Courtesy of Mrs. Leo Turley, Route 4, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa 52641. Taken at The Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Reunion of 1965. A fine parade of Steamers!
BRANDON WISCONSIN R.R-2 ZIP-53919
How strangely circumstances can change the pattern of our lives overnight. This is what has happened at Edgewood Acres. Seven weeks ago today we brought my eighty eight year old mother back to the farm where she lived for so many years.
At the present time we find ourselves with a hospital bed in our dining room and the general paraphenalia that goes with the care of the sick or aged. But Grandma has come back to the farm. It has brought back many memories to me also.
How the years sweep along and carry us along with them. Through my window I can see our nineteen year old son making his way toward the house for breakfast. He has his rubbers in his hand and is swinging them in rhythm to the tune he is whistling. And I am reminded, how many people have been happy here on this farm.
Perhaps this is one of the rewards for having a family farm which stays in the family for many years. Our parents bought this' one back in 1903. It was several years later that I made my entrance into the world. But there is not one building left here that was here when I was born. Only two trees around the dooryard are still with us, and Mother. The two trees are oak and surely Mother has a constitution as rugged as they.
One thing I am especially thankful for as I look back over the years is the unswerving rules of right and wrong she taught her family. Of course they have been a bit cumbersome to me now and then when I was tempted to do wrong and sometimes did. But the rules were there and if I wanted to break myself over them I was free to do so. But how good it was to know that they were there for me to aim for.
And then I look around me at a generation who have so little to hang onto and so little expected of them in the way of conduct and I feel so sorry for them. And I ask the mothers who have a teen age son or daughter who are begging to go steady to say a very determined NO. We have the results of this plague on all sides of us here even in this rural community.
The men who handle steam, and have through the years, are surely aware that it is a force that must be handled with extreme care. We would hardly let a novice handle all these complicated valves and guages. A man has to be mature and experienced to take this upon himself. He can't be happy with a blown up engine, and our younger generation can not be happy with a blasted life.
I think the farm and solid parents have taught me the value of disciplined freedom. There really is no other kind. Freedom to wreck oneself before one has acquired good judgment is no freedom at all but is rather license for bondage. As I care for my aged Mother how thankful I should be for what she taught me and how she set a path before me to follow. Her discipline even showed up in her garden. Those rows were as straight and weed free as they could be.
In my Mother's home there was little to read except the Bible. They were very poor and at nine years old she worked in a cotton factory from six in the morning until six in the evening. I have heard her tell many times how some of the women who worked there took pity on her and helped her out with what she could not do. When the inspectors came through they hid her behind the cotton bales so that she would be able to keep her job. The fifty cents a day she earned was so much needed to keep the family going.
Surely my Mother could not brag about having a carefree childhood. Some of today's lazy, filthy beatniks could learn a lesson from her. The fiber of life held some very difficult strands for her to weave into her life. She had her troubles along with her joys as we all do.
As I finish up this column almost two weeks later I look out of my window again. My husband has a caller. He is climbing up on the Minneapolis 28 which now graces our dooryard. Yes the man of the house has another pet. This time her name is Minnie. It reminds me of the time when we were awaiting our first child. We kidded about it that we were going to name her Minnie Maggie after both our mothers. She was a boy and escaped the awful fate. Really we never would have named anybody THAT We were free to do it that's for sure but what if we had ever used our liberty to handicap a child with that combination of names?
But getting back to my husband's visitor. He was a man in his late seventies or eighties I learned later. He just had to get the feel of being on a big steam engine again. I noted that he had his hands on the big levers and I expect in those few moments that he was recalling being a strong young man again.
So it is with a certain sadness that we see all that the years have brought to pass. Only if we have a good living faith can we let time take its toll and keep our spirits strong. As we live day after day with the problems and weariness of old age we are reminded of the Apostle Paul saying, 'If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.' I Cor. 15:19.
Yes we do find a great deal of happiness on earth, and that is as it should be but we can know without a shadow of a doubt that it is going to be a lot better on the other side. Mother wants me once again and this is the pattern right now. Have a good fruitful summer but a more abundant eternity.