DAYTON DAILY NEWS AND RADIO'S 'JOE'S JOURNAL'
UNION CITY, INDIANA
It is so long since I have sat down at my typewriter and turned out any piece of work that this column is going to be a refreshing experience for me. Spring has come to Wisconsin, and the warm days, and the cool, are rather battling it out to see who can win. The jonquils are opening their pretty faces and the small bulbs are about through. The roadside, which I wrote about once before, is beginning to show some results of my efforts. If once we get the little bulbs started on the road banks they soon scatter their little seeds to the winds and spread from place to place. This spring I found a chiondoxia blossoming almost thirty feet from where the other bulbs were planted. So here we have the start of another colony of settlers.
Just for encouragement I took a small detour in our near-by city of Waupun last week, and someone had done this same thing a number of years ago. One whole side of the dooryard was blue with tiny blossoms and it did the heart good to see it.
That was a wonderful day, any way I look at it. I had looked forward to Friday for at least two months. An old friend came to spend the day with me. She comes from West Africa and will be returning there in July. Maude is an English teacher and has taught for many years. In between her two experiences of teaching she came back to our community and took care of her aged mother until she passed away. Then Maude, at about sixty years of age, went off to West Africa to teach English in a Mission School. Never have I seen a happier person. She not only gave herself to the task but gave of her substance as well. She was not sent by a human agency, but by one much higher who knew how well she would live her life there.
What a day of exchanging thoughts we had! And she left with me her enthusiasm, and her joy as well. But also she left two King Ebony carvings, the heads of an African boy and girl, which I shall treasure all my life. As she prepares to go back to the continent of Africa may God go with her.
She had come when I needed diversion, and I think the whole family needed guests for a change. We can become so bogged down. I was so engrossed in writing, (all long-hand for the book) that I almost dreamed of it at night. There are some 53,800 words down, so far, and most of this has been rewritten. I hope by the time I come to write another column it will all be finished and sent off to some publisher. It seemed so good to have a change, but I am still berating myself for forgetting to put napkins on the table. I'm sure they use them, even in West Africa, and I am duly mortified at the memory of my thoughtlessness. I suppose none of the rest of you do things like this. Well I do.
Perhaps we still revert to the days when we fed threshermen, and around here it was unheard of to put napkins on the table for the threshing crew. I think they used their red handkerchiefs for just about everything. I had been living in the past so constantly in the book that I clean forgot about the present. I shall put a napkin holder back on the table so this doesn't happen again.
It is always of interest to an older writer to know how many young people read a column or article. If I have many younger readers I have a suggestion for you. I am sorry I did not follow in the footsteps of my Mother in keeping a diary. In writing 'Big Foot Angie' I have read and reread parts of her diaries. What an interesting glimpse back into the past! What a heritage to leave to your children! Mother never allowed her moods to show through, nor is there anywhere an unkind remark about anyone. She wrote the day's events as they happened and this is where she left it.
I suppose we keep thinking 'but what I do isn't important.' But I have come to the conclusion that what everybody does is important. And perhaps, if we find through writing down the events of our lives, that they are dull and prosaic, we may do something about it. Maybe you can find a guest from Iceland, or some other place under God's sun. Who knows until you try? I don't recommend that everyone start out for West Africa at sixty years old, but it is a thought. It keeps the zip in life.
In March Yours Truly and her Good husband went on a tour of the south and a bit west. We stopped in Kansas City, Kansas, and then on to Dodge City where these two wanderers had the time of their life. We went up to Boot Hill and took each other's picture under The Hanging Tree. If you ever get through there be sure and stop. The replicas of the old store fronts are there, and a wonderful museum. We slept in The Dodge House Motel and ate in Kitty's Kitchen. It was all perfectly delightful and I hope to go back there some day.
We went on through the Mission Orange Country and this is unforgettable. Settling down in Brownsville, Texas, was a great relief from the winter cold. We stayed there only a week, but got our feet in the ocean and baked on the sand. Made two short trips over into Mexico and found the market places of great interest. And I developed a real taste for kumquats. My husband it still trying to pronounce it.
The International Orchid Show was held there the weekend we planned to leave so stayed an extra hour or two to see what there was to see, and it was something to remember. Of course, just as I was to take a picture or two the film ran out in my camera. Met some fine people and hope to see, some of them again. So the adventure of life goes on. And to think it is an eternal thing! I can't wait. Can you? In the meantime get yourself a diary, and even a year from now you will begin to relive your life. I might even take my own advice. Who knows? Maybe life begins at my age.