Indeed, a long time ago,
but just ‘yesterday’ in history…
Great grandpa was a walking
Tolono depot just behind
Southwest into the prairie
what he saw was not a goldmine
but a ‘blackmine’
Soil soft on his footsteps
speaking to him in farmer tones
“This could be really good, really somethin'”
“This could be our home”.
So he bought a field in ’82,
and planted himself right there.
He quickly built a lean to
shelter against the winter
for great grandma and the kids.
A horse bought, and a sled
he trekked across the snow
Parkville, sawmill, boards he bought
for the first home to be built in summer.
Little great uncle Fred had a job
a ridin’ on that sled.
Last load coming home
he sat upon the lumber
waving a lantern at the wolves
who slinked along behind
First house built in ’83
great grandma was in heaven
but here on earth she worked so hard
supporting her man in the field
Monday’s she carried water
two buckets at a time
from the open ditch just north of the house
so Tuesday could be washday.
Too big a job, carrying water,
to do both jobs same day.
By and by great grandpa
happened to be nearby, when
in Tolono a rail car was in the siding
piled high with wooden barrels
Giant ones called ‘hogsheads’
were for sale that day
He bought one, and wagoned it home.
Buried it next to the kitchen
situated just so
a downspout from the house roof
could be directed in.
He piped it from the kitchen sink
aided by a handpump
great grandma could stand at the sink and pump
and carry the buckets no more
My grandma witness the first water
and then great grandma’s tears bore the message:
Happiness about a burden passed!
Seventy miles, to the south
John Delano Warfel settled
veteran of The War
the Buckeye native planted his farm
and raised a great big family
Little Alfred was born there
about the same time Ida was
on this farm
and thus begins another chapter
in ‘Farmers on this Land’.
The same young Illinois Central
that brought H.J. from Chicago,
brought Alfred up from Rose Hill
to the Tolono station.
That’s the same rail station, by the way,
where Abe Lincoln spoke his last words
on the way to Washington.
Some fifty years from ’82,
H.J. hung it up.
Moved into Sadorus
two miles to the west.
Took a little doing
to get great grandma there
several months went by
before she would give up
and follow him to town.
Alfred and Ida moved in here
the second generation.
Again war was to tumble
family plans and movings
’41 December, Pearl Harbor happened,
grabbing my folks and farming.
Hank, my dad, was called up,
and off he went to war
as John D. had some 70 years before.
Mom, my sister and I,
stayed anchored here on this place
as battle after battle waged
across the face of earth.
One year.
Two years
Three, then June, the sixth,
and Europe was invaded
Americans poured into France
my dad was among them, fighting
to push the face of evil back
One week
Two weeks
One month
and then one more explosion
Captain Hank Warfel was no more.
Except in a metal casket, and some memories.
Skip forward thirty years
and his son came on the scene
to move into the house built
the year that he was born.
He came home, with his family,
to take up plow and planter
and harvest as his fathers did
Watch his children grow
Time, like soldiers, marches on,
and now the son,
the grandson,
the great grandson’s
 grown old
Seven decades and some change
his boots walked on this ground.
Babies grown, moving away,
making their way in the other world
but rooted in this soil
His song and theirs
is “The Song of the Prairie’.
Lin 10/2012