A salute to women who work

Fran Rayman

When God created man, He decided that man wasn't able to live alone. So, with the man's rib, He created woman as a helpmate.

But have women become more masculine? In recent years, they have moved into the tough, often dangerous jobs as police officers, firefighters, construction workers, soldiers and even presidential candidates. Others have moved into professions once manned by males. How about church pastors?

Who's watching the kids? Who is cooking the meals for husbands and wiping his nose when sick?

Esther Oldenberg, 51, is our EMS paramedic at the Philip Ambulance Service. She is married, has grown children, but came to work because they needed two incomes. A four-year veteran of the department, she learned to like the aspect of public medical service after caring for her son, a cancer survivor.

Fran Rayman's job is not dangerous but provides a necessary service. Her hands move quickly and assuredly through the hair. A snip here, a buzz there, the banter flows as her customers share their news.

Fran has been a barber for 21 years, has four children, but said, "I do not generally think it is good for women to work outside the home." Her maiden name was Tapia, and has lived in Philip for 13 years. She is trained to do both male and female hair and is an artist at what she does.

Amy Morrison was busy doing the hair of Alice Carr. She (Amy) is married, but after graduation at an Aberdeen beauty school, has worked outside the home for 17 years, the last four years in Philip.

Codi Vallery, 26, is the editor of the Cattle Business Weekly, published in Philip by RL Publications. A native of Butte County, she is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a degree in agricultural journalism and animal science. She said, "Working out in this society is the norm for women and they need to balance both work and home."

The weekly's newest employee is Mary Ravellette, 23, a wife and a mother of two children. She is being trained by the publication's graphic arts manager Courtney Gebes. Mary is a native of Midland, SD, and appears a bright and valuable addition to the staff.

Spirituality is, and should be, a very important part of our life's journey. This can be expressed in various ways, but almost always in the context of the Bible, the universal document that starts at the beginning, explains the life of the Son of God and forms the foundation of Christianity. It is always on the best seller list, with a message that never changes.

Pastor Frezil D. Westerlund has joined the cadre of women who appear behind altars in increasing numbers as the leaders of the flock. She now pastors three congregations of the New Western Hope Lutheran Parish, including Philip, Midland, Deep Creek and Long Valley. She has worked on Indian reservations and had to learn the Sioux language.

The people I talked to say they "just love her!"

I grew up in small towns along the Bad River and C&NW railroad tracks where my father worked. A church was as far away as 40 miles. I did become a fan of Badger Clark, South Dakota's first poet laureate (1937) and remember this favorite prayer:

"Oh Lord, I've never lived

Where churches grow, I

Love creation better as

it stood that day you

finished it so long ago and

looked upon your work and

called it good."

The growth of women in the workplace does not make the role of housewife and mother less important. We can admire and respect our father, but nothing takes the place of a mother's love. We turn to them all our life for the important things only a mother can give. My mother taught me an evening prayer that still works well enough:

"Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray to God my soul to keep

If I should die before I wake

I pray to God my soul to take."

Whenever mothers feel wanting, they can relate to this tribute to a mother long ago:

Hail Mary, Full of Grace

The Lord is with thee; blessed art

Thou among women

and blessed is

The Fruit of the Womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray

For us sinners now and at the hour

Of our death.


We are a nation of workers. Hard workers, resourceful and skilled. We need to pause and reflect on this aspect of the American character.