My Memories of Papa and Mama--Daughter Cora Taylor Relates How Papa was a "Jack of All Trades,"  being a farmer, well digger, auctioneer, Sunday School Superintendent, inventor of a unique, heated garage in  S.D, preacher (in a pinch), missionary...
How dare I sit down in the midst of cooking dinner to jot down a few things that come to mind of our dear Mama and Papa!  It almost seems like a sacred task I have before me, now that they are both there in Heaven.  Just the fact they had the courage to raise 9 kids during the 1900s shows a great deal of pluck, I say.[Now the sunny sky and the palms may not fit the concept most people have of the Dakotas, even though it is called the Sunshine State, but it certainly fits longtime missionary Cora Taylor's home in Brazil, down in the southern state of Minas Gerais, right in the heart of the coffee belt where the sun blazes most all the year and the temperatures and landscape are close to being subtropical--Editors.]
Coming home from Goias [Brazil] day before yesterday, I asked our 15 yr. old grandchild, Celinda, what her memories were of my Mama and Papa.  She said she never met Papa, but she recalled Grandma Stadem.  These were her words, "When I was a little girl, she gave me a water sprinkler to help her water her flowers.  Then when Grandma was 94, we came after dark and knocked on her door and she let us in though she didn't even remember us and treated us very well.  I was impressed how she would cook with all burners busy at one time and not burn a thing, and to top it all she told my young mother to sit down and rest.  She loved having her picture taken with us kids."
    First, let me jot down a few things about my dear Papa.  I have often thought if I was a writer I would like to send this in to Reader's Digest, an article on Papa as "The Most Interesting Character I Have Ever Met."  It would be accepted, I am sure.  Papa was a "Jack of All Trades."  He was a band leader, he played a cornet, and would play and direct the band the same time by swinging his cornet back and forth to keep the time.  He was a Well Digger.  One time he refused to stay down in the well because he smelled gas down there.  The farmer argued and told him he didn't know what he was talking about.  So my father asked for a lantern and said, "If the light goes out it's a sign the well has gas in it."  The lantern went out.  Still the farmer insisted for my dad to keep on digging and he refused.  So my dad asked to borrow one of his chickens and the farmer agreed.  My dad lowered the chicken and in no time it came up dead.  He had many close calls those days, but the Good Lord always brought him back to his praying family.  Papa was a farmer.  He raised a bit of everything, cows, horses, a mule, sheep, chickens, turkeys, wheat, corn and barley.  Oats, alfalfa, peanuts, and everything one could think of in a huge garden, including strawberries.  I recall one time when the strawberries were drying up for lack of rain.  He and Arthur took the old wooden sled and went to the slough to get some water.  As they looked at that enormous job they thought it just too much, so just dumped it down on the strawberries closest to the barrells.  The result was a bumper crop.  
    My dad had one of the first heated garages in the State of South Dakota.  He dug a hole, a large one in the side of a hill in the cow pasture.  Then he covered the top with planks and threw the dirt on top of that.  He put two swinging doors on it and drove his Model T in.  Then at night when the thermometer showed signs of a freezing cold night he would run his cows in around his car.  Believe it or not, his was the only car in the state that started without having to add a teakettle of boiling water, and he always arrived to Sunday School on time too.  He was a Sunday School superintendent for 25 years at least, and that meant getting up in the morning and getting all 9 kids up.  We scattered like flies to get the animals fed, cows milked, eat Mama's breakfast, usually pancakes or oatmeal, whole-wheat bread with homemade butter and coffee for those that were grown.  We got to have our first cup on Saturdays after we turned 14.  That's why I'm crazy about Saturdays ever since.  
    It was no little thing for Papa to get the team ready when the snow was too deep to go by car.  Then way before breakfast he had gathered rocks to heat on the old wood stove and wrapped them in rugs, and after we were dressed in our best we lined the long bob-sled sitting on hay with rugs draped over our laps and our feet on the Rock.  What a daddy!  Then if we covered our faces, Papa would start the roll-call and listened for the answer as he knew the danger of falling to sleep and freezing to death.  He would call all 8 of us by name as Leroy was the baby in Mama's warm lap and couldn't answer.  Now Papa stood facing the cold wind and kidding anyone that seemed a bit depressed.  Remember now  it was up to him to have the church heated before the townspeople came, and we had five miles to go.  I never remember Papa to crab about this.  I did, under the robe, plenty of it.  
    Papa was an auctioneer.  He sold out stores, farms, and farm and house equipment.  We never heard him practice his clever sale-calls.  He would say the cleverest things to get his audience in a good mood.  Once while a very young child, Papa took me with him to a sell-out of a hardware store in Bryant, and he was up on a high barrell.  He rattled his piece so well I was swelling with pride.  Then up drove a Ford coupe, the driver was an elderly man that had no time for my Christian daddy, and he stopped right in front of the store and for a solid minute raced his motor but didn't move an inch.  Papa could not be heard so the crowd's attention was turned toward the racket.  Papa yelled above the racket, "You're heading the wrong direction for the dump yard."  Needless to say, the crowd burst into laughter and the sale continues as the old coupe went on its way.  It took me years to find out how my daddy could learn all that poetry and sale-calls and as rapid as gunfire, but the truth leaked out as Mama told me he practiced early before we were up while going after the cows in the pasture for milking.  
    At the time of Carl's engagement to me, Mr. Herman Koneykamp gave us a present.  It was the cutest little goat.  We named him after us, making his name Coral by using my name and the "L" in Carl.  He did as most goats do, he grew by eating everything in sight.  I was living with Pearl and Bob at the time, and after a few weeks to my horror Bob said we just must get rid of him.  The goat was really enjoying Bob's beautifully landscaped terrace and would use it as a trampoline.  Bob had a real taste for flowers and we could feel for him in this big problem.  It worked out someone was going home on the farm and offered to take Coral.  He was offered with all our love to Papa, knowing he would surely love to have him.  Before we had word of it, things became serious for our beautiful Coral.  Papa explained to me before I left for Alaska that the goat could run like a deer, and he seemed to come from nowhere.  He had a real love for milk and when he would see Papa walking up to the house with two pails full of milk he would come with a run and a bounce and land head-first right in his pail.  This was happening morning after morning, and he just got tired of our little innocent goat.  I then asked Papa what then did he do with him.  "Well," he said, "I was asked to auction off a farm out west here and I took him along."  "Oh," I said.  "You sold him."  "No, not exactly, I just lifted him above my head and said, 'Who will take this goat home with you, and I'll pay you 25 cents.'"  That was my Papa the Auctioneer!  Papa was not a preacher as such, but when things went wrong with us girls, he would really preach.  We melted under his preaching.  One time after we came back from Alaska and we were traveling, we left our 6 yr. old Carleen with Alida and Hans and then she spent a few days with Grandpa and Grandma.  Some one had disobeyed and at the dinner table he really worked over the whole bunch, innocent and the offender.  Papa told this when we came back that all the time Carleen was looking him straight in the eye, and when he finished she said, "Thanks for the sermon, Grandpa."  He told us himself he about popped with laughter.  Papa was the stabilizer in the home.  What he said went.  When he wanted devotions no one dared beg out of it, nor did anyone of us leave the table before we thanked the Lord for what we had eaten, and don't forget we had all thanked Him for what we were going to eat.  He was a very disciplined person.  Honest as all get out.  Thrifty as an Englishman.  He and Mama became foreign missionaries to Mexico after we were grown and all left home.  This was a real challenge to many.  He wrote the Mission Fellowship paper and typed it out with two fingers.  I recall one day he said after I had suffered many a night with toothache, "Cora, today you get to go to a dentist and have your tooth pulled, because you have suffered enough."  I understood later what that meant when I found he pulled his own teeth with a pair of pliers and set his own broken arm.  This was my Papa!
    Now it is Mama I recall.  Mama was a red head and we made much of it.  In the evenings when we all eleven of us would be sitting in the livingroom reading, studying, etc., one of us girls would comb Mama's hair.  She loved it and seemed to relax before going to bed.  I had a big comb with large teeth and I tried something new.  I went to the end of her long hair and began to roll it up in the comb.  It was when I discovered my error I tried to retrace my steps and it wouldn't retrace.  Mama was tough when it came to pain, but this was too much, so she asked me what I was doing.  Papa jumped up and told hold of the tangled mass and (I thought he made matters worse but didn't say so) tried to go backwards.  The scolding I got from Papa would not have been necessary, as I suffered along with Mama trying to disentangle her hair, pulling out one hair (I mean out of of the comb) one at a time.  I learned to never do THAT again.  Remember that lovely chandelier we had in the kitchen that was on a pulley we could adjust up or down?   Mama and I were in the kitchen and she took a long sulfur match to light the kerosene lamp.  She flipped the used match over her shoulder (presumably) for it to fall on the kitchen stove, and continued to adjust the lamp to its right height.  The Lord had me, a little squirt, there like Johnny on the spot to see the match light on her shoulder and start a fire.  I recall Mama crying out, "Oh, my God!"  Never have we as children heard Mama use God's Name in vain, and knowing her sincerity we just knew it was a heart's cry to the Lord.  Another time I was dryng dishes, Mama was washing.  We were alone in the kitchen.  I was about 7 or 8 and came out with one of my "terrible problems."  I couldn't whistle.  Mama's answer was enough.  She just quietly said, "In Norway it was taught us that to whistle in the house is calling the devil, so don't worry."  That satisfied me.  I still wonder if it's because when the doctor found I was tongue-tied he cut too much?  No comments, sisters!  Then another time the cows broke the fence and went into the cornfield.  Mama took that very seriously, so she ran for all she was worth and screamed at them in English and Norwegian, I presume.  I was at home when I saw her come groaning with pain.  She could hardly tell what had happened.  She was carrying a pitch-fork, and lifting it high above her head to scare the cows, she ran to scare them out of the cornfield.  The pitch-fork came down and she ran against the point of the handle.  It struck her in the side.  We seemed to be alone sitting on those famous kitchen steps, both of us crying and Mama crying out to the Lord for mercy.  After much suffering she got better and she seemed to keep it to herself.  I never remember Mama asking for pity.
Our son Calvin and family took a trip while on furlough from Brazil to visit all my sisters and brother.  I was astounded to hear what he said when he came back.  "Momie, how come none of you sisters took after your mother?"  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  I recalled Mama to be meek, patient, full of love, very unselfish.  She had no favorites while we were growing up, but treated us all alike.  She was quiet and could listen to the rattle of all 9 of us.  Yes, I guess we sisters are a noisy bunch.  When we lived with Mama in Mobridge, those were great days to remember.  Carl and I had been up first for a change and my darling met Mama coming into the livingroom.  He greeted her and asked, "How are you this morning, Mama?"  "Oh, so so, anyone my age is supposed to have something wrong with them, aren't they?" she replied.  We all had a hearty, healthy laugh.  This last paragraph happened in 1976, and this same year Carl and I went with Mama to weed the garden.  She used the big wheeled cultivator at that time.  I tried to push the thing and struggled through one row.  She came up to me and grabbed the handles and said, "This is too hard for you, let me take over." And she did and finished the garden without stopping.  We have a picture to prove it.  We had many an hour of singing, praying, and reading the Word together with Mama.  She would go to her bedroom and shut the door and time and time again she would pray for her grandchildren, Leroy and the church, the heathen too, for 45 minutes and start over again at night before she fell asleep.  These are blessed memories of my darling Mama.
*Celinda, Cora and Carl Taylor's granddaughter, was fatally injured in a car crash with her Grandpa, who also died, his life being taken instantly when the car struck a truck in the midst of a rainstorm.  A third missionary (for 19-year-old Celinda, though nineteen, was truly a missionary before she could officially made one) was killed, a husband and father of several small children. This triple tragedy served, however, to bring many people to Christ.  Cora prayed that it might.  And this happened shortly after she prayed:  She had served coffee to her visitors after the church service.  As it was growing late, she invited a lady to stay, but the lady decided to drive home instead of staying overnight with Cora.  At home she was talking to another lady on the phone, when they heard the lineman cut in, "Excuse me, ladies, I am a lineman  up on the pole working on the telephone line and just overheard you speaking about a woman Cora Taylor who lost her husband in an accident, and how she had peace in
spite of the terrible accident and losing her loved ones.  Could you tell me how she could have such peace?"  Well, they did, and he was led to the Lord, accepting Jesus as his personal Savior!--Editors
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