Part I:

Stephen Stadem's Letter

to Pearl Ginther and son Ron Ginther,

April 10, 2008

Note: This letter was written by Nephew Stephen Stadem and received when Pearl Ginther was 99 years of age. She was told that the people-friendly "barn" replacing the fallen-down old animal barn might be built on the site "within 2-3 years." When you are nearing 100, how does that news affect you? Mother would know, but she is gone to heaven now, at the age of 101. She did get to see, not the barn completed, but the basement portion in place. It was substantially built after her passing April 30, 2011, and the infrastructure as of May 2014 is being implemented (though the flooring is done for the most part, with some electrical and plumbing also installed). But back to the question, how do you feel if, when 99 years of age, you are told you might have to wait 2 or even 3 more years to see anything transpire? Yet Mother did not lose heart, she had a vision for the "Barn Heritage Center" as she called it, and this vision has borne fruit, as the structure now nears completion, and is a beautiful and also useful thing, indeed, for the purposes God has chosen it to fulfil.

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.

Page 2

[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,


Part II:

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.

"Stadems in the Accounting,"

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!

Links to other sites on the Web:

Plain View Farm Home Pages: The Introductory (or Front Door)

Stadem Families Saga Home Page

Plain View Farm Master Directory

Plain View Farm Road Map

New Main Linking Page




Composed by Stephen Stadem

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