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Country Echoes

By MAE BABER, R.D.2, Brandon, Wisconsin

Reading about warm weather when the snow flies may have a tendency to send forth a welcome glow of warmth within us. Aren't we a privileged people we who live among the seasons?

In the fall one thinks ahead of what the earth will be like again in Spring's green emerald gown. In autumn the wind and sun has aged and leathered the leaves. Some are torn. They must of necessity die that the earth have it's first protective covering. What an experience it is to walk among them, ankle deep in a woodland quiet and serene.

Spring is lovely here but autumn has a peace and that clear blue weather that is unique in it's blessing.

Later on we see a pure, white carpet on our earth and are hushed by the magic of the minute white flakes making their certain fall to the earth again. We have another mood a sort of silent joy sings among the flakes. We can in one night of strong breeze and snow find our world transformed into a village of weird banks with curling and spiraled tips. It is nice then to remember the good things which happened to us during the summer. Let me tell you a bit about them.

The first adventure was a bus trip with a group of church ladies to Pella, Iowa for Tulip Time. That was so enjoyable. We sold Wisconsin cheese and Sheboygan sausage there.

In June we took a twelve day trip down through Florida, to visit a sister, and up the Blue Ridge Parkway continuing on to New Jersey where our second oldest son was ordained into the ministry. We stopped on our way to visit with Elmer Ritzman at Enola and saw where the Iron Men Album is published. It was nice to meet Mrs. Ritzman and Anna Mae. We loved some of the antiques around the Ritzman home. We saw so much beauty and so many interesting things on this trip that it would take another column to tell you about them.

The climax for us, of course, was the ordination. We felt both proud and humble as our son dedicated his life to the service of the Lord and fellow men. To be the mother and father of a minister is a rich experience. We came away grateful for God's blessing. The service was beautiful and I shall cherish the memory always.

Christian Editors and Writer's Conference at Green Lake in July was a blessed week for me. Thyra Ferr'e Bjorn, author of 'Papa's Wife', 'Mama's Way', and 'Papa's Daughter', was one of my teachers. Mrs. Bjorn and I became good friends and recently she and her daughter spent a night in our home.

We had about two weeks of company from the south and east in August and then spent two days at a northern resort where our daughter worked this summer. This is the only way we could get to have the visiting son see the absent daughter.

In early September we took this girl back to Iowa where she is in school and went to the Mt. Pleasant reunion. We were there less than a day but enjoyed every minute of it. How much it has grown since 1959 when we were there. We met some interesting people and machines. There was one conglomeration of wheels and whistles called 'Coonrods Sweetheart'. Warren Coonrod, the owner, told us that when he died no one need lay any flowers on his grave. He would be happy some other way. Let me tell you how.


No fancy long-tailed Sunday coat
Or proper satin tie
Need grace my grave
Or fragrant flowers
Perfume me when I die.

Just blow a whistle over me.
Don't tuck it in for burying,
But give it to an Engine Man
That it go on a carrying
Steam engine joy - Mt. Pleasant way,
And I shall go - still tarrying -
And I shall go - still tarrying.

Steam surely gets into these fellows, doesn't it? One thing we had all better be sure of these days and that is that we have more than earthly steam to get us into that Kingdom of God. We need a good old fashioned conversion and then get busy praying that we can not only be spared our lives but that our nation shall turn back to God.

When we got tired at Mt. Pleasant, (we who aren't still a frisky twenty-one) we sat in the pavilion and listened to good music - or - there were even the young fellows playing checkers. I don't think they heard anything. There were two excellent organ players - one who was only eleven years old. She was Karen Van Syoc, daughter of the Marvin Van Syocs of Mt. Pleasant. She takes lessons at Wesleyan College and I understand has won some honors in the state. She surely deserves them. The other woman who played so beautifully was Mrs. Clayton Parsons, a Lowell, Iowa farm wife.

The Old Time Fiddlers really played up a storm on 'The Bowl of Cabbage rag' or something of the sort. What pep these young fellows had. I would venture to say not a one of them is under sixty five nor a day over ninety.

The food was excellent and we enjoyed a good breakfast sitting across from Bud Wagner of Des Moines who is the owner of sixteen engines. So he is a steam man for sure.

I met some Amish folk in my wandering, they were Mr. and Mrs. Jake Marner of Loogootee, Indiana. Mrs. Marner and I visited in their car where she was resting.

Even got in on a birthday party for the Fiddler's Drummer J. C. Mattix, who was observing his sixty ninth birthday. Some one had baked him a lovely cake and the threshermen went to work on it promptly. We didn't all get in on the cake but we helped sing 'Happy Birthday.' That is Mt. Pleasant. What a friendly place !

We missed our own Fond du Lac show this year because of our trip but we did get to the banquet this fall. We had an excellent meal and steam movies afterward. John Achey of Dresser was the narrator and he gave the Fond du Lac show a pat on the back for having the best restored engines he has seen as he travels around and he DOES get around. So you can blow your whistles proudly, Fond du Lac, and prepare for another year. As for me, when this appears I will probably be looking out from behind a snow bank. I have much writing and sewing to do. My book of poems, which you can find advertised in Iron Men Album has sold in fifteen states and one province in Canada after being out less than four months. Of course I am thrilled and it gives me new steam. Here we come '62.