Alfred Rustad, Jr. (Ruste) Memories
A Lesson The Hard Way
by Alfred Rustad, Jr. (Ruste)
written in 1983
Looking back on the summer I was ten, reminded me of thetime my mother was in the hospital. My little sister was being taken careof by the neighbors, or more commonly known then as being farmed out. Iwas at that time, chore boy, hay crew and chief cook and bottle washer inthe new house my parents had built the summer before. The Rustad familyhad lost the original house to fire the previous year.
This particular day, my father sent me home from the hayfield fifteen minutes early to prepare dinner. Dinner in those days usuallyconsisted of field potatoes, eggs, bread, milk and coffee.
Arriving home, I took the lid off the stove and felt thepieces of wood there, to see if it might still be burning. It was cold,so needing a fire in a hurry, I put a few more sticks in the stove.
Going to the kerosene can I poured out about one thirdpint into an open can. Quickly going to the stove, I began to pour it overthe wood, not realizing that hot ashes were in the ash can below the burner. With the wooo...oooof that followed, my hand made a sweeping motion, swishingthe burning kerosene in a complete circle of the kitchen.
I found out very quickly that it was faster to wipe outthe fire with my bare hands. Unfortunately, the bottom part of the curtainshanging the windows were burned. In an attempt to conceal the evidence,I neatly cut all the curtains, making them even again. After my heart quitpounding like a tight drum, I hurriedly made dinner and served it as ifnothing had happened.
Of course, Mother noticed the curtains, but thought itwas the handiwork of the neighbor children and didn't want to get them introuble. Nobody knew the real drama of that day until fifteen years laterwhen I decided to reveal one of the most hair raising experiences of mylife.
Jamie Rustad Meagher
T SIZE=+1>Jamie Rustad Meagher