Farm Collector

The Ladies Page


What a mixture of so many ingredients is this life we live here
on earth. The moods we get into are as changeable as the weather,
and if we were to live by them, what a miserable time we would
have. And yet this wonderful variability is what puts the challenge
into all we do and are. When we pick up the Iron Men Album as it
comes we ask ourselves, ‘What unusual story is going to be
within its pages this issue?’ ‘What will the old time
pictures be?’

I have a new variety of Christmas Cactus in bud. What will the
blossoms look like? The foliage is quite different than my old
standard plant. This plant was in blossom for Christmas this year.
The other will be open by New Year’s Day. And, I ask myself,
will the neighbor’s cardinal ever venture over to our bird
feeder? All we seem to get is sparrows. Don’t misunderstand, I
do not despise sparrows. They are God’s creatures also, but a
change would be nice. I would like his lovely red feathers to match
the color inside our house.

The delicate tracery of the denuded limbs on an oak tree are an
interesting picture now as we see them against the background of
snow and sky. And as we look forward to another spring the neatly
wrapped leaves on an emerging spear of a tulip shoot will again
create another mood within us. There will be promise and
fulfillment when we are patient. Surely it is a marvel the way they
come forth from the frigid ground.

Another reason I am waiting for spring is so that my old parlor
organ will gather wind again. Somehow the winter heat has a reverse
effect upon its bellows. But there is a great deal to be completed
before spring comes. Your Fellow Steam Enthusiast is writing
another book. I have to believe some publisher will like it or I
might as well quit right now.

On second thought, I should not say that. In reading the first
chapter or two to our youngest daughter she learned more about our
childhood on the farm than she had ever heard me tell. She was
number six in the family and I was too busy by that time to have
time for all these memories. If the publisher says ‘No’ the
family will have a record to remember, at least.

As I sit in my comfortable living room chair with my feet on a
well-padded footstool I adjust my lap board to the right position
and the past comes sweeping back over me. How wonderful it is to
relive it in the same house some of all this took place. The house
was built in 1920 and the excitement of it comes back to me afresh.
Before this the old house in which I was born rested on the same
ground. Only two old oak trees remain as I remember them as a

The Country School I attended is now someone’s house, the
wild myrtle by the side of the road lost to road widening, and the
horse and buggy, wagons, and sleighs replaced by trucks, cars, and
busses, but I miss nothing as much as the wild myrtle. When spring
comes how I would like to run down that dirt road again and find
afresh the tiny blue blossoms which we so admired and appreciated.
Now, I ask myself, why my Vinca Minor growing beside what is left
of the old woodshed doesn’t seem to be nearly as lovely as the
wild mrytle of my childhood? All the information I dig up on the
family of mrytles seems to indicate that THIS is it. And yet it
doesn’t seem to be.

Could this be another one of my moods bringing back memories of
myrtle that was really Vinca Minor? We find ourselves in this mood
more and more as we grow older. And isn’t it really a dangerous
thing, being so bound to the past as to lose some of the present?
When the children are grown and away from home for some of the
Holidays we find ourselves more than a little sad. We just do not
want to remind ourselves that if we had that many people around for
very long we would be fit for a hospital bed.

This was about my experience the last Thanksgiving weekend. We
had thirteen people in our house for four days. It was something to
be remembered and cherished but when it was all over with I was ill
for ten days with an abscessed tooth. So – it would seem – we have
some new lessons to be learned – how to grow older gracefully. I
will never forget one dear old lady we knew who was told be her
daughters and daughter-in-laws one Thanksgiving Day, ‘Now, you
sit down, Mother. You have done it all these years. Let us take
over now.’ I shall never forget how she sat in her chair,
straight-backed and fighting the tears. She had been laid aside,
and she thought it the most cruel blow she could be given, when her
children considered it only kindness and thoughtfulness. How hard
it is to let go of the helm and see someone else take our place,
and yet, how thankful we should be there is someone to take

But I must ask the question, does someone among our readers
know, is there old fashioned wild mrytle growing somewhere near
you? Perhaps I will seem a little more reasonable to myself if I
find that there is. Is it growing in your woods?

  • Published on Mar 1, 1967
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