COUNTRY ECHOES

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R. R. 2, Brandon, Wisconsin 53919

One thing at a time! One day at a time! How else can a mother or a grandmother live? In fact, I think it holds true for most of us. And isn't it good to know that God will provide the strength we need just when we need it? A while ago I wrote some words which I would like to use here.

Whatever in the world, which I, as a wife and mother have experienced, would I ask to be liberated from? The mystery and ecstasy of love? The feeling of security in being provided for? The sweet, sharp pain of birth, and thus uniting with creation? God forbid! A love child, fresh and perfect in my arms, and then release from pain to savour accomplishment? These are the supreme rewards of womanhood. What other possibilities, taken in their farthest scope, can, eventually fulfill a true woman?

Women's Lib, with all its dramatic fanfare, has failed to take into account the fact that most of us are mothers at heart. Ours should be the tender conscience that maintains the moral structure of any society. We are the home builders, the family glue that holds the home together. Lots of soapsuds (and dishpan hands) go into the cleansing of the houses which encompass our small units. Even so it is with the birds.

As I am snugly lying here in bed beginning this column, I have had two visitors who seem most interested in the upper edge of my open window. First came a sparrow who promptly ate a dead fly I had squashed as I closed the window one day, and secondly a barn swallow, who, I assume, has house building on her twittering mind. They are busy this time of year, (early May) building nests and rearing their young.

And you may wonder why I am so far ahead of schedule in writing. It is really very simple. The family plans to come home in early July and July 1st, is the column deadline. Oh my: My barn swallow is back! I had better close my window or he will start building between the window and screen. We have a good house for the martins but he had better hunt a different eave.

A day or two after I began writing the first part of this column I received the surprise of my life. Our daughter, Mary, who lives in the southeastern part of the state, called one evening. Her voice was both worried and apologetic. 'Mother.' she asked pleadingly, 'do you think you could take care of our baby for a week or two? I have to have my goitre removed.' Grandma felt a minor shock of inadequacy as she answered firmly, 'Oh certainly, Mary. But what about Chris?'

'Well, we plan to farm Christine out around here.'

After the conversation was relayed to my Mr. B. this Grandpa and Grandma conferred for a while. We just wouldn't hear of those two little girls being separated, and Chris shuttled about. So it was we got 3 month old Gwenn and 3 year old Chris to care for. This column, needless to say, was laid aside.

What a change in routine! Bottles, diapers, baby food, toys all over the floor! Well we made it! And after a week of needed recovery I am beginning to function again. I was amazed to find the routine restored so quickly. The problem was to find time to get meals on the table for us between the bottles, the burping, and the busyness. Amidst my state of extreme weariness was a glorious sense of accomplishment which kept me doing what I knew I must.

Yesterday was quite another matter. I cared for a lady some years older than I. The Christian Home of Waupun sponsored a bus trip to the historic spot at Greenbush. My lady was Marie Richter and what a sweetheart she was. She had the most attractive scarf tied nattily around her head, even though her one hand clutched a cane for support.

Wade House was a stage coach stop between Sheboygan and Fond du Lac years ago. It is beautifully restored. The Carriage House was a highlight for me. It had such elegant old-time carnages, hearses, sleighs, cutters, top buggies, and even doll and baby carriages on display.

If you plan to travel through Wisconsin the place is worth seeing for those of us who cherish old things. We were hampered some by walkers, wheelchairs, canes, etc. and didn't see everything we might have seen on our own. However, we did have a ride on a canopied wagon drawn by two Belgian horses. (I am taking one elderly gentlemen's opinion on their breed.)

The day after our journey was pleasant and peaceful until 9:30 P.M. when a cyclone touched down 1/8 mile back of our house. Within a mile of us, south and northwest, there are four barns down flat, a roof off of another, a house whose roof is gone, and a little farther north a barn, house, trailer and shed, completely demolished. The beautiful woods back of our house and the woods on the old homestead are shambles of broken trees. Three buildings, (including two old barns) on our old home place are completely wrecked. The trench silo was covered with fallen trees. There was no sleep here until 3:00 A.M. This morning will add to the shock of the devastation, I expect.

A young couple and their little boy live in a newly established mobile home right beside these ravaged barns. The trailer was set over the basement of the former house. While they were in there for refuge, the mobile home was moved six inches off its base. Needless to say, they were petrified. The little fellow screamed horribly in fright. The young woman is to become a mother again in July. The little family spent several nights with our son and wife. The two girls are sisters.

So I guess it is one day at a time, one thing at a time. We are so thankful to God that no one lost their life, and no one was hurt. We are all in a state of unbelieving shock.

Next day my good friend, Mayme Hopp, helped me and we fed thirteen for dinner, then back to the clean up. There are sixteen barns gone in a seven mile radius, and several wrecked houses which cannot be repaired.