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COUNTRY ECHOES

Since we last met on the Ladie's Page life has handed us many experiences, but the one that stands out rather stickily is having an egg thrown at us on a Saturday morning - and this at 5:30 A.M. We were driving out of Boise, Idaho, headed back to Wisconsin.

We were just getting settled back into our seat belts. Dawn was spreading a rim of light across the surrounding buttes. SPEED ZONE AHEAD reminded us to slow to the prescribed limit. And then it happened. CRAACK - SPLUISH!

'What was that?' I shouted in a most unladylike way.

'I don't know,' was my husband's startled answer. But then I turned my head and my tongue came darting out of my mouth in the second unladylike gesture of the morning. It turned down in distaste as I looked at the window which had protected my nice clean head.

'Uish,' I said in dismay. 'Uish. Keep on driving.' I shouted orders like a seasoned sergeant to a company of green rookies. 'Don't stop. PLEASE,' I added with dictatorial firmness. 'If that goop ever runs down in the window we are going to have a mess.' Involuntarily I moved over closer to Alfred. Whoops! The seat belt was holding me. I pushed the release gadget and again I almost shouted. 'Look! Just look! What is it?' By now it practically covered the whole window and the wind was working it around in strange, sloppy patterns.

'Do you suppose some big bird flew over and laid an egg in flight?' my husband asked, tongue in cheek. He was thoroughly enjoying my early morning exhibition of woman's squeamishness.

'Oh my! Yes, I surely expect so,' I answered as I gave him one of those cold wifely stares. But we kept on driving until the mess was a bit less messy and then a station attendent kindly removed all vestiges of someone's prank. We repaid him by purchasing his high test gas. He shook his head. 'You certainly aren't leaving us with a very good impression of Boise, are you?' he asked.

'Oh, I don't know about that', I answered breezily. 'They swore at us in Boston, a few years ago. We got out in the middle of an intersection when everybody wanted to move from the opposite direction. Swore at in Boston. Egged in Boise! Maybe it is some kind of traveling slogan we've picked up for ourselves.' And so we were on our way.

The car was traveling well for only having two people in it. Our luggage was on the light side as we had taken some left-in-Wisconsin pictures and furniture with us on the trip out. Then I had ridden in apprenhension of having the leg of a chair bang my head should it it come loose from its moorings. But the weight was now replaced with rocks in the trunk - oh such pretty rocks. I could scarcely wait to get home and arrange them on our patio. Our daughter-in-law was happy with her favorite chair. I was dreaming of how the personality of my patio was going to be improved by these colorful rocks, and keeping my eye alert for a few more specimens as we stopped from time to time. And I was going home with such special memories of Succor and Jump River Canyons.

Our daughter-in-law, Eileen, had been wanting to go to Succor and Jump River Canyons for some time. Now we were there and she was more enthused than ever. We packed a picnic lunch and drove for quite some distance before we turned off on a trail which became increasingly more filled with rocks, mostly round rocks, to be sure. We were driving our car from Wisconsin, and the two back tires weren't really meant for this sort of travel. They had been snow tires and the tread was well worn, practically all gone.

We had come about ten or twelve miles when it happened. Out went tire No. 1. My husband shook his head. There were no other travellors in sight. We hauled out the spare and soon were ready to travel again. Should we go on or turn back? I noticed the stones weren't all round. Some had rather sharp edges -- and - there were six of us. But we had come this far and the female members of the party had looks of disappointment on their faces. So, in spite of a feeling of great uneasiness we went on.

Oh! What a beautiful place! And they told that there were thunder eggs here. This is a round rock with beautiful marble-like veins in the inside, if they are split or sawed in two. In no time at all we were all searching. Such lovely colored stones. We began to gather them into piles without much consideration for our other poor tire. My husband really began to look worried. And as we piled them into the trunk he almost turned green. A couple of people arrived in a pickup truck loaded with two motorcycles. He looked a little less distressed,

I thought. At least we might have a ride out if things became crucial. We decided THEY would follow us out. There were few places to pass. After unloading their motorcycles they were off to the pastime of riding the dunes. It looks like great fun but we understand it is creating a problem of erosion on the hills. They are wearing off the protective grass.

Quickly we ate our lunch. This time a bird did go over. In the empty compartment on our son Paul's plate he left a contribution to Paul's supper. 'Humph, said Paul. 'Did somebody throw something at me.' And he went right on eating. As we were depositing the plates in the trash can we found the answer.

Mr. B. hurried us into the car and we headed for home in Emmett. We were very quiet. I think six people were praying. 'Another mile,' we would sigh and say. We were all watching the back window hoping the dune riding was very intriguing. When we were about two thirds of the way to the highway they caught up with us and indicated they wanted to pass. What else could we do? So far, so good.

We made it to a filling station, had our spare repaired and had no more trouble until we were almost out of Wyoming on the way home. We ran into road construction and the other one gave up the ghost also. So we had to buy two new tires at a filling station garage there. We were going into Yellowstone and back across mountains. We couldn't take a chance. But I was still gathering rocks. A beautiful place of rose quartz was given to me in New Underwood S.D. We drove off the highway for a breather. We found a reader of the Iron Men Album there. He owns A Case Steam Engine, and his wife has a 1930 Paige car. They were so hospitable they took us in their house and I petted their pet bobcat. To be honest with you, I wasn't too sure of this venture either. They had a caged one out in the yard who was a menace just to look at. These people answer to the names of Frances and Mary Bill. Thank you for the rock, Mary. I got it home in fine shape. A week ago Sunday morning I found a new rock in my collection. I couldn't believe my eyes. Here was a good sized silver colored rock, lovely and shiny in the morning sun. It has the look of aluminum paint, very carefully applied. And I don't believe a bird dropped that either. My husband had a very sly look that morning. It shall remain permanently. It is the best 'Conversation piece' of all.

So again we have been led safely to far places and back home again. How good God is to us, not because we are worth it, but because we trust him. The partings from our loved one are never so hard if we can say, 'God watch between us while we are separated one from another.' Our ten-year-old granddaughter Cindy, had a hard time holding the tears back as we said goodbye. Gail, who is eight, had fallen asleep. She can always find exciting things to do no matter what.

Again the letters are speeding back and forth across the country. With a family in Idaho, a couple in Jersey, another in Delaware, and a family in Kansas City, we have to get used to goodbyes. Now the youngest son is engaged to a lovely girl and a wedding will be next in order. This will bring some of them home, and home will be home again.