Books [Canyon City Folkways]
Life was so hard. It demanded the most from everyone for mere existence. However, it was the only life many of us knew so we accepted the hardships fairly willingly.
It seems strange to me how much the weather has changed. Canyon had long, cold, hard winters when I lived there. Now, quite often the winters are open. Too, it seldom gets as cold there now as it did in early days. Why, I remember that even our bread would freeze as hard as a rock in the worst part of the winter. (Ed. This change in the weather has been noted by many).
I was fourteen when my mother became very ill and passed away. The tragedy of her death has been with me all these years. Mother desperately wanted an orange. Oranges were a real luxury then. In order to get mother the oranges father had to dispatch a man to Baker City to buy her some. Mother died, asking for orange juice. The rider got back too late with the oranges. Baker City was over 100 miles across two mountain ranges from home.
I remember a lady, Mrs. Dean, gave to we children what she called a missionary hen. All the eggs this chicken laid we children were to sell and give the money to the Methodist Church for foreign mission work. We made quite a little money for the church from the sale of these chicken eggs.
This Mrs. Dean kept house for us for two years. Dear, she was a trial! She was as deaf as a nail, which used to irritate us. Along with being deaf, she was quite religious.
One evening she had all of we children down on our knees saying our evening prayers. Dick, my brother started to snicker. She scolded him sharply for laughing at God and told him to stand up. To punish him severely she told him he couldn't pray again until he quit snickering. Well, you know Dick, I don't