“Lolke, I will marry you only if you quit working for the city, I worry myself sick every day for fear that you get killed.”
“But I have never made more money than by laying sewer pipes” said Lolke, however Agnes was unrelenting.
“I am too young to be a widow.”
When Agnes had something in mind she was grimly determined to see it through, though that drive slowed right down when the topic turned to marriage, even though she talked about it as if they were married already.
But then a stroke of luck hit Lolke which pleased Agnes very much as well, the trucking firm he worked for when he was employed at the bakery wanted to hire him full time, be it at a severe loss of wages.
It was a hard decision for Lolke but he said farewell to the sewer pipes and took the gravel truck job, mainly to please Agnes. He told himself that he loved Agnes, but she could be more than a wife for him, since he knew that she would be an capable administrator if he ever was able to afford his dairy-farm, a skill he definitely lacked.
Lolke - “I worked Fridays and Saturdays at the bowling alley which more than made up for the loss of wages, because after a while I was able to setting pins of two alleys of five-pins at the same time, and sometimes three. I worked my but off and did this for more than a year beside hauling gravel.”
“Saturday-nights at eleven the big shots came in for ten-pin bowling. I got good at that too, so I did easily two alleys and when you set fast and good, you would get tips.
The big shots just rolled the silver cash through the gutter towards me, so the money just rolled in you might say.
And then we finally got a break.”
A dutch rancher near Windermere who owned a chicken business on large acreage, wanted a manager to operate his new enterprise of growing potatoes and strawberries on the unused land.
Lolke drove over to check it out and when the businessman showed him a nice furnished house to live in as part of the deal, he went for it. Finally he had a decent place for what should've been Helen, but was now for Agnes, who was more than enthusiastic about moving into the country and recommended that they should get married.
The ceremony was held in the church after the morning service without bridesmaids and the usual trimmings, which was not unusual in the fifties. The bride was given away by her father, the city barber, and the preacher read the christian reformed form of marriage, which among other things stated that henceforth the bride would have to be obedient to her new husband.
Lolke smiled when he looked sideways to his strong-willed feminist inclined bride, who looked as if she had swallowed a life frog, after hearing what she did not want to hear, and while Lolke kept that wicked grin on his face, her cheeks got as red as her mother's crimson geraniums on the living room window sills.
“And inside of me I swore 'Lolke, you are not getting tonight what you think you were getting.”
Lolke – “Then I realized why Agnes had shied away from marriage.”
Both newly wedded enjoyed the three hour trip by the one ton truck from Calgary to Windermere and Agnes was ecstatic about the house. After unloading mostly Agnes' belongings they met the dutch owner who quickly took Lolke with him to show him his responsibilities while Agnes reorganized the inside of the furnished house in order to make it look more like their own place. The fridge and freezer were generously stocked and in no time Agnes had fixed a meal together. Their first meal in the country, it looked and smelled delicious and Lolke dug in hungrily. Agnes looked at him with wide open eyes
“You're not a pig are you?” she said to a bewildered Lolke, not knowing what he did wrong.
“Weren't you brought up to pray for your meal, or isn't the meal good enough to pray for?”
“Sure I was brought up with praying but we prayed quiet, for ourselves.” Lolke being afraid that the good meal was getting cold gave in to folding his hands and closing his eyes, but drew the line with him reading the bible after the meal, so Agnes did that herself.
Lolke planted acres of strawberry plants and even more potatoes for weeks on end and liked what he was doing while Agnes showed her talents in the kitchen and in bed. He told Agnes
“I feel as if I'm in paradise with my work and with you.”
Agnes had similar feelings and said “I hope this will never end,” but even biblical paradise had an abrupt and tragic ending.
The dutch-man didn't pay.
After two months of hard working and not being paid Lolke had enough.
“What is the most valuable thing in this house that you would like to have,” Lolke asked Agnes.
“You are not thinking of stealing, are you ? I certainly wouldn't go for that.”
“Of course not dear, just asking.” This time Lolke made the decision.
“I have decided to leave, so far I have never worked for nothing in Canada. Besides a big company in around Cranbrook is asking for a herdsman. So, I think we should take to the road for a new adventure.” And Agnes agreed.
Lolke - “Before traveling to Cranbrook I stopped at a warehouse in Windermere where the boss did business and came out with two men handling a dolly carrying a large freezer, a fridge, a washing machine and a small TV.
All charged to the account of the dutch-man.”
More to come.