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Monday, December 13, 2010

There Was To Be No Christmas Tree That Year

This is Sunnyslope farm about three miles north of Lewisville and One mile west of Highway 15, that I have told you so much about. I know it's hard to tell that it's on a slope of a hill, but nearly all of it is from the moment you turn west off the rural County gravel Road 117 into the driveway and proceed up to the House. Ten or even twenty years ago the huge maple tree on the left of the drivway went down in a storm, just as one more in that row, the one the childrens tire swing hung from up by the house did so many years ago, while the Meyer children were still young. As far as I know the pines that line the driveway on the right side remain. Hopefully most of the other woods and trees remain. [In the photo you see the two small trees in front by the county gravel road, purchased by Dewey from Sonny [ born 1947] while he was in his Junior or Senior year of FFA. And the trees had been sprauny at purchase, so you can figure that the photo was taken after 965 and had some good years of growth. The Hen house once stood where the cement is seen and that burned around 1975 or 1976.

Bear with me as I try to get a street view map view. So far I have County Road 117 and I have Trunck 35 in View. I want my figure to be at that corner where the Bridge is and maneuver him north a few yards. I have tried to maneuver the little man onto County Road 117 in front of the Lewisville Game Farm Management- Slew where the children Ice Skated at times, which is located West over the hill Behind Sunnyslope Farm on of course flat land; but the man does not stay there..

Below you see the three children Christmas day with Grandpa Herman. Pictures say what word do inadequately express. sometimes
Above you see the three children on Christmas day with Grandpa Herman with a present they want to show they received.. Pictures say what word do inadequately express. Sometimes Words spoken can get you in the end. [Grin].

Did I not tell you that Sylvie loved to put one over on her children. She loved to tease them. It didn't take them too long to learn that was the deal. And what does it lead to eventually. Yes. Doubt.

I start my Christmas tale today with Sylvia and Dewy ready to leave on their way to town. The had kids asked them, if they were going to bring home a tree. Perhaps encouraging, asking if would they soon, since it was getting so late, because they wanted to be doing the decorating soon. For what ever reason, Sylvia cautioned or forewarned the children that they were not to be thinking in a rich frame of mind. They were not going to get a tree. And they drove down the driveway you see in the top picture above and turned left or right and went into town.

Was she being honest or just said that with humor that the children had not perceived.
After their parents left, Sissy and Steve pondered that between them awhile. Something else was worrying them as well, but what is not recalled. They just did not know what to make of the poor state they were in or the alternative that their mother did not mean it. They peeked into the bean ben in the barn, and knew it was nearly empty and finally they made up their mind that she must have meant it. They would not get a tree.

When the family got a tree they would buy a five or six foot short needled tree in a Lot of cut trees, just like you do still today. Dewey's favorite place was the lot by the Dairy Queen in St James. The kids had gone along many times and picked out a short needled tree, which Sylvie liked best. They lived on the plains of Minnesota, not the big northwest where woods and forest and bears wandered through evergreens in the woods. I know you noticed the Woods the Meyers had, but it was broad leafed trees with no bears or Deer. The only pines on the farm were those along the driveway that the parents just drove down and out of.

It was known to them that single row of pines was planted while Dewy was young. Because Dewy had spoken about it with a sense of family pride of the task accomplished with all the trees planted at the same time of the same type and
height to look so uniformly nice to give an Alee' effect. [ And a kind of wind block.]

The front yards was meant to resemble a little formal estate with it's formal kind of fish pond in the middle of that lawn and the long alley drive. [Actually it was considered a medium distance run to catch the school bus]

Why or how the idea occurred to the two children that they could gift a surprise for a good Christmas with a tree is not exactly known. I do know the instigator probably was Sissy, because for her 'No' did not mean 'No' until it was known to be impossible by any means. Steve was the best friend / brother team worker a sister could ask for in a brother.

They set about accomplishing this task.
We know the children had prepared a tree for going into the house. Steve worked on the lights And Sissy fussed with some decorations. It was in place when the parents came home in the evening. Sissy did not remember what Sylvia and Dewey said when they came home. As parents are often -- Speechless, and then not! I suspect that Sylvia knew she could not be angry. After all she had said what she had said. Sissy was still not all that sure to take her word that they would have gotten a tree after all, just not that day!

I have often wondered what Sylvia thought every day of her remaining life at the farm, as she walked down and up lane and could not help but glance at the row of the evergreen trees where that one tree stood out from all the rest in that row as being there strangely different - shorter from all the others. What was she thinking as she gazed at that spot where the missing four or five feet of its top had been crudely chopped off.

I hope you can fulfill your holiday needs. Happy trails to your Christmas.

Sources: Images are from some of my saved blogs of Free Images.


  1. I would love to have a scan of the H.M. Haycraft truck above. He was my Great Great Grandfather. I have a picture of the inside of the merchantile but that's all. Thank you!

  2. Thankyou for commenting. I am glad you found the picture here at the blog. I will contact your email too. Today I happen to return to Queries of Minnesota Historical community and did note the Haycraft name queries. Isn't that coincidental? I also asked the watonwan historical society for permission to use their pictures. Maybe the stores did not have a name, but wasn't their a glimpse of it. See my links at the side.
    Any way I will get in touch with you. I did return lots of pictures to my brother awhile back. But that picture is probably safe in Picasa.

    Is it true that the store burned as shown at Otte website? I thought I had put in their link, but I don't see it after all. It made me so sad for the historical stores to be gone. It was a Hardware store wasn't it. Behind that truck? Or where? My memories are not so good of what was what. And what was the other next to it,that went as well.

  3. I hope I didn't miss your email to me. I haven't seen it yet. Once I have the picture, I can better tell, and ask the relatives, about the building behind the truck. Sadly, MANY of the old original buildings have been torn down or burned down within the last 30 odd years. The laundromat, the hardware store, the grocery, two restaurants...the list continues.

    One would scarcely believe what a bustling little town Lewisville once was to look at it today and just hear the stories as it was.

  4. Anonymous, I did email you, or I thought I did, but then I am a tad forgetful. I will go back and see your first posting on my email and then see my sent mail or my drafts.
    I fixed the photo in the one email. I removed the black spots in the upper area. Is that okay or would you like it just the way it is shown.

    And thanks so much for the news about Lewisville.

    How do you like your county book. Has it been helpful and truthful.