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March 2002 Feature Story

Remembrance of Rueben and True Ulmer

by granddaughter, Kristi Leatherman Hall

There is something about a tree that makes me think of him - sitting wedged between two limbs, pulling the saw back and forth, his denim jacket catching heedlessly on tiny stray branches, a short billed cap bobbing and sliding back and forth, matching the movement of the saw. And my grandmother watching from the kitchen window, twisting her dishtowel in her hands, a forehead lined above concerned eyes. "Please be careful Reuben" she whispers to the empty room."

At 70 years old my grandfather still climbed trees. His mind was a jumbled swirl of the past with various swatches of boyhood moving in and out of his vision. But he still remembered where the blue denim jacket hung. And in putting it on became the farmer of his youth, searching out his saw to trim a sickened tree, or build another rick of wood to add to the some 50 piles already surrounding the house.

My grandmother stayed inside close by the window - watching the square of blue dinim move soundlessly. Even thought she could only see the back of his gray capped head, she knew he was smiling. She wanted to put on her coat and go out to stand beneath the tree. Just maybe to call to him to come down to safety. But the image of that smile stopped her, leaving her with nothing but new lines in her face and a twisted piece of cloth in her hands.

She saw the limb fall and watched as he slowly climbed down. Only when he reached the earth did she lay the towel on the counter and move away. She put the plates on the table and sliced the too-done meat, a product of her worry at the window.

He came in saying nothing, hanging his coat and cap on the hook by he door. As she set the silver beside the plates, he pulled a piece of wood from the box and added it to the stove, then turned and gently smiled. "We'll have enough wood from that limb to last a while," he said.

"You take such good care of us, Reuben," she said, and sat down at the table and took his hand to say grace as they had done all of their married life.

Rueben Ulmer

       Reuben L. Ulmer, son of Emanuel and Sarah Heim Ulmer, was born February 24, 1893, and farmed near Dawson, Nebraska. He married True Stratton, a daughter of Clarence W. and Mary Heim Stratton, who was born November 11, 1895. There were six children born to this couple.
Evelyn Mary Ulmer (who never married)
Lorraine Elnora (who married Allen Shorney)
Sylvia Fern (who married Dale Anderson)
Ernest Reuben Ulmer (who never married)
Marian Florence (who married Wayne Leatherman)
Nadine Doris (who married Ron Hill)
Reuben, who died in 1973 and True who died in 1991 are buried side by side in the Heim Cemetery.


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