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A Tribute to Judy – Part 6

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Ernest Hammer

Judith Darlene Hammer

May 31, 1938 – August 8, 2023

Back to Squirrel Creek Ranch

Andy and Kim went to Hanover School. Andy graduated in 1981; there were eight seniors. 

We didn’t have enough cows to make a living. I got a job as County Director for the Crowley County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) in Ordway. It was a sixty-mile drive one way, mostly on dirt road. Kim was a junior at Hanover and there were only two girls in the class. The one girl decided to go to Fountain to school and Kim rode with me and to school in Ordway. Kim played basketball and some other night activities.

Judy got a job working with a neighbor and friend, Ninetta Vette, at the Fountain Car Auction selling food. Fridays, Judy would pick up her mother and go shopping for bargains in Colorado Springs.

In my travels from home to Ordway I drove several different used cars and a couple of new ones. Coming home after dark, Judy could first see my car lights eight miles away. One time, she didn’t see car lights at the regular time. I was about a mile and a half from the house, and she saw these strange dim lights. As I got closer, she saw that it was my car. I had hit a cow, and it knocked the headlights out of their sockets, and they were hanging down beside the car. I had another new Datsun that I also hit a cow with.

I carried two spare tires. One morning I drove straight down the Boone road, which was paved to Highway 96. It was a few miles more but less dirt. One morning just before I got to the railroad tracks, I had a flat tire. One of my spares was flat. As I was taking my flat tire off the rear the other rear tire went flat. Now I have three flat tires. A guy who worked in Pueblo came along and gave me a ride to Vineland. At 7:00 a.m. the VFW was open. I used their phone to call Judy. She came down and took me and my three flat tires to the Fowler Co-op to get them fixed. It was 10:00 a.m. when I got to work in Ordway.

We bought a small house in Ordway so when Kim had night school activities, Judy would come, and we would all spend the night. Also, when Kim’s class was having an activity that needed parental assistance, Judy was always there to help. Kim graduated from Ordway High School in 1983.

The USDA combined the Crowley County ASCS office with the Otero ASCS office in Rocky Ford. I had a few more miles to drive.

Developers were looking for land in our area to buy and resell in forty are tracts. I was getting close to putting in twenty years with the USDA.

We looked at ranches in six different states. We finally settled on two adjoining ranches south of Wild Horse owned by two brothers. We got enough for our small ranch on Squirrel Creek to pay off our debt and have this ranch free and clear.

Next: Wild Horse

Part 5 was published September 25, 2023, and can be found here.