THE LADIES PAGE

COUNTRY ECHOES

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BRANDON WISCONSIN RR-2 Zip 53919 

It was just one star one star in the last hours before morning as I lay awake looking through my bedroom window. It was framed in the casing of the window as though it was a picture of hope, just for me. And then in a matter of moments it disappeared from my sight. A cloud must have covered it, I assumed, as I waited for its reappearance.

My star did not reappear before I dropped back into a troubled sleep. I dreamed one of those senseless dreams about rushing around looking for something I could not find. The one glimpse of this star had been so reassuring, the chaos so tiring. The face I presented to my husband at 5:30 was not a happy or serene one. He wanted an early breakfast and I was exhausted from battling with a dream. But by the time the combination of these two wore off, just a little, I knew what I must do. I must write this column right away.

Now the sky is clear and blue as I look up at the top of a still leafless tree in late April. From both my bed, and my position at my typewriter I can see only sky. Now the treetop is the picture in the frame. It is all in the way one looks at things it would seem. An occasional bird flutters by. There is even animation in my picture of the morning. But let me tell you what happened four or five years ago in August.

It was one day when I presented a crude and disgusting picture of myself to two of my readers. It was a hot day, unbelievably muggy and hot. I was wearing only two pieces of clothing, one a positive necessity to decency, and the covering of a shorty nighty to complete the scanty ensemble. As noon approached I grabbed a light weight cotton skirt from the closet and covered myself a bit more. Who would come on a day such as this, I reasoned.

When Mr. B came in and saw my attire he promptly pulled off his shirt and sat himself down at the table. This had always been a prohibited act at our house. You didn't come to the table without a shirt. Never. But that day we let it go. It was too hot to argue or fuss.

As the listless foursome around that table picked at their food there was a knock at the door. I groaned a little as I dragged myself into movement, folded my arms across my front to aid the ruffles in covering my embarrassment and answered the door.

Here stood two of the neatest, coolest looking people one could imagine. I have often wondered since if their car was air conditioned. They soon introduced themselves as readers of the Ladies Page. They wanted to meet me and so they had stopped in.

I don't remember what I stammered in reply, but I did have the presence of mind to invite them into the house. But here sat Mr. B. at the table shirtless. We offered them some chairs, finished our meal, and conversed in spite of our humiliation. I took down their name and address, mislaid it, found it again when we moved, mislaid it again. I think you were from Illinois, Mr. and Mrs. Somebody.

They wanted a snapshot of the two of us so we asked to be excused while we changed into something more fitting. They graciously agreed and we all went outside. I suffered through the rest of that day in proper clothes. Never again, I vowed. The next day I went to town, bought material for a cool, attractive dress, and made it immediately. And I bought a cotton slip in place of nylon.

I don't believe I had the courage to bring this up in the column before. I can't go through over ten years of columns every time I write a new one. I was too mortified for a long time afterward to even think about it.

During January I received a letter from a reader in South-Western Montana. He suggests I have three whacks with an unhexalled cornstalk for calling a hexal machine a hackle machine. He can drop in and administer these someday if he wishes. I'm wearing more clothes now. We have air conditioning in our new house. I am subject to being overcome with the heat if that is any excuse for my scanty attire of several years ago. Thank you for your interesting letter, Mr. Rennewanz. I hope to get around to answering it one of these days.

However, I am a little let down that I had not one letter in response to my last column. Remember we were going to have a prayer operation 'IRON MEN ALBUM.' I would really be discouraged on that point if I didn't know how easy it is for all of us to intend to do a thing and then not do it.

So our mailbox is still waiting, and our country in crucial need. There were three of us, myself, a lady from Kansas, and another from Iowa who had a prayer Round Robin letter going for several years. One of the ladies passed away after a long, painful illness during which time the other two of us sustained her as we could. The second lady has grown too old and here letters became mixed up and one could tell they were a burden for her to write. But it was a great experience while we shared one another's trials and joys, our concerns and small bits of humor at times.

On one trip to see our daughter and family in Kansas City, we stopped in at both their homes. We had met, only by mail, but we chatted like old friends. Surely prayer can tie us together, and together to God. We may, sometimes, be almost overwhelmed by the picture of riots and unrest we see in our world, but remember, the star is still there as it was so many years ago. And while the star and all it symbolizes is there, hope remains. And while hope remains, we must have faith.