The Ladies Page


Wisconsin is wintered down with a heavy blanket of snow as 1969
becomes 1970. It makes one wonder what the wind may do before this
article is inked onto the page. The snow shovel is handy but the
shoveler is too weary to think about what may happen.

On December 28th our youngest son took himself a wife. We lived
with apprehension every day as the time for the wedding neared. One
daughter and her family were driving in from Kansas City, two sons,
two wives, and one baby were flying in from Philadelphia. The
mother of the groom was to give the rehearsal dinner and snow lay
in pillowy puffs all over the countryside.

Armed with over sixty dollars to buy food and supplies I packed
my snow shovel into the back seat of the Chevrolet, pulled on my
boots, and started for town. Ten houseguests, and twenty five for
an evening meal where does one start? And where does one end?
Finally I limped home with about six boxes and bags of groceries,
at least six bags of baked goods from a thrift bakery, napkins,
candles for the table, some Christmas tree bulbs etc. etc. etc.
Settling my eighteen loaves of bread into a bushel basket and the
ice chest on the porch, for freezing, I covered them carefully with
an old tablecloth. I hoped I wouldn’t have to dig them out when
I needed them. But I blessed my big screened-in front porch for
being the big freezer it is, in an emergency. I sank into the
nearest chair. THAT was over with.

I decided right then and there that one of these days I was
going to take a ‘THIS IS A BE GOOD TO MAE’ day. Mae was
going to need it. I mused for a moment on the lady who had passed
this thought on to me. Her name is Anne Hook and she is a well
known Christian writer. We were sitting together talking when she
told me that now and then she had to take a day and say to herself
‘Now this will have to be a BE GOOD TO ANNE day.’ She finds
that when her energy becomes about so depleted she has to take a
day to think of herself. It does make sense, doesn’t it? The
Bible says, ‘DO unto others as you would have others do unto
you.’ If we can be serving others day after day as fathers and
mothers, there surely must be times when they should be serving us.
But in this case the only servant I saw anywhere on the horizon was
Mary and she wouldn’t be home until the night before the first
guests arrived. She is practice teaching at Neenah. With a groan I
hauled myself out of the chair. Two cribs had to be set up for two
one-year-old babies. Ours, in the attic, had fallen apart no time
to glue it. So our good neighbors lent us two cribs, and one high
chair. Our high chair was usable.

Quickly I made another notation on the MOST URGENT TASKS pad. I
had to see that Dan’s clothes were ready for his Honeymoon.
With all the beforehand events they were constantly being worn.
loomed before me on this list and were now scratched through. The
rug and the furniture were coming any day. The room had to be

I groaned again and went back to work. Three showers had been
given, one of these here in this house as Mary entertained. But
Mary had gotten home just the night before, then, also. I patted
the cookie boxes filled with over 400 cookies. This was done. Some
two hundred potato rolls were baked and ready. The goose for
Christmas dinner rested in the freezer. The way was becoming clear,
and I was still on the path.

And then the flu hit. As I bid the last guests goodbye after the
rehearsal dinner my stomach began to do some flip-flops. I thanked
the girls for doing up the dishes and headed for a strange bed.
Mary and I were destined to spend our first night in our new house.
It is almost completed but not the plumbing. Enough said I was very
ill. I attended the wedding next day, about five pounds lighter
than the day before. I needed the ushers arm for support. We made a
sad looking couple. He had a toothache. As we left the church the
worst thing of all happened. I was supposed to take the usher’s
arm to come down the aisle, but my husband stepped out too quickly
and I took his instead. Here stood the poor usher, not knowing what
to do. He finally followed us down the aisle, turned around and
ambled back as if to say, ‘Honestly, some people!’ It was
the chuckle of the day. But it was a beautiful wedding and we have
a lovely new daughter.

But the end was not yet. On Sunday, the day after the wedding
the five from Kansas City left for home. A little lull began to
settle over the household as three children left us. One of them is
5, one 3, and it was the baby’s first birthday. We sang Happy
Birthday to him at the breakfast table.

Mid-afternoon the mother of the other baby was hit by the same
bug that had me low. Everybody helped pitch in to take care of
Little Jerry, our newly adopted grandson. What a honey. I
wasn’t worth two cents.

On Monday it hit four more of us. Two six-foot-four fellows were
down, and the other daughter-in-law and poor Mary. She was learning
a lot about everything all at once. I would have to see she had a
BE GOOD TO MARY DAY next week. I was able to be up and down again,
and carrying Pepto-Bismol, Seven-Up, and matches to burn around the
house. One daughter-in-law said, ‘Oh Mother, pray for me.
I’m so sick I feel like I’m going to die.’ So I did,
and she recovered. We all breathed a One of the first conditions of
learning in a woman is to keep the fact a profound secret. prayer
of thankfulness that it didn’t happen on the wedding day. But
now we learn it traveled with our young couple and they were ill
down in Illinois. I look back at it all and I groan again. But then
our new grandmother clock rings out the hours and quarter hours so
beautifully, and it is all forgotten in the joy of a dream come
true. Our six offspring and their wives and husband got their heads
together along in October and ordered us a house-warming gift which
came in time for Christmas. It will stand beside our new fireplace
and ring out restful hours, as I have several BE GOOD TO MAE days.
Frankly, I need them.

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