RURAL BRYANT, SD, PRESENTS:
A View of the Stadem Heritage,
by Ronald Ginther
a soil rich, all virgin-loamed;
flowered prairie, grassed man-tall,
wind-swept and with room for all.
This the settlers found and took--
people of the Plow and Book;
soon the farm, and town, and fence
drove the buffalo from thence.
"Vikings," hardy forebears of ours,
left their homes on wave-beat shores;
"Stadheim" was one tribe of them,
hale in heart and strong in limb.
What lured them here to delve the sod?
What drove them from the search for cod?
What drew them to the wilderness,
from a land more beautiful, not less?
Yet here the Stadems drew forth their food,
they tamed the earth, they called it "gud";
it gave them corn, and lefse too,
but as for "fiske"--bullheads, yes! Other kinds, few!
Churches soon our forebears built,
God's Word well-preached was what they dealt;
godly life and Luther's way,
they looked to God from day to day.
Schools next rose up in town,
heated with hard coal, or brown;
Catechized, and 4 R's blessed,
most children gave it their full best.
Stadems were like most back then,
life had knocks, it rough-schooled them;
like to eat? Then plant and plow--
how totally unlike us now!
Push the button, use your brain,
FAX a message from your plane;
it's easy now, if you compare,
the Old Ways died, and do we care?
Was their effort all in vain?
Don't we think them odd or strange?
We're advanced, they're "primitive,"
now life is "get,"
while theirs was "give."
We buy whatever whims decide,
we're only going for the ride;
no longer do we suffer want,
it's "cool" to look thin, starved and gaunt.
How different from them we all are!
The gap wide, the way back too far;
we cannot cross from here to there,
unless we trace their path with care.
Why did they leave? Why did they go?
The questions make me want to know.
They seemed to hear a special Call:
"Yon Promised Land, it's free to all!"
They learned their lessons hard and well,
the story yet is left to tell.
How did they do it? And still thrive?
In their place, could we survive?
Mark each name, each weathered face
of this stalwart, hard-pressed race;
sacrifice, endurance long,
true pioneers we know from song.
Oh, it's nice, the sentiment,
sweet and tender, heaven-sent;
but real sweat that poured for years
grounded lives that know no peers.
They thanked God for the corn mush pot,
no envy for what fine folks got;
they thanked God for their booted feet,
not for them town styles effete.
Grateful for the crowded bed,
when winter's cold struck toe to head!
They thanked God for good jokes too,
the lightly poking "Norskie" view.
Down-home fiber, pluck, and grit,
there's little trace now left of it;
reunions take us to the place,
but life raced on and changed her face.
Half-way round the earth they came,
learned new language, trimmed their name;
gave up old Norwegian lore,
'cept "Mange tak!" said at the door.
But they obeyed the voice of God:
"Leave thy kindred, hearth, and sod;
now follow Me, you won't regret,
and in America cast thy net!"
I only hope we hear it too,
and follow Him with faith He grew;
we must not settle on this shore,
let's make a pilgrimage once more.
How strange it feels to walk this way!
Yet deny it, and opt to stay,
we'll never know what forebears knew,
as they launched forth to worlds new.
Gathering the Fruits of Their Labors With Joy & Thanksgiving
"Now the Lord said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred,
and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee;
and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee,
and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing."
"Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
whose heart is set on pilgrimage."
"We went through fire and through water,
but You brought us out to rich fulfillment." Psalm 66:12b
Links to other pages on this Website
MAMA AND PAPA'S STORIES
THE STADEM GENEALOGY
GOD'S LITTLE ACRES
TALES FOR A LILLE TUPIN OR TUTA: Tornado!
TRIBUTE TO PEARL
LINKS AND CHAT
CENTRAL FOR RON'S WRITINGS
NEW PAGES AND LINKS FOR RETURN VISITORS