Country Echoes

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Somehow today is a day filled with many memories for me. A much-loved pastor, his wife, and two small girls are leaving for another church. They have been with us for four years, each year rich with blessings, and the parting is a difficult one. Now the road ahead is an uncertain trail, and we surely need God's help more than ever before.

It set my Mr. B. and myself to reminiscing on the different men of God who have influenced our lives since childhood. And there are other good people who have been a blessing to us also through the years. What a great thing it is to be an influence for good in this world. Anything which is wholesome has merit, and this goes for well-run steam engine shows as well. What good clean fun it is to see all the big engines purring along a dirt track, sawing logs, threshing grain. The models which someone has busily worked at are always so interesting.

Just this week I was shocked to read a letter from a twelve year old girl in the T.V. section of our local newspaper. She asked the question, 'Why do you have such dirty shows on your network?' And then she added, 'They surely aren't good for the younger children.' The answer she got was evasive and tiresome. A twelve year old girl asked a question most older folks should have asked long ago. Shame on us!

Surely a part of evil is the failure to do something good and worthwhile. Building, and not tearing down. The IRON MEN ALBUM is a cooperative effort in keeping alive memories of useful, wholesome endeavors, people at creative tasks which build character.

The Bible tells us, 'Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.' It never encourages tearing down anything but the strongholds of sin. Sometimes we wonder how good all our labor-saving devices are when we see children, as well as adults with nothing to do. But if we really look for them, there are worthwhile tasks.

A mother told me recently of three families who went fishing together and what fun they had. They packed a lunch, ate out under the trees beside a lake, and really enjoyed the outdoors. How much better this is than parents spending their time hanging over a bar while the children are left at home with an indifferent baby sitter. The memories will surely be a lot richer for the former folks.

We also have been talking about windmills of late and how they turned and turned all day long, without any consumption of energy. The wind was for free. Of course, when the wind didn't blow, that was another matter. Then it was everybody to the pump handle, or the cows went thirsty. That was not permissible.

Now I can look back at even that task with a certain fond remembrance. You couldn't let the cows down, so you went to work.

And then there were those winters when the pipes underground were overcome by Mr. Jack Frost. Oh! What groaning that discovery brought into the family circle! Now we would all have to take turns pumping water up into the supply tank, after it was laboriously brought to the lower tank. The drinking cups, twenty six of them, had to be kept filled. What a spooky place that was, up there in the dark! I can still feel those cobwebs on my face as I crawled up to my dusty perch. We used a cistern pump for filling this round wooden tank, and this was relatively easy pumping. But I felt like Little Miss Muffet on her tuffet, because I knew, where there were that many spider webs, there had to be some spiders. What a relief it was when the water pipes were dug in deeper. I wonder if that tank is still up there. I shall have to ask. I am afraid I couldn't make it up there now.

But speaking of memories, can you imagine what excitement there must have been when the first steam propelled threshing machine began to work? Think of the labor saved! It is strange to realize that we have come to an era when a farmer is constantly repairing his machinery. Much of it is so complicated, it appears the farmer is in his work shop as much as he is in his fields.

Certainly as we look back we can review a tremendous spectrum of change. And in our two hundredth year as a nation we might well ask ourselves 'Where are we headed?' There are many of us who don't like what we see.

Thank God we can pray, and prayer does change things. Also we have the assurance that God is the same 'yesterday, today, and forever.' How we need that anchor in 1976, as we have needed it all through our lives.

We have come a long way from wagon trains bumping across the country to our busy traffic-clogged thoroughfares. But faith in God and love can travel either way. May both of these go with you in our Bicentennial Year.