Pastor Dave Eckert, who lives nearby and serves as the pastor of the church located across the street, saw us at the door and immediately came to open up and help us carry our equipment into the building.
Dave Eckert standing on the steps of the old First Baptist Church, which is now used by the Minnesota City Historical Society.
The inside of the facility was cozy and perfect for presenting my stories, but what really made the place great was the audience. The members were pretty serious about their farm heritage and eager to share their farm stories with Nancy and me before and after the show.
To begin the program, the audience sang the song "The Farmer is the Man" twice before my show began. The words pay tribute to agriculture as the core of civilization. The first couple lines are "When the farmer comes to town with his wagon broken down,/ Oh the farmer is the man who feed them all! "
Several members pointed out a small embroidered piece with Daniel Webster's words that I had quoted in my Greenfield Village blog last January, and which I show below:
The audience of mostly adults and several children was enthusiastic and fun. My presentation included my story A Farm Country Picnic, which shows the family's haying interrupted by rain. Then they plan to go fishing at a nearby lake, but those plans are interrupted by the Watkins man telling them their cows are out. Audience members understood every detail of the book because most of them have been through it all.
Afterwards everyone stayed for coffee and treats while they visited.
Many told me farm stories and purchased books.
I was honored to sign a book for this couple, Howard and Gladys Volkart, who will celebrate their 65th Wedding Anniversary on October 19, 2011.
Thanks to all who attended. Special thanks go to the O'Grady family, especially Jenn, who led the group in song and spirit. She was one of several who asked many good questions, told stories, and generally made the day a joy.
Thanks to Dave and Brenda Eckert for arranging the event, and a special thanks to Dave for being so generous with his time. He opened up early, provided us with an informal tour, and gave us some history of the area before and after the show.
We hope to see you all again soon.
Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson