(This week The Luverne Journal spotlights long#045;time Rutledge resident Ruby Still, who now resides at Luverne Health and Rehab.)
Not many people have bragging rights to having picked a bale of cotton in one season, but Ms. Ruby Still, who now resides at the Luverne Health and Rehab, not only did that, but she bought a house with the money she earned.
When Still married Earnest Brown, back in 1937, she never dreamed his asthma would force them off the farm and into doing public work.
"We got married when I was 16," she said. "The preacher at Ivy Creek came out and married us sitting in the car after church."
She said they were earning a living farming and had two young children, Marshall and Patricia, when Earnest got so sick they had to leave the farm.
"Ernest went to work for a lumber company that year," she said. "I was a good cotton picker so I picked a bale by myself and we bought our house in Rutledge for a $1,000. We could have bought a bigger house next door to ours, but Earnest didn't want to go in debt for another $500. I lived in that house until I came to the nursing home last year.
"My Daddy was a farmer, so I guess I was used to hard work" she added. "We worked in the fields in the summer and shelled peanuts all winter when I was growing up."
Still said both she and Earnest lived through the Great Depression.
"I remember when people got one stamp a year for a pair of shoes and you had to have a stamp to buy sugar at the store," she said. "People had to do without back then because things were rationed. It was hard, but people made it."
When the couple moved to Rutledge in 1949, Still said she went to work at the Foster Slacks Factory and worked there for 32years.
"The year I retired, I went out and bought a new car and taught myself how to drive," she said.
"I remember one night," she laughed, "a policeman following me until I finally pulled over. When he asked me why I was driving with my lights on bright I told him, 'I don't know how to dim them! He said, 'drive with them on dim all the time,' so I said, 'well, you didn't have your whistle on or I would have stopped sooner."
Not only did Still teach herself to drive, but she also wrote the Rutledge Community News for The Luverne Journal for 10 years during the 70's and 80's with only a third grade education.
Having always wanted to travel, Still went on a travel tour through Italy and several other European countries after retirement. She and her sister, Eva Adkison, traveled by car over 6,000 and through 20 states in 1988.
"I did all the driving," Still said. "She wrote down the names of all the rivers we crossed in a big notebook. We watched Old Faithful erupt, crossed the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and shopped in Mexico. When we visited the Mormon Tabernacle in Utah, the guide asked if we were sisters. I said no, but Ruby kept insisting that we were sisters. I finally had to tell her he was talking about being sisters in the Mormon Faith. We laughed a lot about that."
Ms. Ruby has over a 100 coffee cups that she's collected from her travels in the U.S. and other countries. She displayed her cups by decorating the doorway and wall of her dining room with them. She enjoys showing them to visitors and telling about where she got each one.
Still was also a member of the Rutledge Homemakers Club for many years.
"We sewed quilts and sold them to help keep up the old school house that's now the Community Center in Rutledge," she said. "I can't remember what all we did to raise money for the community, but it was fun! I had my 80th birthday party at that old school house."
Still doesn't remember the exact year she joined the Golden Age Singers at the local Nutrition Center in Luverne, but she was active with them for many years. She traveled around the community and to different churches singing with the group. She sang solos and duets with other members and was well known for her beautiful soprano voice.
Still also sang on Friday mornings at the nursing home with the singing group. During the 90's she joined the Sunshine Volunteers at the nursing home and began sewing lap robes for the residents and embroidering their names on them. She was faithful in her duties to the Sunshine Volunteers until only a few months before she came to live at the nursing home in March of 2004.
Still continues to sing at the Friday morning program, as she has for years. She recently competed in the Ms. Luverne Health and Rehab beauty contest and was second runner-up. Shortly after she came to live at the nursing home, her church, First Baptist of Rutledge, presented her with a Life Time of Service to her church award, which she is very proud of.
In later years, after Earnest had passed away, Ms. Ruby was briefly married to Ivy Still, but she lost him to cancer after only 17 months of marriage. Despite her losses in life she believes that hard work and helping others has been rewarding.
When asked what advice she would give to future generation, she said; "live for the Lord, be kind to others and most of all work hard."
(Grier is an employee at Luverne Health and Rehab. If you would like to recommend a senior to be spotlighted please contact the Journal at 335-3541.)