May 13, 2011

Memories of Great-Grandpa Lem Ordway

**I had this blog up for a couple of days and then BOOM! Blogger lost it, apparently.  So I'm reposting this from our guest writer, Jim Delph, nephew of Lem and Lizzie Delph Ordway.  Thanks, Jim!

Growing up on the farm:
Two major construction projects on the farm were important during my growing up years.  First was the installation of a bathroom.  Second was the building of a silo.  There were others, but these two were very important because both were done by the Malinta Silo Company.  That meant a daily shuttle to Grandma Delph's house was available.

To complete the bathroom, built around 1944 or 1945, a cistern was needed.  Dad decided to build one large enough to supply water for the fire department if the house or barn caught fire.  A 12 foot tall Malinta silo was installed in the ground.  I was 8 or 9 and the excitement of the workers using dynamite was wonderful.  I know Phil Ordway worked for the Malinta Company when the feed/ hay silo was built, but I am not sure he was part of the cistern project.
However, I could ride with the workers and stay at Grandmother Delph's house with her and Aunt Julie.  What fun it was to then visit Malinta.  A short walk down a lane would take me to Aunt Bess and Uncle Lem's home.  Bess reminded me of Aunt Sue, who lived next door to me, and I just adored her.  I would visit with George Jr.  He was a little older, but he still put up with me.  We always ended up at the Delph Brothers Store, owned by uncles George Delph Sr. and Pat Delph.

One day Uncle Lem Ordway invited me to go to the Volunteer Firemen's Convention that was going to be held in Napoleon.  All I had to do was get my mom's permission, which she gave.  However, Julie felt I was too young, and shouldn't see the drunks that might be there.  That only added to my excitement because I had never seen a "drunk."
When the day to go arrived, I walked to the Ordway's home and Uncle Lem had his Model A Ford out and ready to go.  We waited a few minutes for two adult men to show up.  I am not sure if they were Lem's sons or just friends.  However, Uncle Lem instructed them to sit in the back, and I was to sit in the front.  Uncle Bruce Robinson, Aunt Sue's husband, had a Model A Ford also , but I am sure it never was driven as fast as we were moving that day.  I loved every second of that trip.  Uncle Lem always had his pipe going.  This day he had his window down for fresh air, and it was cool in the car.  I was told to open a small door by my feet.  This put heat from the engine into the car, a feature that was not on Uncle Bruce's Ford.  We were moving at what I felt was a breakneck speed.  Without slowing down at all, Lem asked me to hold the wheel as he lit his pipe. I have never felt more important than I did at that moment.
We made it to Napoleon to watch the fire trucks, bands, floats and everything else that made the day so special.  The only disappointment was I did not see one "drunk."  It was a wonderful day that I remember as if it were yesterday.

I hope to tell more stories about the time our silo was built.  My first cousin, Phil Ordway, worked on that, and I grew to like him very much.

We look forward to more stories, Jim!


  1. Sarah 'Wiechers' TondraSunday, 24 July, 2011

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and I smiled ear to ear when reading the story of Lem driving to Napoleon because now I know where my grandmother Phyllis got her need for speed while driving. Thank you and I can't wait to read more stories!

  2. I remember your grandma well! My mom, her cousin, lived in L.C. I have lots to post on the Ordways, so stay tuned, and thanks for commenting!