Chicken Dinner News
Putting the 'great' in great-grandparents

By Kerry Evans-Spillman, Land Line staff 

Even when things don’t go the way you plan, you can still be happy with the way they are. That’s how it is for OOIDA Member Ed Schroeder and his wife, Patty.

Ed is originally a farmer, but entered trucking after the 1980 grain embargo left him in a pinch for cash. The change in his career path worked in his favor because he’s still behind the wheel today. He hauls signal equipment for WLX and trucks through the states surrounding Missouri.

After raising his own family, another unexpected chain of events resulted in the couple becoming the guardians of their four grandchildren. The youngest was 2 or 3 when the children went to live with their grandparents, and they remained in Ed and Patty’s custody until they each graduated from high school.

But wait. There’s more. One of the Schroeders’ grandsons eventually married and had two daughters of his own. Ed says the marriage ended in divorce with the mother assuming custody of the children, a situation that ended up in a court battle. In the end, Ed and Patty were awarded the opportunity to give their two great-granddaughters a home. Now the four of them are loving life in Green Ridge, MO, a small town about 90 miles southeast of Kansas City.

The girls are ages 4 and 6 and they’ve been living with Ed and Patty for a little over a year. Ed says they’re doing great in school and enjoy going to church with their great-grandparents on Sunday.   

They’re not your typical family, but they’re a happy one. Ed says, “It’s different when you’re in your 70s and your kids are just starting school.”

Their father, Ed’s grandson, has since remarried to a woman that Ed reports the girls adore.

Patty has been fighting cancer for the past nine years, but Ed says the current report is good.

“It’s a miracle what they can do. Had we been living 30 years sooner, the type of cancer she has would be untreatable.”

It’s not exactly the way the Schroeders had imagined their future, but they are pleased to share their lives and their home with their great-granddaughters.

The way Ed sees it, “You go as far as you can and as long as you can and hope you’ve made an impression on somebody’s life.”

Sew what?
About a year and a half ago, Gary Carr, an OOIDA life member from Wayne, ME, wanted to find something to do in his spare time. His sister had recently adopted a child from Vietnam and Gary decided he would try his hand at making a quilt for the baby.

The lack of quilting experience didn’t stop him from purchasing a sewing machine and spending the next two and a half months stitching away when he had free time at home.   

He successfully completed his first quilt featuring nine bright-eyed dogs bordered in brilliant blue with embroidered messages along the top and bottom reading, “Puppy love for Tiger” (Tiger is the baby’s name) and “God’s gift is life.”

Tiger is only 9 months old, but so far has endured five surgeries to treat a double cleft palate and other congenital disabilities. He finds comfort and love in his puppy quilt, and especially likes the varied textures of the dogs’ ears, something Gary did by using different types of material to make each dog.

Gary’s second completed quilt is called “Infinity.” It features a Bargello motif in striking shades of red, orange and yellow. He is currently taking on a king-size bedspread and detachable skirt and putting together an original ribbon design in red and green. He says he has spent as many as 10 hours in a day working on a quilt. Eventually he would like to create one with birds quilted into cloth and then put the cloth into a pattern.

He hasn’t yet taken the sewing machine on the road, but thinks it could happen in the future.

“Trucking can be a lonely job,” Gary says.

He’s been trucking for over 15 years and knows all about the time a driver spends with nothing to do but sit and wait. The resulting monotony can really get a person down. Quilting helps Gary fight the boredom blues. He thinks if other truckers end up in a slump, they should explore their own creative skills to improve their outlook. LL

Editor’s note: Gary Carr currently serves on the OOIDA Board of Directors.