Rose Alderson is a bright-eyed, energetic grandmother who loves her home a few miles outside of Nickerson, Kan. It’s the home her father was raised in and where she raised her kids, but the house is not the most important part of the Alderson place.
Alderson loves the barn and the silo. Neither building plays much of a role on the farm anymore, but to Rose, they are the soul of the place.
Rose’s father played in the barn and she did too. “I played hide and seek – one time I hid in a box with a snake. We made tunnels in the bales, we jumped out the windows,” Alderson said. “We made our own fun, maybe a lot more than kids do now.”
Some of her grandchildren live nearby. They play in the barn now.
I met Rose out covering the drought this summer. I’m from Nickerson and stopped into town on my way back from Colorado for my class reunion. In the morning, I dropped into the IGA grocery store where the owner, Brad Berridge, saw straight past 30 years of aging – and some added facial hair – and declared “Mr. Frank!” the moment I saw him. I asked Berridge if he knew someone having a hard time with their crops. That question was a little more complicated than it once would have been, he told me, because so few people in the community actually farm any more. But he directed me to “Rosie,” who was shopping at the time.
Rose turned out to be a friend of my sister’s and her father, Judd Detter, a famous intellect in Nickerson, moved in across the street from my parents when he left the farm to Rose and her husband Loren.
Rose did not plan to live on her grandparents’ farm. As a young woman she craved adventure. She still loves to travel, but says she “wouldn’t trade her life for anything.”
“I’ve had a great life,” Alderson said, “right here.” Right on the farm where she, and her father, her children and grandchildren have made so many happy memories.