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Goddings enjoy cooking, Arabian horses

If there is anything better than making new friends, it is getting reacquainted with old ones, like this week when I met up with John and Norma Godding. We were neighbors at Clarissa.

John was born in Clarissa in 1931 to Ray and Naomi. He graduated from high school there and did farm jobs, like picking rock for neighbors at a munificent dollar per day.

John knew from square one that he wanted to be a farmer like his dad. He liked watching things grow, animals, and being in charge. A stretch in the Army came before owning his own land. John married Norma Persons.

John landed in the medical corps. After concentrated hours of training, he did first aid service for a rifle outfit in Korea.

Once back on home turf it didn't take John and Norma long to buy a dairy farm south of Clarissa. They have five children. Pretty feed sacks? Yes, you bet, Norma has fond memories of those sacks along with every other farm wife I've ever talked to. They farmed 23 years, until 1976.

Another interest of the Goddings was feeding people, as in having their own restaurants. They are both good cooks. They had a restaurant in Hewitt for four years, and one in Eagle Bend for 13 years.

Another abiding interest of John's is Arabian horses, any and everything about them. He said they are noted for their endurance, and that every thoroughbred also has some Arabian in them. He spends time each summer on his daughter's farm near Aberdeen, S.D.

The Goddings like the camaraderie and friendliness they find from their apartment at Humphrey Manor. Another week under our big roof and we will have to turn John loose to go back home.

Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y. to be the birthplace of the holiday Memorial Day in 1966. Twenty-three other places make the same claim. General Garfield made a speech on May 30, 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery commemorating the holiday. Afterward 5,000 observers decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

In 1866 the Civil War ended, a day that was set aside for people to mourn. Birmington, Ala. was a city draped in black with a black coffin taking center stage in a solemn parade.

My single known family connection to the Civil War is the story of a 13-year-old boy being swooped from in front of his cabin to the back of a horse ridden by a Union soldier, one of a marching column going past their cabin in Iowa. He was terrified.

He was made a drummer boy in the thick of the bloodiest battle before they reached Vicksburg. After a time he could stand no more of hearing dying men and horses on the battlefield screaming their last and ran for it.

He knew the punishment for AWOL was death so he spent his days hiding. He chose the name "Fred Hickock" and went by it whenever he needed a name. He married a girl called Cynthia and made a home hunting and trapping deep in a Minnesota northern forest.

My grandmother, Sarah, was one of their daughters. She married Fred Linnell of Hewitt. She told of her father's frightening existence. Always running. Always afraid. Never had a friend, always scared.

As soon as one of the older sons was half-grown Fred never came back from one of the extended times he stayed away. After a time, Cynthia moved her family near a town and they tried to live a normal life, which my grandmother says never quite happened.

One of my earliest memories is of a tiny little person wrapped in a shawl, hunched in a chair. I never saw her again. They said she was my Great Grandma Hickock.