The Gnometown tale of “The Grain Merchant & the Miller”
Harland and Gladys Thoen
In bygone days, Gnometown was a small community where each gnome family cultivated a garden from which came many types of vegetables and grains. The gnomes led a simple life. They worked hard to provide for their families, and they greatly enjoyed the companionship of their fellow gnomes out by trading goods and services for the grains that the gnomes grew in their fields. This enterprising gnome was named Harland. The people of Gnometown came to know Harland, the grain merchant, as an honest and hard-working gnome. Harland loved his fellow gnomes and treated them fairly and with a great deal of respect.
At about the same time, at the other end of town, a gnome by the name of Gladys decided that what Gnometown really needed was a lace where grain could be ground into flour. She ran all the operations of the new flour mill, and the gnomes found the mill to be a great addition to their community. The gnomes of Gnometown came to do much trading with Gladys, the miller. She, too, as well respected and admired in Gnometown, especially for the enterprising skills she demonstrated in what most gnomes at the time thought was typically ‘male’ sort of occupation. She was indeed ahead of her time.
As time wore on, it turned out that the grain merchant found that he did a lot of business with the miller. One day as the two were discussing the barter price of a sack of rye, Harland and Gladys realized that they had interests in more than merely grain. Yes, love makes the world go ‘round, and Gnometown is no exception to that rule. Harland and Gladys fell in love, and the rest, as they say, is Gnometown history.
Together, Harland and Gladys raised three ‘gnome-ettes’; Ann, Larry and Pam. They taught these young gnome-ettes all of the many important lessons and traditions held so dear in Gnometown, such as faith, love, and charity, an appreciation for good coffee, and Ole and Lena jokes.
Dealing in grain wasn’t enough to contain the huge spirits of Harland and Gladys. They devoted great time and effort to helping out their fellow gnomes and making Gnometown an altogether wonderful place on which to live. Harland served on many boards, including those at the school, the hospital, and several at the church. He also found time to golf, enjoy music, and he was an avid reader, particularly of gnome as well as non-gnome history.
Gladys gave much of her time to helping out her fellow gnomes, too. She served many times as the president of the church’s female gnome group. She taught the ways of the church to young gnome-ettes for 45 years. Harland did as well for many years. Gladys spent much time gathering and delivering the news of all the gnome goings-on. This news was delivered far and wide, within Gnometown and also to those gnomes and gnome-ettes who had left Gnometown to seek their fortune in the wild and dangerous world of the non-gnome.
Even after ‘retiring’, Harland found himself very busy. He delivered many a meal on wheels to those who need a little extra help. He and Gladys were both part of the county cancer board, a job that requires many different fund-raising events. They both love to sing, and their voices could be heard as part of the church choir.
But most of all, they love the visits of friends and family. Their door is always open to gnomes and non-gnomes alike. They consider themselves fortunate to have had such a wonderful life together and to have become party of the deep tradition and folklore that makes up the history of Gnometown.