The Ladies Page

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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!
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Courtesy of Mrs. Leo Turley, Route 4, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa 52641. Taken at The Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Reunion of 1965. 'Little Dixie Bell' owned by Mr. & Mrs. Harold George of Mexico, Missouri. action for image
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Courtesy of Frank Van Duzer, 507 N. Butrick St., Waukegan, Illinois Nick Dowdal at Zion City, Illinois. Nick is a man with a long background of threshing and steam experience. He , in his younger days worked for Wood Bros. Steam Traction Engine Co. and th



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

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.

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.

Farm Collector Magazine
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