"Gurina and Peder:

A Union of Godly Expedience,"

A Tribute to Peder and Gurina Stadem,

by Gr Grandson, Ron Ginther

Card Written in Norwegian

by Mother Gurina Stadem

to her Stepson Alfred Stadem,

May 2, 1918


An honest, God-fearing man needs a good woman to attend him

through both life's infrequent joys and frequent tribulation,

so Peder the widower sought a wife again

for the sake of his motherless children.


He had loved his Marie Hansine

as much as a good-hearted man could,

but he thought over his burdens and prospects,

and his eye fell on a certain lady

many thought resigned to widow's weeds or widowhood.


Both sorely needed each other

--she a father to her five own,

and he a mother for the surviving three

he and Marie had in their youthful vigor sown.


What other drawbacks each faced in their daring union,

the prime thing was assured the act of expedience--

as long as they could prevent rancor and disunion.


There had to be fairly practiced love

along with obedience and duty,

and they must not play favorites,

which creates rivalry and jealousy.


Uffdah! There would be some tittle-tattle

of some small-minded folk--

what else can they do?

But wiser matrons of pioneering stock

knew marriageable males of Peder's mature worth

were choosey and, if not rare, were few.


Gurina herself was a respectable widow of note--

attending well to her household.

She could even handle a loom

and weave a decent coat!

Ja, they took some real risk

making one of two families,

while restarting marital relations,

a younger man with an older woman!


Yet she bore him two sons

in this unlikely, autumnal match--

which could only mean the elder's fire rekindled,

as she clung to her hot-blooded Stadem catch.


Malvin and Adolph came late,

like September's or October's fruit,

ripened just in time before frost

struck her birth-scarred womb, plant and root.


Odd, how the pair went to war and served,

and settled back on the Farm but never married,

so their grapes proved seedless--

like the fig tree that hungered Jesus,

full of green leaves, but otherwise barren and fruitless.


Paired like twins,

set in a flock of half-brothers and half-sisters,

they might have thought themselves a cut above--

such feeling naturally occurs.


Imagine, there is no hint of any such thing,

all these blended, half-and-half Stadems

went about their humdrum tasks as stoic Nordics,

with diligence and rigorous, starched Sunday decorum.


Yet, lo and behold, no James Dean maverick,

no Viking throwback in all his brutal glory,

erupted in all this motley, humble Stadem tribe!


It had to be practiced and inbred Stadem Solidarity,

with a fervent spirit of ancient agrarian tribal cohesion,

to which today's lofty, urban, technologically advanced generations,

that generally abhor such togetherness,

no longer subscribe.


And what greater strength could they attain

than through corporate and individual bonding, day by day,

in all the humble activities and work

of field, barn, school, and home

that climaxed in Church on Sunday.


Sunday was still God's Holy Sabbath,

the sanctified Day of Worship and Man's Rest,

ordained by God for all the sons of Shem,

and Ham, and Japheth.


Now that Sunday is no longer held holy,

and the day is pretty much like any in the week,

we rush about stressed and strained,

wondering why our faith-life is limp, pallid and weak.


Howso? The Family Altar no pious lip service was given;

it was real--

prayers, even devotions, before and after meals,

made sure Christlikeness

into each young heart was deep driven.


Perhaps it seems the old Stadem family piety is past,

it served its purpose for them

as long as it could reasonably last.


But now we think we face different challenges, and new views,

that include gay marriage and transgenders,

whatever lifestyle or sex modern, self-defining people opt to choose.


Don't you wonder how much Family Solidarity is lost

when we let the Holy Sabbath ways go?

What was once the week's main focus,

the linchpin on which the door

of every godly home swung to and fro?


What was shut out? The world's strife

and the slow, immoral stain

that darkened and divided human intellects

and souls,

soul from soul, with greed for worldly, selfish gain.


What was let in was Redemption from sin,

and Christ's Way for man and family

was preached, taught, practiced, instilled,

and by example, Catechism recitation,

and discipline, and more discipline, drilled within.


The godless, unhomogenous family defined by the world,

or the Solidarity-Practicing, God-Fearing Family defined by the Word of God?

Take your pick, choose this day!

But I will remember faithful Joshua,

who in the wilderness led the way,

and carried Moses's holy rod.


It's true my Great-Grandparents

could not have foreseen the radical changes

we see everywhere we look.

Pitiful, primitive, illiterate agriculturalists?

I have to question that!

All they knew, and all they had to know

for a good, godly life,

was the Way set by God's eternal, Norwegian-language Book.


Vital Stadem Family Statistics from Family Historian Barbara Vorseth Benson's Stadem Genealogy, "The Descendants of Oline Madsdatter Vikoren and Sjur/Syvert Olsen Stadheim":

Gurina Erickson: born 1852, died 1943; Peder Johan Stadem: born 1861, died 1920. Gurina was nine years older than Peder, yet she outlived him by twenty-three years! Married in 1894, their marriage (the second for both) lasted 26 years and produced much, much good fruit! Blessed be their memory! Both of Peder's parents are listed in the Heartland Township, Worth County, Iowa Census Records of 1870 as illiterate, or "cannot read or write." If only we were "illiterate" and achieved what Sjur and Oline, Peder and Marie, and Peder and Gurina achieved--namely: Family Solidarity, Godly Values, Patriotic Civic Duty, and Reverence for God, instead of the pale copies we have made of these things!

"Rancher's Version" of Joshua's Famous Proclamation in Bible: "As for me and my ranch, we will serve the Lord!"

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