COUNTRY ECHOES

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R. R. 2, Brandon, Wisconsin 53919

Each season has its own distinctive pattern Our Springs are lit by daffodils and dreams, Our Winters wrap us 'round with icy blankets And Summers tempt our wandering through streamsĀ  Of easing water. Then in Autumn's cooling The years we've gathered call us down the laneĀ  Where all experience points to believing In worth of seasons, and in praise of pain.

What a varied panorama we have in our everyday lives! A letter I received from an eighty-two year old lady prompted me to write this poem. Her name is Emma Hazzler (Mrs. Fred C.) of Tonica, Illinois. I just couldn't believe this fat envelope my country mailbox produced in late October. A ten page letter from a reader? I soon learned she is a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, and she still bakes most of the bread, rolls, and coffee cake which she and her husband eat. And she also cans and freezes their garden produce.

Fred Hazzler (88) has been an active steam man for many years. In the summer of 1976 they were chosen to be King and Queen of the Pontiac, Illinois Steam Show. They haven't missed that show in 29 years and until 1977 he had been able to drive his 1922 19 HP Port Huron engine in the parade. There have been four generations of Hazzlers represented at Pontiac for the last three years.

Emma Hazzler is now caring for her husband as he suffers from hardening of the arteries. She had to stop four or five times to tend to needful tasks while she wrote this letter. And when she said I had been a great inspiration to her, well, I felt humbled to say the least. Such letters are a real blessing. Thank you, Emma.

Part of the panorama of our life unfolded before us as we took a trip through the west and northwest in August. We had planned to take a full month and discover Alaska for ourselves. So many interesting things turned up before we got that far and our pep sort of ran out. Expenses were getting out of hand as well. The first night out one lady tried to charge us $24.00 to sleep but a little further on we found a nice room for $14.00.

One of our first stops was Cut Bank, Montana. There we viewed Walter Christopher son's nine steamers. On to Hungry Horse, Montana, then to Sievert where we stayed in a log cabin beside a river. Restful! Here we met Austin Monk just before noon in Kalispell and saw his hugh Peerless Steamer. When it is full of water and steamed up it will weigh 30 tons. He told us of climbing Superstition Mountain as we ate lunch, then took us to see Ole Olson, as I was still praising the huckleberry pie I had indulged in.

Ole Olson has the neatest clock shop I have ever seen. (I'd hate to have him see my house sometimes.) He has a beautiful clock there with a big dome on it. It is all hand-made with ruby pallet jewels above the face, brass bearings. It is an 8 day clock, spring driven, with a cable that runs from the spring barrel to the fussee. He says, 'Oh, I'm just an amateur,' but what an amateur! I won't tell you the worth of that clock. It would floor you.

In Canada we stayed at Cranbrook for the night, and next morning saw a coyote scoot across the road as we traveled on. At about 11:00 A.M. we drove into Radium Springs, a place we had visited once before. We hunted up our bathing suits and eased our way into that nice warm water. Somehow we sensed it wasn't as hot as we remembered it from 14 years ago. But OH! IT FELT GOOD!

Mr. B. hunted up the gardener and began asking questions. The Alaskan earthquake (12 years ago) cooled off the water by ten degrees. Two years later an oil tanker left the road and spilled its whole load in the pool. There was a fire as a consequence, and they rebuilt and modernized the whole area. No wonder we could scarcely recognize the place. As we left there we saw 5 mountain goats on the rocks beside the road. Another adventure!

What a change to come to a large town such as Calgary, where we spent the night and ate at a fancy French restaurant, Bertinos. They had excellent spaghetti and meat with cheese over it. The next day's lunch was eaten at Slave Lake. And then we were just extra thrilled to stay at Peace River that night. We have always said, 'Some day we are going to go to Peace River.' Here we were!

As we drove toward Dawson Creek we ran across Betty's Cafe and had breakfast there. We stopped in Dawson Creek and got some information before starting on the Alaskan Highway. One half hour out and we had a cracked windshield. But that isn't really what turned us around. We just pulled up beside the road and talked. We decided our time and energy were going to run out, and then we would have to back track all those 1500 miles. So, at Gatepost 341 we swung around and headed back.

This birdwatcher was excited at seeing a Stellar Jay, a covy of Partridges, and all kinds of Magpies. The mountains were magnificent, but we were most impressed of all by Athabasca Falls. Such a torrent of churning water I had never imagined!

Banff was our next stop and after those beautiful gardens the shops were our next venture. We found souvenirs galore. Back down the road a spell we had seen an elk. Yes, you just have everything up there.

Oh my! I wanted to cover that whole adventure in one column but I find I can't. How could I leave out such interesting names as Spookumchuck, Crows Nest, Turtle Mountain? There is so much beauty in those Canadian Rockies, one is simply overwhelmed at God's Handiwork. Streams rush everywhere. Yes, we even saw and touched an actual glacier. What a large piece we were adding to our panaroma of experience as we drove on.

It wasn't long after we arrived home that our son's wife, Andrea, was thrown from a horse and the horse then fell on her. So we were needed back here again. I fed the men from the farm and cared for her later as her broken pelvis mended. But, thank God, she is all right. One leg was terribly bruised. So in pleasure and pain we find our life being rounded and shaped, moved and molded in God's plan.