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Country Echoes

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

Ah me! The larder is empty again this spring morning. The day is young and clear and beautiful. In the border outside my south kitchen windows the tiny buds of blue and white puschkinia are showing their hardy heads. These are little blue and white striped spring flowers which grow from bulbs and spread readily. They are so cheerful and perhaps I am so fond of them because it took me so long to find out what they were and where to get the bulbs. They will soon be followed by scillas in their bright blue dresses. The outdoors calls but the cookie jar is empty and the cake pans are no different. The yard is ready for raking and a bedroom is half cleaned. Doesn't that sound like a farm in the spring?

I told my family that a farmer could soon turn his cows out to pasture this time of year to pick their own food but a farm wife had to keep right on producing three meals a day no matter how busy she gets. I jokingly remarked that it would be nice if I could turn them all out to pasture for a while. They looked a bit abused for a moment.

My cookie jars seem somehow to have no bottoms in them. I wonder sometimes how they can vanish so quickly. Then with remorse I remember how well they are and how rosy their cheeks and happy their smiles and breathe a prayer of thankfulness that I have two hands with which to bake, a land of great plenty in which to live, a good provider for a husband, the beauty of the earth on every hand and a home to keep in a free land. So -- once again I shall cream the shortening, add the sugar, then the eggs and go to work. With me I have working millions of other mothers making our land a neatly kept place where we can raise our children in freedom.

The years are so short while our families are growing up. Before we seem to be ready to accept it the first two or three are getting married and starting homes of their own. Surely these are the golden years of family life when we have our happy, laughing broods around us. May we send an extra prayer to God for every mother and father enslaved by heartless dictators who are either deprived of their own flesh and blood after giving them birth or are not permitted to teach them openly the eternal truths. We should mix our cookies and cakes and many other savoury dishes with a generous heart for the needy and a hand extended in help with a prayer that right shall win over might.

We have to live with a certain amount of clutter while our children are small if we aren't to become cross and harsh with them but when the last ones went off to school I am sure most of us have a rather bad case of

NINE O'CLOCK SORROW

It isn't neatness of the best perhaps
To find them there upon my kitchen floor
Aside of where Pal takes his doggy naps
In canine comfort near an open door.

The smell of his best friend is overhung
In those small overalls so near at hand
They speak of sturdy limbs, a song is
sung

Of boyish zest - my heart can understand.

His form in fleeing he has left behind,
His roundness and his sweetness still
remain --
My head is bowed to God for being kind,
For wondrous joy, deep gratitude and
pain.

Agreeing in the mood of heart we know
The two of us who love him so meet eyes,
And dog-like, Pal puts on a morning
show
Restoring sparkle to my lonely eyes.

I pet the head, now raised to meet the
day,
Pick up the overalls too soiled for
school
And know this is a mother's only way,
Supreme must be upheld the Golden Rule.

There may be years when overalls are
gone
That I may wish for some upon a chair
Or tied around a bedpost, come the dawn
And then there will be only neatness
there.