Yvonne Hollenbeck: You gotta be tough! | TSLN.com
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Yvonne Hollenbeck: You gotta be tough!

If you are in the age bracket I am in, you are constantly reminded how frail and decrepit you are “supposed” to be. Especially, since the onset of the current Covid-19 pandemic, we are reminded many times a day about how susceptible we old people are to catching the virus and not outliving it. I know that we older folks have a lot of underlying conditions. Once you top that fifty mark and start aging, it seems that each year brings new health challenges and many of us end up with various maladies, such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, loss of hearing and eyesight impairment, and so on, but it’s hard to call us seniors weak. I’d call us “Survivors” and you gotta be tough to reach that status.

I was born in 1945; that was the year that World War II ended; a brain hemorrhage claimed the life of President Roosevelt; Adolf Hitler committed suicide; and with the end of the war, husbands and boyfriends returned home and the following era was known as the Baby Boom.

Just think of the changes we have survived. We were born before television, Walmart, Tupperware and computers. Many of us in the tri-state area were raised in homes with no indoor plumbing or electricity, with furnaces and air conditioning unheard of. We were born before penicillin, polio shots, CT Scans and MRIs, or the pill. There was no such thing as frozen foods, fast food, instant coffee, microwaves, dishwashers, clothes dryers, or drip-dry clothing. We got married first, then lived together, and closets were for clothes, not coming out of.

You didn’t have to be very old to have chores to do. If you were naughty at school, you got a lickin’ at home, and sometimes extra chores. Grass was cut with a push, walk-behind mower, and weeds were cut with a scythe. There were no heated tractor cabs or big round balers. Much of the feeding was done with a pitch fork or bucket, and cows were milked by hand. It’s no wonder we were tough.

Because of being reminded of my status of “being old,” I decided I needed to downsize and thin out a lot of the things I had been saving. I was going through a box of cards and ran across one dated July 29, 2009, from my good friend, the late Syble Brown of Sturgis (formerly of Faith). She included a letter and in the contents, she wrote the following: When you mentioned your cell phone not working at the ranch, it reminded me of *Ronald Miller, a rancher near Maurine. I have gone to church with them for over 30 years. About a week or 10 days ago, he was moving some cattle and I haven’t heard if his horse threw him or if it fell with him, but he ended up with 9 broken ribs and a collapsed, punctured lung!! He had a cell phone with him, but this happened down in Cedar Canyon, where there shouldn’t be any service!! He tried once, twice, and on the third try, he got his wife on there and was able to tell her where he was. They took a pickup, board, and were able to get him on that board, in the back of the pickup and up and out of the canyon to a road where the ambulance picked him up! I can’t even imagine how much pain he must have endured, can you? But he is coming along real well, and in fact, I think he is home already. And he is 80 years old! Ya gotta be tough, huh?

*Ronald Miller died November 30, 2019, at the age of 91.


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