roy struggled earning a living partly because he was an alcoholic.
One morning Ruth hugged Roy goodbye when he went to work to pick up his paycheck. But that was the last time Ruth would see him alive as he had a heart attack and passed away late that afternoon.
Ruth was very, very hard working and her daughter, Mary, praises her to this day. Ruth was lonely and struggled to survive with her young daughter through the great depression. Community dances were common during that era and Ruth occasionally went, secretly hoping to meet Mr. Right.
A handsome, strong young man asked her for a dance. Ruth enjoyed dancing with him and felt secure in his rock-hard embrace. They dated several times and the attraction seemed to be growing. That is until what happened at the restaurant.
Ed got upset at a man whom he felt made a pass at Ruth. Ed had drank enough to be nearly drunk. He grabbed the man and beat him so severely Ruth thought he would kill him.
Ruth wisely decided to not stay in relationship with a man of such a violent temper when drinking. So she refused to date him anymore.
About two weeks had passed when unexpectedly Ed showed up at Ruth’s flat. Little Mary recalls the exact shirt he was wearing and would tremble ever after when anyone wore that kind of shirt around her.
Ed came in and apologized to Ruth about his horrid-temper outburst. He swore he’d never do it again. He handed her a little ring and said “We’re going to get married.”
Ruth said, “No we’re not and I want you to leave now.”
Suddenly Ed thundered as he marched her to the kitchen, “Oh Yes we are.” Holding Ruth by the hair he pulled a butcher knife off the counter and held it to her throat. “I’ll slice your throat if you don’t say ~ Yes ~ right now.”
Later it was learned that Ed was a felon on parole from a serious, violent crime, when he met Ruth at the Dance hall. Over the years Ed and Ruth stayed married because she feared him so much. Along the way they had three children. Charlene, Douglas, and me.
For the rest of this story go back and read the story I wrote previously: “Murder Attempt Led Me To The Lord.”
Postscript: Ruth became a Christian in midlife and lived to be 86. She was the best Mom and grandmother on the planet. My wife loved her more than her own Mother and wrote the following epitaph for her memorial service: “Don’t cry for me because where I go Angels sing.”