The Ekalaka Eagle - Your Community Builder

A tribute to women


March 16, 2018

Upon reading the latest Sykes-Belltower history in the Eagle, I am reminded once again about the great debt that we owe to women and how important they are in our history and indeed to our present.

Two ladies stood out in this story. One was Marguerite Goeders, standing only 4 ft. 2 inches, she magnificently did all the work required on the homestead while her husband worked in their blacksmith shop. The other was Mrs. Kingsley who walked through the snow and inclement weather to deliver mail just to make a living. I suspect that each family had their own story like this. I know that my Grandma Lena Coons grubbed out huge sagebrush with a hoe while she was pregnant, to make a place for a garden. Her garden was the envy of everyone in later years. She was bigger than Mrs. Goeders, but not by much. What is your families story? I bet that you have one.

Now, I know that not all women are wonderful. I’ve met people who had a terrible Mother and I really feel for them as mine, and probably yours, was so wonderful even with their faults. Every time I ate too much homemade ice cream as a kid I would throw up in the middle of the night all over my blankets. My Mother would not say an unkind word to me about it, but just came in and changed my bed clothes. I said to myself, later, that how could I not take care of her the last nine months of her life when she needed me, because of that. My wife was a great mother to our three children and a great wife to me. I often say that I am so grateful to God and to her that we didn't have the divorce and child custody problems that so many families have. She also was a rock for me when I was sick with heart surgery and later neck surgery. How could I not be such a rock for her when she had severe osteoporosis and later cancer. My brother Charles's wife Tonya has stood stoutly by his side through several very serious surgeries. My daughter, Brenda, has decided that she is going to take care of me in my old age, aren't I lucky!

Once when I was nine and my brother Charles was two, my Dad, Lee Lavell, was engaged by the McCamish's to take care of their ranch while they went back east visiting for, I think, several months. Dad came down with the Mumps and became very sick. Of course he sent for Mother to come out and help him.

Women stood by their men throughout American history. They were there through Indian raids, fires, droughts, hard economic times and all the other things that families of those times went through. One of the hardest things that a family can go through, I can personally attest to, is the loss of a child. A lot of children were lost in those early days, it was often more a case of how many survived. This had to be very hard on Mothers.

Of course, women have excelled in things on their own, not just standing beside their husband. One of my Facebook friends, Grace Blair, was a heart surgeon. She started as a little girl from around Ekalaka, Chalks Buttes area, I think. We could make a long list of accomplishments from women, many of them from Ekalaka. I applaud all of them.

Anytime I see something denigrating women, I laugh at the ignorant men who say so. How can we possibly be mean to our wives or other women in our lives, but too often we are. Women can do anything that they set out to do and have proved it time and time again. As men, we are very fortunate to have such wonderful human beings to stand by our side.


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