Be Like Babe
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
I was jogging my brain for a fun topic to write about and it finally hit me… I should get the perspective and insight from my Grandma Babe, the wisest and most endearing “ranch wife” I know. She also claimed she’s probably the eldest one I know which is also true. Ha!
Grandma Babe was born in 1930, currently making her 89 years old. She has 6 children, 16 grandchildren and 32 great grandchildren and probably a few more to come. Remarkable, is an understatement, at 89; she drives, she attends everything from church, ranch happenings, the births of every great grand baby, and all the great grand’s sporting events! In fact she sat the whole day in the gym at the school around Christmas to make sure she made it to every great grand’s Christmas performance! She is everything we all strive to be, optimistic, faithful, and above all the hardest worker around.
In 1951 my Grandma Florence Myrtle “Babe” Becker married Patrick King Goggins. Together they built an extraordinary life that always revolved around three things Faith, Family, and Agriculture. Though he may not be here with us today, those three things still remain true. My Grandparents define the epitome of the American Dream; they started from scratch and over the years built quite the résumé together. Currently, my Grandma still lives at “home” on the Vermilion Ranch in Billings, Mt.
When I was giving my Grandma a quick briefing about the blog she cracked me up and claimed she wasn’t a real “ranch wife”. I said the same thing about myself when my sister-in-law first asked me to take part on this blogging journey. I had it in my head that a real “ranch wife” is out in the boondocks on some ranch, helping her husband with chores day in and day out, milking the cows and butchering chickens. However, I came to the reality of how false that depiction is especially after talking to my Grandma. Any woman married to a man who occupies a career in farming or ranching; no matter what their specific role may be does their part in being a “ranch wife. Our roles are all different, we all run our operations different, but we all have this in common: We love our husbands, we support our husbands and we aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty and help in whatever way that might be from time to time. I am so proud to be apart of this special category.
And now a little insight from Grandma Babe…
Did you grow up on a farm or ranch?
“I grew up on a little country farm we had a cow, garden and little pasture. I milked the cow daily and we used most the food from the garden for meals. My father worked in the refinery, we did the best we could with what we had.”
Did you expect to marry a rancher?
“No I did not expect that, I guess I didn’t really know what type of man I would marry”.
What did you enjoy most about being a ranch wife?
“The openness and freedom. I love being around the cattle, and couldn’t imagine a better place to raise my family.”
What was the hardest part about being a ranch wife?
“Your Grandpa traveled a lot back in the day auctioneering. He would be gone for 1-2 weeks at a time, while I was home with the kids.”
What are a few memories that stand out looking back on your time as a ranch wife?
“I loved being able to watch the kids take care of their 4-H animals and seeing their joy. I will never forget when Joe(son) punctured his lungs or when Laurie(daughter) broke both her wrists.” Then with a chuckle she said, “I would always get a bang when my sisters children would visit from California. They would take turns riding Shorty the kid’s horse and pile three kids on at a time. They would take turns pulling each other off and sometimes they would even put the dog up there. It was all fun and games until one of the cousins broke their arm being pulled off.”
What do you enjoy most now about living on the ranch?
“Seeing the grandkids work on the ranch and witnessing them carry on Grandpa’s legacy has been a highlight. During these times of “Corona” I’ve enjoyed my side-by-side rides along the river and driving through the baby calves.”
What advice would you give to young ranch wives today?
“I know it’s not feasible for all, but if you can make it work, stay home with your babies. You can get a lot of enjoyment from being outside and working alongside your children and it’s good for them!”
One thing remained constant in chatting with my Grandma and that was the overall and immense appreciation she has for being able to live her life and raise her children on the ranch. I think if we all focused more on our children’s joy and appreciated God’s beautiful creations, the world would be filled with a lot more “Grandma Babes". Be like Babe.