Friday, June 11, 2010

Grandpa Joe


LtoR Lottie, Rufus, Joseph, Katherine & Florence Ridnour
Circa 1902

Diary entry Feb. 23, 1960: "I woke up around 1:30. Mom was upstairs. She told me that Grandpa died around 11:30 last night. Got up at 6:45. Rode bus to school. Went to school because I knew I could be of no use at home. Kinda hard on me this morning but I resigned myself to the fact this afternoon & kept dry eyes."
Funny, the way I remember it Mom made us go to school even though I didn't want to. And I clearly remember crying in the locker room in Phys Ed. Grandpa Joe Ridnour was the only Grandpa I really remember - I was only 4 when Grandpa Lynam died and 7 when great grandpa Rufus Ridnour died.
Grandpa is the cute little boy in the picture above with his parents and sisters. He also had a little brother, Freddie, who died. He is buried with his Mauderly grandparents in the Nodaway Cemetery. The little stone only has his name - no birth & death dates. I have figured out he must have been born after Grandpa & before Florence (though possibly after Lottie). Rufus Ridnour & Katherine Mauderly were married Sept. 29, 1895. Joseph Rufus (grandpa) was born June 11, 1896 (114 years ago today). Florence Mae was born July 3, 1899 and Lottie Lucille was born July 15, 1901.
I remember Grandpa as a farmer and gardener although he also did carpentry work. I remember how crippled he was with arthritis and helping him milk the cows when it was so hard for him to milk because his hands were so swollen and hurt and how he walked hesitantly because his knees hurt so. I remember him tearing a slice of bread into a bowl, spooning in raspberries and sugar and pouring cream over top. I remember him as a kind and gentle man.
Ron tells a couple stories he heard about Grandpa as a young man. One of them had to do with a tramp hiding under a bridge and trying to rob Grandpa on his way home from a dance in Nodaway. Supposedly the would-be robber grabbed Grandpa's horse by the bridle to stop it and the buggy. Grandpa pulled his revolver and shot over the horse's head. The tramp let go and Grandpa, horse and buggy ran home. It was not known if the stranger was hit or just high-tailed it out of the area.
After Grandpa died, Grandma gave Ron his revolver. Many years later, after Grandma had died and Ron and Ruthie were visiting Aunt Evelyn, she remarked that she didn't have anything of her Dad's. So Ron made a point of giving her Grandpa's gun. I thought that was very unselfish of him. I'm not sure I would have done the same. I have wondered what happened to the gun after Aunt Evelyn died.
Grandpa Ridnour liked to fish and hunt and trap. He went elk hunting in Montana with his brother-in-law, Tom Haley and his Haley nephews several times. Grandma had a fur piece made from animals Grandpa trapped. I remember helping him dig out dens of foxes.
He also knew his way with needle and thread - making quilts with Grandma. When Grandma had to take over the milking and chores, Grandpa peeled the potatoes and started supper as well as making breakfast.
Grandpa Joe had sixteen grandchildren. He lived to see fifteen of them. The sixteenth was born six weeks after he died. He was named Joseph.

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