Ruth Helen Miller 1900-1993
A Tribute to Ruth Helen Miller Foster
Presented March 17, 1983
A tribute is an offering, gift, or service rendered, manifesting respect, allegiance or gratitude. Specifically this is a tribute of worthy praise and thanks to Mrs. George H. Foster (wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother): Thanks for a life-time of unselfish service to her family; praise for her devotion to God and to a cause more important to her than life itself--to the rearing of a family.
She is a woman of great courage and spirit, which when sparked by a sense of injustice, unfair advantage, or foul play will make her as fiesty (sic) as a banty (sic) rooster, yet she is full of tenderness and protective as a mother hen. .She has always been a good marksman, and in protection of her domain, is able to shoot down a hawk in full flight. Yet she is also able and willing to bring a new-born calf into her home out of the cold and coax it into living in front of the fireplace.
She has always been quick to discipline, but even quicker to heal the wounds. We never heard the words "wait until your Dad gets home"! Her correction or disciplining' was done on the spot, at the time of greatest need, and no one dared offer the least resistence (sic) or the punishment became instantly and very noticeable more intense!
She is famous in the family for her short sermons, otherwise affectionately referred to as two-and-a-half-minute talks. Any action or statement suggesting a weakness of moral principles will prompt one of these talks. And, as with her disciplining techniques, it will be delivered without preparation or ceremony at the time of greatest need any place or time the need arises: In the hayfield, in the barn, on the road, or at home.
She is a living- testimony to the benefits of strict adherence to the Word of Wisdom. She and Dad have always eaten sparingly, with emphasis on the proper foods. She has always believed in a balance of meals and foods, with plenty of fresh air for sleeping at night. She still opens her window six inches or more every night regardless of outside temperatures.
She has always worked side by side with her husband, not because he demanded it, but of her own free will and choice. They were like a well trained team of horses, pulling' together with consistent effort toward common goals. Growing up with that example of constant support, it wus (sic) hard to accept or imagine that any other home was any different. We still remember a family situation we saw many years ago as a husband and father came in from the field hungry and tired. We watched with shock and disbelief as he rustled his own lunch while his wife sat by and watched with little interest. Though our Father often cooks and helps prepare meals and more often washes dishes and helps clean up the kitchen, he has never had to rustle alone a piece of bread for a meal when Mother was present and well. She always keeps her husband and family well fed with her delicious home-cooked meals.
Her long-practiced habits of industry and thrift can skillfully turn an old worn out pair of gloves, piece of clothing torn jacket or jeans into a better-than-new, comfortable, serviceable piece of clothing. It has long been said that her patched or remodeled articles of clothing are warmer and more comfortable than a similar article newly purchased from the store. She continues to maintain and develop these skills. In the past three months, she has, without assistance from anyone, made ten overall coverlets and a quilt for each of her nine living children.
With limited opportunities for formal education herself, .she has always craved education and envied those who were fortunate enough to be able to go to school. These desires have motivated her to promote and stimulate a desire for education in all her children. Throughout her life, she has read to them by the hour on long winter evenings around a warm stove, and she still reads in the same way to Dad. They both have collected, memorized, and recited repeatedly through the years inspirational, entertaining, and thought-provoking poetry. We would like to close this loving tribute to the greatest wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother in the world with two of her most often repeated poems, poems which reflect our feelings of respect and love for her. They both are poems she memorized for her first child (Donald) when he was just a baby so she could entertain him while doing her housework. To her family, and others who love her, she has been these many years the little tin soldier in the poem “Little Boy Blue,” and her life, with its many sacrifices is reflected in “That Picture on the Wall.”
Little Boy Blue
The little toy dog is covered with dust,
but sturdy and staunch he stands.
The little tin soldier is red with rust,
and the musket molds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
and the soldier was passing fair.
That was the time when the Little Boy Blue
kissed them and put them there.
"Now don't you go 'til I come," he said,
"And don't you make any noise."
Then toddling- off to his trundle bed,
he dreamed of his pretty toys.
And while he was dreaming,
an Angel's song awakened our Little Boy Blue.
Aw, the years are long, the years are many,
but the little toy friends are true.
Aye, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
each in the same old place,
awaiting the touch of the little hand,
and the smile of the little face.
And they wonder, while waiting these long years through,
in the dust of the little chair,
"What has become of our Little Boy Blue"?
since he kissed them and put them there.
That Picture On The Wall
For hours I gazed upon it,
That picture on the wall.
The picture of a Mother,
In quaint old-fashioned shawl.
Her face, deep-lined and furrowed,
Grave eyes of faded blue.
But in these windows of her soul,
Her life is mirrored true.
I saw her as a baby,
So dimpled, sweet, and fair.
Instead of silver, on her brow
Lay curls of golden hair.
The hand, blue-veined and hardened,
That holds that worn old shawl,
Had once been called by lover true,
So warm, so soft, so small.
Came noon of life and children,
Beside this woman's knee,
To learn of life's truths.
Aw, matchless, the mother-love I see!
Great sacrifice and yearnings,
And with every breath, a prayer.
And the valley of the shadows
Left the look recorded there.
And now her cares and sorrows
Are written on her face.
They, like the waters on the rocks,
Leave marks that don't erase.
And all the joys and virtues
Leave imprints on her soul.
And these she'll carry onward,
To that eternal goal.
For hours I gazed upon it,
That picture on the wall.
She seems to be in waiting
For Angels' summoning call.
Small need has she of riches,
A kindly friend, no more,
To bid farewell in parting,
And softly close the door.
(memorized and repeated by Mrs. George H. Foster, from an old farm paper published about 1920)