Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Uncle Ralph

My Uncle Ralph was a Sergeant in the Army in the Second World War, stationed in the Aleutian Islands, where our country expected the Japanese to invade us from. The Aleutian Islands are within spitting distance of Russia, even closer than Alaska, which I guess means that my Uncle Ralph was closer to Russia than Sarah Palin. Ralph was the oldest in the Williams family. When he came home after the war he took advantage of the GI Bill and went to school one night a week for a couple of years to learn how to be a better farmer. He married and raised five kids and every summer as soon as school let out my mother put me on a Greyhound Bus from Mpls to Charles City, Iowa, where I “worked” on the farm and lived with my Uncle. One summer I was paid a dollar a day for helping out with mowing and baling hay, shocking wheat, gardening, and babysitting as his family grew, so my Aunt Mattie could do her work as a farm wife. My uncle survived as an Iowa farmer, which amounted to being a “middle-class share-cropper,” until the early sixties, when he, like so many other small farmers, had to sell all of his farm equipment and move to “town” where he finished raising his family and got a job as a delivery truck driver. He died many years ago, but I often think of him and the many things he taught me.

Ralph W-Sgt WWII

                            Ralph W-Farmer

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