COUNTRY ECHOES

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R. R. 2, Brandon, Wisconsin 53919

Three O'clock in the morning seems to be thought time for some of us. My rough draft pad travels with me wherever I go. It helps to catch the fleeting of memorie's moments, both happy and sad, and its untidy pages seem to stretch ahead to a future none of us can anticipate.

Right now I have a new grandbaby, Gwenn Catherine Harmann, lying on her stomach, across my lap, as I sit here on the edge of the bed. My pad is on my pillow. Our new Little Gwenn has just had her two o'clock feeding and has burped like an old steam engine belching out smoke. She has downed four ounces of formula and is still chewing on her hands, somewhat. I don't dare to feed her anymore right now. I told her parents, yesterday, that she is a country girl for sure, almost nine pounds at birth, pretty as a picture and already eating like an old-time thresherman.

But her mama isn't doing too well right now. Her husband took her back to the hospital after being at home for four days. They are feeding her intravenously as she has a diarrhea which has drained her badly. They feared she was beginning to dehydrate. Her natural supply of food for the baby dried up as a result and Grandma took over the care of the baby. Oh, how sweet it is to hold and care for this precious life! So joy and fear were mingled as Mary's temperature soared to 103.8 degrees F. She really gave us a scare.

As we were struggling with this problem early in the week the telephone rang. It was our daughter, Ginni, from De Soto, Kansas. She was in tears as they had just rushed their middler, Brian, who is ten, to the hospital with an appendix which was threatening to rupture. He had surgery and drainage tubes in for three days. The doctor told them one more day and they might have lost him.

Tomorrow my Mr. B. enters the hospital for hip surgery. So I will head back for Brandon. Tom and Mary insist I must go home, and of course, I want to be with him, but I am torn right down the middle.

Daddy Tom is taking over the care of the two little ones while I go home. He has a lesson in bathing and bottling the baby scheduled for this morning. Besides our sweet baby we have another bright spot around here, Christine Ann, who will be three in May. Last night she handed me six books - yes -- six books. How she giggled as we read those funny little rhymes about a tooth brush who got sick from disuse, among other things. As she giggled she even got Grandma giggling in spite of everything. Then she looked up at me with her bright eyes full of love and said, 'You know, Grandma, you're really a good guy.' Now what higher compliment could I receive on a sad, sad day? Bless her little heart!

The tears we had been shedding around here sort of all dried up as we listened to her happy chatter. In the morning, when I had taken my hair down for combing she had said, 'Oh Grandma, you look just like the wicked old witch.' Now, I ask you, how can I be 'a good guy' and a 'wicked old witch' all in the same day?

Christine and I ended our day by singing 'Jesus loves me, this I know - for the Bible tells me so.' One beautiful thought for old and young! Right now I don't know how I could make it without that wonderful love. In mid-afternoon I called my prayer partner and told her of our crucial needs. She called the other prayer partners promptly. I can feel their prayers and concern surrounding me. What does the old hymn say about 'He giveth and giveth and giveth again.'

With that thought in mind, I will make the one hundred miles north again to face another trial, and perhaps, back here in a few days, Gwenn has settled into a sound sleep so Grandma had best join her.

It is almost five days later as I pick up my pen to finish this. My husband's surgery is over with and he is doing fine. He looks so relieved, and I am rejoicing with him. It was almost six hours from the time he was wheeled out of his room on a stretcher until he was wheeled back into the room in his bed. One leg was in a swing and tubes running in and out of him. It gave me a few very bad moments to see him this way. The waiting, I thought, had been bad enough. The complete hip joint was replaced and a new technique used on him. Dr. Hartman had just attended an Orthopedic Surgeon's Meeting in Las Vegas where he learned there is a new sealer they use to prevent so much glue running down into the bone. It makes for a better seal.

Our young mother, Mary, is still in the hospital but they have found the cause of her trouble. She has a form of food poisoning called salmonella. We can't imagine how it happened as no one else had any trouble. The Hospital Staff is probably blaming me, and I find myself blaming them. But, Praise God, she is on the mend and will be going home in a day or two. I did not go back to the Sturtevant-Racine area. Frankly, I am drained both physically and psychologically. My oldest sister is recovering from a broken hip and wrist in Florida, and a good friend had spine surgery last week and they do not know whether all function will return. My sister is seventy eight.

I did not intend to pour all of our troubles into the eyes and ears of you dear readers. But at the present time I have all I can do to write at all, and I have a deadline. Life can be mighty sobering at times, and this is one of those times. God bless you in His care. He blessed us with one and a half inches of rain today. So -- we look hopefully to the future, and certainly we look up to Him.