The Ladies Page

Country Echoes

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

Reading about warm weather when the snow flies may have a
tendency to send forth a welcome glow of warmth within us.
Aren’t we a privileged people we who live among the

In the fall one thinks ahead of what the earth will be like
again in Spring’s green emerald gown. In autumn the wind and
sun has aged and leathered the leaves. Some are torn. They must of
necessity die that the earth have it’s first protective
covering. What an experience it is to walk among them, ankle deep
in a woodland quiet and serene.

Spring is lovely here but autumn has a peace and that clear blue
weather that is unique in it’s blessing.

Later on we see a pure, white carpet on our earth and are hushed
by the magic of the minute white flakes making their certain fall
to the earth again. We have another mood a sort of silent joy sings
among the flakes. We can in one night of strong breeze and snow
find our world transformed into a village of weird banks with
curling and spiraled tips. It is nice then to remember the good
things which happened to us during the summer. Let me tell you a
bit about them.

The first adventure was a bus trip with a group of church ladies
to Pella, Iowa for Tulip Time. That was so enjoyable. We sold
Wisconsin cheese and Sheboygan sausage there.

In June we took a twelve day trip down through Florida, to visit
a sister, and up the Blue Ridge Parkway continuing on to New Jersey
where our second oldest son was ordained into the ministry. We
stopped on our way to visit with Elmer Ritzman at Enola and saw
where the Iron Men Album is published. It was nice to meet Mrs.
Ritzman and Anna Mae. We loved some of the antiques around the
Ritzman home. We saw so much beauty and so many interesting things
on this trip that it would take another column to tell you about

The climax for us, of course, was the ordination. We felt both
proud and humble as our son dedicated his life to the service of
the Lord and fellow men. To be the mother and father of a minister
is a rich experience. We came away grateful for God’s blessing.
The service was beautiful and I shall cherish the memory

Christian Editors and Writer’s Conference at Green Lake in
July was a blessed week for me. Thyra Ferr’e Bjorn, author of
‘Papa’s Wife’, ‘Mama’s Way’, and
‘Papa’s Daughter’, was one of my teachers. Mrs. Bjorn
and I became good friends and recently she and her daughter spent a
night in our home.

We had about two weeks of company from the south and east in
August and then spent two days at a northern resort where our
daughter worked this summer. This is the only way we could get to
have the visiting son see the absent daughter.

In early September we took this girl back to Iowa where she is
in school and went to the Mt. Pleasant reunion. We were there less
than a day but enjoyed every minute of it. How much it has grown
since 1959 when we were there. We met some interesting people and
machines. There was one conglomeration of wheels and whistles
called ‘Coonrods Sweetheart’. Warren Coonrod, the owner,
told us that when he died no one need lay any flowers on his grave.
He would be happy some other way. Let me tell you how.


No fancy long-tailed Sunday coat
Or proper satin tie
Need grace my grave
Or fragrant flowers
Perfume me when I die.

Just blow a whistle over me.
Don’t tuck it in for burying,
But give it to an Engine Man
That it go on a carrying
Steam engine joy – Mt. Pleasant way,
And I shall go – still tarrying –
And I shall go – still tarrying.

Steam surely gets into these fellows, doesn’t it? One thing
we had all better be sure of these days and that is that we have
more than earthly steam to get us into that Kingdom of God. We need
a good old fashioned conversion and then get busy praying that we
can not only be spared our lives but that our nation shall turn
back to God.

When we got tired at Mt. Pleasant, (we who aren’t still a
frisky twenty-one) we sat in the pavilion and listened to good
music – or – there were even the young fellows playing checkers. I
don’t think they heard anything. There were two excellent organ
players – one who was only eleven years old. She was Karen Van
Syoc, daughter of the Marvin Van Syocs of Mt. Pleasant. She takes
lessons at Wesleyan College and I understand has won some honors in
the state. She surely deserves them. The other woman who played so
beautifully was Mrs. Clayton Parsons, a Lowell, Iowa farm wife.

The Old Time Fiddlers really played up a storm on ‘The Bowl
of Cabbage rag’ or something of the sort. What pep these young
fellows had. I would venture to say not a one of them is under
sixty five nor a day over ninety.

The food was excellent and we enjoyed a good breakfast sitting
across from Bud Wagner of Des Moines who is the owner of sixteen
engines. So he is a steam man for sure.

I met some Amish folk in my wandering, they were Mr. and Mrs.
Jake Marner of Loogootee, Indiana. Mrs. Marner and I visited in
their car where she was resting.

Even got in on a birthday party for the Fiddler’s Drummer J.
C. Mattix, who was observing his sixty ninth birthday. Some one had
baked him a lovely cake and the threshermen went to work on it
promptly. We didn’t all get in on the cake but we helped sing
‘Happy Birthday.’ That is Mt. Pleasant. What a friendly
place !

We missed our own Fond du Lac show this year because of our trip
but we did get to the banquet this fall. We had an excellent meal
and steam movies afterward. John Achey of Dresser was the narrator
and he gave the Fond du Lac show a pat on the back for having the
best restored engines he has seen as he travels around and he DOES
get around. So you can blow your whistles proudly, Fond du Lac, and
prepare for another year. As for me, when this appears I will
probably be looking out from behind a snow bank. I have much
writing and sewing to do. My book of poems, which you can find
advertised in Iron Men Album has sold in fifteen states and one
province in Canada after being out less than four months. Of course
I am thrilled and it gives me new steam. Here we come ’62.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment