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Age is a state of mind for Cherry Grove woman

Fri, Oct 3rd, 2003
Posted in Features

The thirst for knowledge and the possibilities of what technology can do for one is not limited by your age or your generation. Someone once said that "it is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

Eighty-two year old Ruby Jones of Cherry Grove, is one of those individuals who has passed through many crossroads in her life.

"There’s a lot of things I used to be able to do, some I still can do. But, there are somethings I hope I’ll get the chance to try,” reflects Jones, a delicate featured farmwife whose roots have kept her anchored just as society and agriculture have gone through a transformation over the years. A good sense of humor and a desire to learn have been important tools throughout the decades.

Ruby (Munfrom) married Ole Jones in 1947. During their first year of marriage the couple rented a farm east of Saetersdal Church, where dairy, hogs, and crops filled their days. In 1948, the couple purchased a farm just off Hwy 44 between Co. 5 and Co. 30. Ten years later Ruby and Ole bought a second farm a mile south down the road. In 1961, the couple moved onto that site where Ruby still lives today.

320 acres of crops and pasture, up to 75 dairy cows, and five daughters kept the farmwife busy. Mary (Rochester), Marian (Harmony), Eunice (Granger), Kathleen (Cherry Grove), and Margaret (Chester) were active in 4-H. Nine years on the school board kept Ruby in touch with the girls’ activities. Sunday school teaching, DFL participation, and being the Farmer’s Union Secretary filled the farmwife’s days as well. Her husband, Ole, also felt it was important that his wife have a good understanding of the farm’s records. Ruby took on the responsibility with zest as 40 years of farming flew by.

Memories of those years accumulated. There was the milkman who’d deliver medicine to folks during snowstorms. Ruby would never forget the times the family had to shovel a path for the milk hauler with drifts covering up part of the milkhouse. Droughts and serious wind storms challenged the family’s will to continue. There’s the time the milk units ended up in the trunk of the car while headed for a school event—during milking time! But, the memory that perhaps replays itself the most is that of those darn fences!

Good fences make

good neighbors . . .

"Seems like we had such crummy fences in those days. The cattle were always getting out,” laughed Ruby, her eyes lighting up as she remembered back. Of course those cows knew that when it was time for the family to go to church was the perfect time to get out again. Dress pants, shiny shoes, and dresses just don’t go with barbed wire! And what about that weather? Those critters had a knack for escaping their pasture when it was pouring rain. After all, they didn’t need a raincoat.

"I remember once, it was this time of the year, when the cows were out in the cornfield. I yelled ‘cows out’ and the girls came running down the stairs to help get them in,” Jones chuckled. The couple lost a couple of cattle to overeating. Surgery was done on one cow, whose stomach was "packed full" described Ruby. The vet couldn’t get his hand in the surgical opening, so Ruby had the honor of scooping out the nasty corn!

"I like to keep things fixed around here now", said Ruby. What repair work her grandson Mark Kappers doesn’t have time for, is hired out. Mark works the land and runs beef cattle. He also has his own lime business as well. Mark and Ruby work together to make decisions about the farm.

These days the petite farmwife doesn’t chase as many cattle. And you can’t hear the humming of the milk pump, but Ruby’s sewing machine purrs as it makes up for lost time. With ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren, quilt patterns dot Ruby’s shelves as another work of art comes together. All kinds of piece sizes, colors, patterns- some with embroidery, flow together for another quilt.

Besides quilting, Ruby is the chairman for the York Twp. United Fund Drive. She also enjoys the Cedar Valley Retired School Personnel group and her Birthday Club. Reading the work of author, Jean M. Auel, who focuses on the prehistoric times, is also a favorite pastime.

The computer age . . .

With the desire and energy to try something new, the keyboard and a computer screen made its way to Ruby’s dining room 2 1/2 years ago. It began with her daughter, Eunice needing a computer for graphic designing. Ruby pitched in and a computer was purchased. With technology moving so fast, the unit was soon outdated, and Ruby inherited the machine.

"I like working with the computer better than watching the soaps,” stated Ruby. With this new found craft, Ruby was amazed at what one had access to. The itch to update the computer wasn’t far off. She was told it was cheaper to purchase new rather than update. And, on her 80th birthday, with gifts of money socked away, Ruby purchased her Gateway.

E-mail, ordering library books on line, and surfing the Internet are no strangers to this lady at the keyboard. Township work can be readily completed on the screen. Ruby also hopes to be able to do tax work eventually. Still, the biggest rewards have already come to light.

Ruby has a sister in Denver, CO who is blind and also owns a computer. The two correspond weekly as the sister’s computer "talks" as Ruby types in messages. It has been a wonderful aid in keeping the two sisters united. Ruby also suffers from some hearing loss. At times, when family members are talking with her on the telephone, conversation is confusing. The caller will tell Ruby to go on-line and the conversation will continue from there.

However, probably the best rewards of owning the magic keyboard is the connection it has helped foster with the grandchildren.

"It gives me something more in common with the grandchildren,” smiles Ruby. Beside E-mail, there’s lots of games Grandma can play with those young faces. Though the fingers may not move as quickly as they did once when milking cows or fixin’ fences, this farmwife’s hands are never idle as she continues to stay updated with today’s technology.

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