Beside That Windmill

What does a boy do when he has to spend his summers on a dry, windy farm, living in a house with no water or electricity? No TV, no radio, no telephone, no bathroom, no refrigerator. This was ranch life long ago. Don Parks grew up on a family ranch in the rural Great Plains. The sky was big and blue. Cattle roamed the fields. Cowboys came and went. Most important of all, the ranch’s water was supplied by a faithful windmill. Every night it lulled the boy to sleep, and every day it worked alongside the family in the sun. Windmills still dot the landscape of the wide spaces of America’s Great Plains. They serve as reminders of what it took homesteaders to settle this hardscrabble region and how they coaxed enough water from the earth to live by. When Don Parks grew up, he began painting the childhood he remembered. His paintings are set alongside a story by his wife, longtime educator Minda Parks. Together, the narrative and the paintings tell the history of windmills on the Great Plains.