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Country Echoes

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

Now that the snow is probably flying all around us can you remember 'October's Bright Blue Weather?' During October I just had to mount my attic stairs and find the old Elson School Reader, Book 1. There I found Helen Hunt Jackon's poem. Oh, what wonderful remembering I did. It took me right back to the old country school, Mapledale. It is now somebody's home and I am sure they must be happy in it.

No doubt it had much warmer floors than we remember. They were so frigid I can still imagine my chilblains itch on zero days. At one of the school auctions in our vicinity I picked up a library file for only a dollar. It works out beautifully for me and brings a touch of yesteryear into my workshop.

Along side of this will go an antique bookcase I am refinishing at a snail's pace. It needs some more sanding and then the finish. Then the books come down from the attic and I can have October's Bright Blue Weather any time I want it. When it is too warm for comfort I can wrap myself in Snowbound. Ah, the joy of books! and aren't we blessed that when we don't have the ones we want in our homes the local library will surely find them for us.

Our County Homemakers are using the theme Holidays in Other Lands at their Holiday Fair this year and we worked up a pamphlet on Holland. How wonderful it was to be able to acquire the needed information from the Traveling Library which we can contact through our local libraries. Ours is located in Madison. The books are sent by mail and I believe some can be kept for a month. Then they are mailed back and one has only to pay return postage. We obtained the information we needed and the committee is now busy making an authentic male and female costume and gathering Blue Delft china and other interesting things. Other centers from the County are using other lands. I can hardly wait to see that display.

If you should drop in at my house one of these days I might quite possibly show you my one piece of Spode China. My! I am proud of that! For 30 years I waited to visit Banff and Lake Louise and in the shops in Banff I spied that beautiful bone china from England. At the prevailing prices I came home with one $1.20 egg cup. But it is a treasure at that and I pick it up with the greatest care. Perhaps I don't need to but until I find out how rugged it is I surely won't toss it around. I might even get one of my chickens to lay an egg for you (they are quite co-operative) and I would serve it to you Spode Style.

Two friends did come calling via my mail box. One of them was a lady I met at the Mount Pleasant Reunion two or three years ago. She wrote a delightful letter and I want to thank her. So - thank you, Mrs. Folkert Harms of Minonk, Illinois. The other lady, Mrs. Laurence Lynas, Elwood, Illinois tried the potato roll recipe and has passed it on to her friends. That is one way of making potato rolls roll all over the place, isn't it? She also wrote of their Steam Show there.

It would never do to finish this column and not tell you a bit about our interesting trip. How can I ever forget the flowers at Banff? Their colors had an amazing quality, derived I believe from the long, cool days and the very different character of the sun in that far northern land. One couldn't define it, but all of us spoke of it. It had a persuasive brightness without the glare we experience here. At ten o'clock at night it was still daylight. We couldn't bear to go to bed. We might miss something. And then there was the pool at Radium Springs where the water emerged from the rock at the unbelievable temperature of 114 degrees. It filled a huge pool and this was one place where I wore my swim suit without embarrassment. There were much worse figures then mine, and definitely. It was quite revelatory to see them troop out of the lovely bath house. They were folks of eighty and perhaps even ninety. I felt like a school girl.

How the weariness soaked out of one in that huge bathtub! My husband and I grinned at each other in sheer delight. Our daughter, Mary, chose the pool that was only eighty degrees. She hasn't begun to develop our aches yet. Dan stayed at home to practice football. We all shook our heads as if to say, 'He is out of his mind.' But he made the team and to date they haven't lost a game, and that with only one more to play. So, of course, we have become football fans as well. What an experience it was to telephone him from Calgary, in Alberta, Canada and have him answer on the barn telephone. He talked for a few moments and then I heard Squeek Squeek as Dan said, 'I have to run Mother. The milker is falling off the cow.' Isn't it a wonderful world we live in?

As we stood between the mountains and feasted our eyes on the bluest water I have ever seen; drank from refreshing springs and mountain streams I could only say, 'O Lord, how great Thou art.' Mary had her cornet along and we stopped on top of a Montana hill where there was nothing but broad fields in view. There she practiced as we refreshed ourselves in God's great distances. It was food for our souls as we drank in all of the beauty, Glacier, Kootenay, and Banff National Parks, the mountain sheep, antelope, elk, right on the roadside. Even a wandering Black Angus was serving lunch to her offspring in the middle of the road.

Yes - I waited thirty years - but Oh, how I hope I can see it again. Not only that, are we saying, but next time - On To Alaska, is our theme. When I think of our lovely earth -what about heaven? And I remember 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.'