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Brandon, Wisconsin, RR-2, 53919

For over fifteen years I have been sending these country echoes to you, and now and again getting response from you. It has enriched my 'growing older' years. There is a certain release in writing thoughts down on paper, and in the doing of it, finding there are many people, who, in a chaotic age, still believe in down-to-earth lasting things. Some things never change. 1974 has been a disillusioning year. Our trust in the old-fashioned virtues of honesty and integrity in mankind has been shattered. And yet we must go on. We must pick up the pieces and get over this hump of negative thinking. Negative thinking never gets us anywhere. And how hard we are to live with.

Pollyanna? You may ask? Always look on the bright side of things? No matter how we hurt inside? Well, we can try, can't we? For what is our alternative? Despair? Rancor? Hate? Suspicion? How can we live with this deadly crew and survive? Death runs off of their grimy edges and we are left with a very sour bowl of cherries. (And who can afford sugar to sweeten them at today's prices, you may ask.)

Something happened to me this summer which I consider significant. Others would probably consider my viewpoint ridiculous. But I count it a blessing. I have always enjoyed the blossoms of the wild cucumber as certain summers are fragranced with their bloom. I have gathered seeds, during past years, tried to grow them in my yard, over a stone pile, up a trellis, but I had no success.

Now, our country yard does have a certain degree of order among its shrubs and flower borders. One has to have this, I suppose, or we go out of bounds. I will say we have a fair amount of order. So, my Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Wild Larkspur, Spiderwort in azure blue, Shooting Stars, Hepatica, Blood Root, Dutchman's-Breeches, and various daffodils all blossomed in orderly fashion around our front door. The ferns exulted among them in all their fronded greenery.

As spring turned to summer, there amongst all this woodsy atmosphere there suddenly appeared a wild cucumber; as hale and hearty a wild cucumber as I have ever seen. MAN! HOW SHE GREW! Her tendrils are creeping across my front steps, and out over the lawn. She is rampant, all right. She likes the fertility that comes from a winter cover of leaves as well as the other flowers do. I have named her Coralee.

Coralee has even covered my mother's Marguerite plant. I have another large clump elsewhere, so I have let her have her own blessed way. God placed her right there for a summer which was going to prove devastating to our morale. He knew. He always knows before we can ask or think.

Her fragrance has wafted into our house day by day. The fairy-like beauty of her tender white blossoms has reminded us there is still purity, honor, enduring love in this old world if we search for it in the right places.

Someone warned me I will be pulling out wild cucumbers by the handful next spring. So what? That is another season. This year I was chosen for jury duty and have served thirteen days to date. That is hardly a pleasant task. Interesting, yes. But it can be most depressing, and tiring. I was rather low, just wondering what I was going to write about in this column. I said to my husband, 'Maybe I had better quit.' And then I read in the newspaper that 20,000 peopleĀ  had attended a Jesus Rally in Pennsylvania. The comments on it were good. A bit earlier a letter of encouragement had come from Florence Johnson of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She is a lovely lady of 83. Also, one day while rummaging through my stuff I found a letter from Welsey Rankin of Harland. He said 'he liked my way of expressing many things' and that gave me a lift as well. I had what I needed to carry on. And isn't this often what we do for one another. Just another of God's blessings. Now for engine this with a bit of humor.

ANTIQUE ASKING You've gathered such weird things since taking meĀ  Pot-bellied stoves, a smelly whiffle tree, Gas engines, trivets, and big iron pots, Messy old chairs with grotesque, blistered knots. Even a steam engine clutters up our yard. If this is progress shouldn't we retard? For by comparing us I'm far from free When looking first at them and then at me.

Yes, we wives do wonder where we fit among your antiques. But we pass the question along knowing that many of us are also taken up with old things. So we will end with an extra toot on the whistle for all of us! So long.