RURAL BRYANT, SD, PRESENTS:
to Pearl Ginther and son Ron Ginther,
April 10, 2008
I am not going to put words into Steve's mouth. You can read now what he wrote, leaving out only the technical information about costs concerning his picture project to raise money for the barn.--Ed.
Dear Auntie Pearl & Cousin Ron,
Thanks for your letter! Auntie Be used to gently scold me, at the reunions for not writing more often. Ioved those ltitle scoldings and I usually responded with a letter. Anyway, in these days of emails & voicemails the hand-written letter has been dubbed snail-mail; however it remains "the best" for numerous reasons. So thank you!!!
The print [of the old barn that Stephen Stadem, the artist, did and copied to make framed pictures to sell to support the building project] to Auntie/Sister Cora was sent last weedk, so maybe she should be receiving it about now. Your uncle/brother and Sister/Auntie Lee & Liz included a letter and Greta (our 7 year old) included a card. Shipped all in a heavy cardboard "krumkaka" roll from a rug (cut it down with a saw), so should arrive safe & sound.
Shipped Auntie (or a #2 print of 150). Framed #1 of 150 for you, however, was unsatisfied with the framing so this is #3 of 150. #1 seemed more appropriate for our eldest whippersnapper but this is barn board from the barn in the picture, whereas the other is from the Waldow barn. Marie Waldow gave me permission to salvage, as their barn is on its knees. Also the glass in your frame is old (ripple glass) probably 70-100 years old. It does have a tint to it, but what I like even more than that is the irregularities represented. It seems to fit the scene. It would be the type of glass in those windows in the PLAIN VIEW BARN.
Anyway, hope you enjoy the print, and through proceeds, hopefully rendered, we'll be able to build a barn on this site within 2-3 years. TGBTG Stephen.
[Technical information on the prints, costs, etc.]
Anyway, thanks for wanting to be a part. With a new barn outfitted for a retreat type setting the use of the farm will be expanded greatly and families will be able to plan their own get-togethers there. There will be all kinds of possibilities. i think about how G'pa & G'ma had tent revival type meetings, and how we can minister to the wider community. It's our heritage!
Hope to see you at the Reunion [June 2008]. Love you much.
His & yours,
Note: This response to Uncle Leroy's Chronological Accounting Letter of his family, stands on its own, as a sort of guidepost beside the Pilgrim Road we all should be walking as we follow the Lord, so it is offered here, after Uncle Leroy's son's letter to his Aunt Pearl and Cousin Ron, as it can reflect back on what he is saying, adding some more perspective, as his letter was written five years before this.--Ed.
A Poetic Response to Leroy Stadem's Family Account,
by Nephew Ronald Ginther
What do you see when you read Lee Stadem’s account?
Does God’s goodness stand out,
and the grand theme of His faithfulness run throughout?
Or, do man’s follies and vanities leap from the pages
and call for a dunce’s cap with a shout?
Some folks at Christmas write
and list things that make them look better,
Even make them shine, as they sing their own praises!
But for a generation that has lost the ability to blush,
How they can brag, and boast, and strut,
their ego like yeasty dough, bubbling with gases, forever raises!
But just look at the lives unfolded from these Two:
We first see a young man
who sought a godly wife among the available few.
He could have chosen some big-city-loving, little “honey,”
who was looking for parties and thrills and plenty money.
How long could she have stuck
at the calling of a pastor’s wife?
With those goals in mind
there’d soon be restlessness and strife!
“Hon, DeSmet’s way too dinky—-
if you really love me, you’ll get us a bigger church
and a parsonage to which I'm not ashamed to invite friends over!”
But where would she ever be content
to make her nest and perch?
Watertown? Minneapolis? Milwaukee?
Certainly not Platte, DeSmet, or Mobridge on the muddy Missouri!
Pastoring small-town churches
where plain folks sat in the pews,
supported family values and solid communities
and didn’t mind at all hearing the feedlots
or dairy’s cows’ moos?
But even these scenes of rural tranquility—-
with children coming each in turn
to make up the circle of a happy family--
knew sad events, and even violent storms
when lightning struck,
and suddenly, loved ones known a lifetime, departed,
as if yanked away by a fisherman's hook!
If anything is certain in life,
it’s that life will change;
From spring to winter, all the events transpire
that only an Omniscent, Almighty God could arrange.
Some events make fairly good sense to us,
but others, none, like a little child falling under a bus!
Leroy had to minister to both light and dark,
he couldn't choose the trees that populated the park--
some were fruitful, like sweet and pretty apple trees,
others were solemn, dark yews and cypress,
such as you see in cemeteries!
There came times when God seemed no where present in the tragedy,
but Lee couldn't call someone else in
to his small town church
to take his pulpit
and for the family of a known, lost, reprobate soul
bring a Grace-filled word of eulogy.
And then there were times
when the Sun of Winged Healing broke
gloriously through the dark clouds upon the grieving and sorrowful,
divinely uplifting everyone every downcast soul--
surely that soul was in the courts above
when the Holy Spirit had seen fit to descend among them like a Dove!
Near or far,
able to be touched by a child
or fearfully holy and awesome,
God remained God Almighty, full Sovereign.
This the children turning youths
could not help seeing, or reckon with,
even before braces were removed
from rows of straightened tooths.
The Leroy Stadems also were not quite the same
--yes, that’s compared to other Stadem lines;
they hung nearest the Sweet Old Home Place
--as if they could never get enough
of open season for pheasants and deer,
or early morning hours of crouching in local duck hunting blinds.
But there had to be more to it
-—to draw The heartstrings so tight early on,
that kept tugging them back “Home! Home!”
—- calling Mary! Peter! Tim! Tom! Stephen!
Buxom Aunty Be Schaefer
of the multiple fresh-baked bread loaves,
added to the centrifugal force,
promoting yearly reunions with all the fun and flavor
traditionally attributed to family-loving Norse.
It was a chosen life, true,
but moreso it was a product of Faith’s growing mustard seed;
each in turn, from college days, expressed a greening, seedling faith,
and in the next sentence
acknowledged to deep-pocketed Mom and Pop
some real, urgent, practical need.
When old enough to make adult-like, informed decisions
about life and vocations,
one wrote on a break in a Taco joint
complimenting his pastor dad on his recent sermon,
while another spoke
in gratitude of his Grandma Bergit
as being a “Christ-guided person.”
Mentorings, coming from uncles, aunts, Grandpa and Grandma, Ma and Pa,
yet all dovetailing into faith and character,
they achieved the desired result:
a life of godly direction and purpose, as it were.
Principally, though, was it not their Grandma's influence, with their parents too,
That put such a strong impression
on their forming characters
and that budding center that housed the heart's devotion?
When someone dear and revered lives that close
to God’s heart all her life,
it’s going to cause the young to want
to find the same type of admirable person
for husband or wife.
When the young see action is applied to a promise, or a belief lived rightly,
they learn there's still such a thing
in this world as integrity.
After that nothing less will do,
it’s got to be that way--
For them the Standard was set
early on and indelible--
what a life lived in a Cross-shaped
shadow can do for a human soul:
not sinless, but ever seeking more, more of God
while strenuously resisting the pull away,
while swimming upstream,
rather than easily down, down, down,
which is the old dying world’s seductive way.
They have now reached Mid-Course in their respective vocations;
will they continue against the toxic, dark-stained, popular Culture's tide
to the Christian pilgrim's goal
set in their youth?
Do they see the fruit of a Christ-guided life
they should have seen by now?
Or, if the Millenium's Reign of Christ happened today,
would they have to turn ashamed away
from the likes of Daniel, David, Peter, Deborah or Ruth?
For them each, there rises this one great assurance:
humble but powerful prayers have been prayed,
years and years ago as a divine kind of insurance;
Look at them!
Even now this moment rising as heavenly incense
from the holy altar flaming high above,
wending upwards most fragrantly
beyond any rare perfume earth can know...
and the Savior's Divine Response?--
No, not slow! not slow!
MAY HIS LIGHT SHINE THROUGH OUR HERITAGE,
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
Composed by Stephen Stadem
All Rights Reserved