Jan's Blog Flower



Now reading . . .

"Journey into the Whirlwind"
by Eugenia Semyonovna Ginzburg

"The Wind in the Willows"
by Kenneth Grahame

"The Kite Runner"
by Khaled Hosseini

Friday, September 1, 2006

Be Careful Little Hands What You Do

There is a little Sunday School song called “Oh Be Careful.” One verse says,

Oh, be careful little hands, what you do,
Oh, be careful little hands, what you do,
For the Father up above is looking down in love,
So be careful little hands, what you do.

My oldest sister, Lyla, gave me some notes from a talk that she had with our mother’s cousin, Ruben. This account came from the grandson of Frank P., the man in the story. He said that his grandmother related this incident. Frank P. was said to be a horse trader.

About two years before the immigration, thieves stole a fine team from Grandfather Frank P., my father’s grandfather. They were a smart black team and were often used in the dorf (village) for funerals and so forth.

Exactly how Grandfather Frank located the team is not clear. My father (Emil) says in his notes that his grandfather actually witnessed the theft and followed the thieves to a hideout. He observed them entering a cave or den that was fitted with a door or gate. This was covered with vines and bushes. Frank kept the hideout under surveillance and after a few days was rewarded by seeing two men lead out his horses. They hitched them to a wagon and drove away. Frank followed on foot. At night they stopped, unhitched and tied the horses to the wagon. After cooking and eating supper, they made their bed under the wagon.

Frank waited until after midnight and he was sure the thieves were sleeping. He clubbed one, stunning him, and then quickly subdued the other. Frank was described as over six feet tall and very strong. He took one of the thieves to the wagon tongue, informing him, “Your fingers are too long and that is why you steal. I’ll just cut off the ends of your fingers and then everyone will know you are a thief and you will have to become an honest man.”

Frank said, later, that they pleaded and offered him money but he did not weaken. He served both of them in this way. Then he tied them to the wagon and bandaged their hands. Just before leaving with his horses, he loosened them. He rode his horses home leaving the harness and wagon there.

After this, Grandpa Frank P. watched his stock very closely, even sleeping in the barn. About a year after recovering his team, he awakened to find that his horses were again being stolen. A man was already mounted on one outside the barn. Frank rushed out and pulled him off the horse, unaware of the second thief. As he grappled with the man, the second came out of the darkness and stabbed him in the abdomen. The thieves fled leaving the horses.

Frank P. lived about a year but never recovered his strength and finally died. He told his widow to accompany his brothers to America. He was 32 years old when he died.

My Great Grandmother Goertz, Katherina, was the widow of Frank P. My Great Grandfather Goertz’s wife died aboard ship and she was buried at sea. They married and their first child was my Grandmother Aganetha.

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