My grandmother and her twin sister were born on a ranch homesteaded by their grandfather and grandmother during the Oklahoma land rush. Life was harsh but to hear my great aunt and grandmother speak of it, there was joy, love, freedom and much to be grateful for.
The following poem has always been in our family album. The edges of the printed piece are old, worn and yellowed but it describes perfectly a day in the life of these gutsy, tough women who helped settle the west. It is estimated that approximately 12% of all homesteads were proved up by single women.
While women in the east were fighting for the vote and the rights provided to all men in this country, women in the west were showing proof that we should have the vote, equal rights and we did, indeed, deserve those liberties. These women were able to say by example, "Look at our lives and what we do if you doubt our worthiness as full and responsible citizens.
This was the poem my g-grandmother passed down to her daughters as a reminder of all that was valuable and true in her day.
Grandmother on a winter's day,
milked the cows and fed them hay,
slopped the hogs and saddled the mule,
and got the children off to school.
She did the washing and mopped the floor,
washed the windows and did some chores,
cooked a dish of sun-dried fruit,
pressed her husband's Sunday suit.
Swept a parlor, made the bed,
baked a dozen loaves of bread,
split some firewood and lugged it in,
enough to fill a kitchen bin.
Stewed some apples she thought would spoil,
cleaned the lamps and put in oil,
cooked a supper that was delicious,
and afterward, she washed the dishes.
Fed the cat, sprinkled the clothes,
mended a basket full of hose.
Then opened the organ and began to play
to mark the end of a perfect day.