A Tribute to Judy – Part 3

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Published Monday, September 11, 2023
by Ernest Hammer

Judith Darlene Hammer

May 31, 1938 - August 8, 2023

Flood of 1965

My Baker grandparents had moved from the farm in Hanover into Fountain. Judy, I and Tony lived in their house that summer and the next summer. The second summer the house was a dirty mess because the mice had moved into it during the winter.

I graduated from college in May of 1960. We bought a small ranch twenty miles south of Ellicott. Our ranch buildings were on the east side of Squirrel Creek. In the summer of 1965, we were in Security, Judy's father was helping me work on our car at a friend's shop. It was raining very hard, and the streets were flooding. There were also tornado warnings. Judy and her mother didn't know what to do. The fire trucks came by offering to take them to a safer place, but they refused. They didn't know whether to get under the bed or in the closet. Tony had stayed at a neighbor to attend Bible School. We could not reach them by phone. We called my Dad. He drove eleven miles over to our house. When he got within a half mile from our house, he could tell that Squirrel Creek Valley was under water.

My Dad had a friend who was in the Army and stationed at Fort Carson. He got a helicopter, went to where we lived to search for Tony. He found Tony with our neighbors and some other friends sitting safe on a hill on the east side of Squirrel Creek Valley.

It was four days before we could get to our house. The high-water mark on our house was six feet. Amazing thing: No water got into our house. We had covered our windows with plastic to keep the cold out and failed to remove them in the spring and it kept the water out.

Our neighbors one half mile to the north couldn't move back into their house. The flood had moved it slightly off its foundation.

We moved back into our house for a few weeks.

I found a good ranch job north of Eckley. It was a cow-calf operation with a feedlot where we fed out the calves we raised. 

We attended the First Nazarene Church in Wray. When the funeral director in Wray found out that Judy could sing, he had her sing at all his funerals.

A very nice widow lady was my boss. She had a son who ran the farming operation and checked on me. I had one hired hand. It was perfect. However, after I had been there over four years, I heard about this farm and ranch position about sixty miles north. It paid more money and gave me more responsibility. Wrong!

After we had been there two and half months, the young ranch owner got a semen shipment. I went to check with him about the shipment and he said it was none of my business. I said, "I quit!"

I went in to tell Judy and we said, "now what?" We could probably go back home. The next day, our friends, Bill and Elaine Siminoe, whom we met in college, stopped by.  We hadn't seen or talked to them for a couple of years. He was Superintendent of a VoTech school in Curtis, Nebraska. He had a job for me.

God works in mysterious and wonderous ways.

Next: Nebraska

Part 2 was published September 4, 2023, and can be found here.

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