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April 5, 2012     The Adams County Record
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Etirl] iI liO|ll, i;liRiIlii]i ill aU:IIIUL.IILUJ LL JIJIilL.jjjiJll..JL = .] []JINB1 llii Page 12 Community Spotlight Few remembered Ruth Dewhirst's 84th birthday in February, but she was OK with that. Quiet l;eo- pie like Ruth usually never become famous, but their histories often reveal rare inner strength and cour- age born by lives of self- reliance and hard work. Today her modest home in Council reflects her love of yard sales and col- lectables. Assorted blue glassware shines in the kitchen, and her daugh- ter's elaborate needlework garnishes the walls. Ruth's hand-braided rugs warm the floor. At 12 noon a cascade of chimes and choruses erupt from her many curio clocks. Elgin, Howard and Seiko Regulators; the intricate lead work of Centurions; eagle clocks, singing birds, even a huge jigsaw puzzle clock, 6 feet tall; she loves all 42 of them. She showed her lat- est project, an intri- cate embroidery of pine branches stitched across a tablecloth. "I taught myself needlework from an old book;' she explained. "I never could just sit" Mighty Mouse, her sweet 12-year-old Chihuahua likes to snug- gle beside her. She wasn't so sweet when she arrived. Unbeknownst to Ruth, the 10-month-old dog had terrorized three previous owners in Twin Falls. "I wondered why her owners brought her way over here and then left so quickly 7 she laughed. It didn't take long to find out. "Lots of times I had blood dripping off my fingers, but I decid- ed I'd either break her or hang her hide on the fence. Sometimes I didn't know which one was going to happen first;' she recalled. Mighty Mouse finally gave in. Ruth cherishes morn- ing coffee and happy hour dinner with her beloved daughter and son-in-law next door. They go down to her Wildhorse home- stead to run their cattle in the spring. Her life story is that of family and Idaho farm- ing. A long time ago she realized, "the pastures are no greener someplace else. It was my motto then, and it prob- ably still is today:' She comes from strong stock. Her Swedish grandfa- ther immigrated from Finland before 1900 to homestead 160 acres of tim- berland near Crooked River in Idaho. For nine hard years he slaved to bring his family over to the new land. Ruth was born in Salem, Oregon while her dad worked in a Pee Dee saw- mill. A mill fire destroyed his dreams there, and they returned to homestead in Idaho. Harvested tim- berland became hay fields filled with tree stumps, and young Ruth and her older sister Louise negoti- ated horse drawn equip- Wednesday, April 4, 2012 The Adams County Record Ruth [ Jewhirst A Quiet History of Inner Strength By Deb Wilson ment through the maze. Woe to the team and driver who snagged their machinery on a stump. Ruth recalled one day that Louise tired of driving the derrick, a huge con- traption of poles, cables and iack forks used to stack the hay. Louise talk- ed Ruth into letting her drive the fractious old hay wagon horse, and she narrowly escaped death when the runaway horse crashed through the fields. Life was hard in an isolated existence, rais- ing animals and growing hay and gardens. A hand pump fed water into the house, and the family bathed in a big washtub. Her dad and granddad had dug half-mile-long ditches iust to get the water on to the property, and then ran ditches and pipe through the huge hay fields. Seldom did the girls have any playmates. Ruth's best friends became her animals. She trained hors- es, and trained her dogs and goats to pull wagons and work. Ruth's dad was an easy- going man even during the harshest work. He had no sons; Ruth was his "boy; the child who worked along side him, crosscutting timber and milking the cows. Work gave her strength, and dad taught her patience. Mom moved with the girls to an abandoned house in Wild Horse so they could attend school some years. Occasionally Ruth was home schooled, and sometimes she had to board with strangers in town. "I was so homesick I was ill," she remembered. For two years she rode horseback to a small log school several miles away, and never made it to high school. At 17 she married Arnold Emory, who helped with her dad's farm before his 2 years in WWII. Arnold never talked about his time in the war when he returned to the farm. Their beau- tiful daughter, Ann, was born in 1947, and was sit- ting on the work horse in front of her mother by the time she was one month old. Ruth was determined to complete her high school edu- cation. For 5 years she stud- ied during win- ter down time to obtain a cor- respondence diploma. Soon the whole dif- ficult process of educating Ann began, as there again was no school in the area. When Ann was married, Ruth and Arnold moved to his grandparents' homestead in Wildhorse for 31 years. It was an isolated location in a deep canyon near Sheep Rock and Cuddy Mountain. Arnold worked for the Forest Service in Council while Ruth ran 30 cattle, mended fences, mowed and hauled hay and irrigated the fields by herself. "I didn't have time to be lonely," she said. Her daughter brought her a colt for Mother's Day, and "Skunky" became her best friend for 25 years. It was the most fun she ever remembered, barreling down the mountains on Skunky after a busy work day. After 49 years of mar- riage, Ruth needed to go her own way. She moved to Council, but compas- sionately, she took care of Arnold, and was there holding his hand when he died. She married lim Dewhirst, whom she deeply loved, but on a tragic day in 2000, Jim's strength faded. A terrible stroke left him paralyze& Ruth never left his side for 5 weeks while he lan- guished in a coma. After attempts at rehabilitation she kept him at home until she could no longer handle his dementia. Sadly he moved permanently to a Weiser nursing home eight years ago. They had a year and 3 months together before the stroke. "I grieve about the person he was;' she sighed. When she visits him he knows it's her, but he's often hallucinating a past life. Soon she'll start her vis- its to Wildhorse, where her mother's propane stove heats the kitchen in her camper, and Mother's Day flowers fill the new bed out front. She cherishes the life she has. "If there are any such things as golden years, then these are my golden years," she said. "I love my family and they love me." Friends of the NRA The Friends of the NRA Heartland Committee met on the 26th for reor- ganization and elections. Elected to office were Ryan Zollman Chairman, Allen Marshal Co-Chair, Gene Foster Secretary and Scott Jones Treasurer. Steve Vreeland, NRA Field Rep for Idaho, con- ducted a brief orientation of the goals and purpose of the Friends of the NRA and explained that this is a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization. The money raised by the Friends of the NRA is used only for range improvements, youth programs and other shooting activi- Hunt Lodge in McCall on ties. Half of the funds Sat. 6:00 PM on August 4, raised stay in Idaho, and 2012. Dinner Tickets will Idahoans determine who be available for $35.00 receives the grants, per person, and must be This years fundraising purchased in advance. dinnerwill be held at the The committee is plan- by Gene Foster ning another fun and exciting evening with good food, guns, gear, and gadgets that should please everyone. @Allstate 24 hour towing and roadside service! Recommended and contracted with most major Auto Clubs and Insurance Companies 208-253-3614