Farm Collector


By the time this issue of the Iron Men Album arrives at your
home in February of 1974 I wonder what more will have developed on
the national and world scene. The writing of this column, of
course, was done among the Christmas preparations of 1973. We had a
few dismally dark days during December. One hardly knew it was
daylight. These distressed the soul to the uttermost, and out of
these came the following peom.


I find nothing profound amongst your dark skinned hours.
Nothing to cheer but fire’s warmth and glow.
Nothing for adding to imagined towers
Nothing encouraging to make my house plants grow.

Sadly they grimace. Only cacti weather
All of your gloom. My carpet rags grow knots.
Candle-lit fingers fail to tie and tether
Badly worn cloth, nor alter inky blots.

Hie then away, December’s deep despairing.
(This year no lights, no glowing Christmas tree.)
Take then your shortest day and go wayfaring
I’ve had enough of baleful ’73.

Now what of 1974, I asked  myself among the anxiety. One
can’t be a concerned person and not care. What of all the
argumentive and conflicting voices on every hand? And then a great
thing happened to me as a person. My father used to say, ‘It
has to get about so bad before it gets any better.’ To this I
can say, ‘Amen!’

In the latter days, the Bible tells us, ‘Your old men will
dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.’ Joel 2:28 B.
And after listening to all the accusations and defenses of the past
year, I have to conclude that we are so busy blaming everybody but
ourselves in the U.S.A. that our dreams and visions have hit rock
bottom. In my personal experience this poem was rock bottom for me,
and then it happened.

We have a group of writers here who go by the name of The Pen
rocks. Everything had stood in the way of our meetings of late, but
finally we got together. What a meeting we had! We were so glad to
see each other, we were like a bunch of kids turned loose in the
first snow. The ideas began to flow, and I began to get gloriously
intoxicated on thoughts.

One irrepressible lady who sits on the floor, her skinny little
legs clasped in her equally skinny little arms, gave me more in two
or three hours than my thirsty soul could hold. The next morning,
on my way to town for groceries, I stopped to thank her. It went on
for another hour.

But the day still had more. In the afternoon our young minister
came  out to our country home. There was another session of
exchanging ideas, drawing out creativity, gaining spiritual
strength. All the food I have eaten for months hadn’t given me
what these two people, one a Catholic, and one a Reformed Church in
America pastor gave me in one afternoon and one evening.

After our Pastor Voskuil left, my Mr. B. and I went to Fond du
Lac to shop around a bit. I spent $1.04. You see, I didn’t need
anything material. I was full-up on soul food, friendship, caring,
creativity. We had talked about this.

Perhaps our shortages are going to bring us back together as
caring people, rich or poor, antique minded or otherwise. We have
always known that the quantity of anything is not as important as
the quality. When husbands withhold love from their wives their
pocketbooks often suffer.

And we want you to know, our steam-minded husbands, that many of
us understand, your fascination with your ‘huffa puffas, (as
that one dear little boy called them) is your gate to
communication. It is your pathway, not only back to yesteryear, but
your machinery toward renewal.

Don’t think we have missed that youthful twinkle brought
back to your eyes as you steam up Big Jenny or Purring Patsy. We
fell in love with that youthful twinkle. And we are happy now to
see you open your nostrils to the smell of steam, and to see you
tie your red bandannas around your pulsing  Adam’s apples.
We know you are having the time of your life, and we are happy for
you. We are a little choked up ourselves as nostalgia sweeps over

But surely we always have to be careful that we don’t get
carried away on the wings of remembering. Today is here with us,
and tomorrow right around the corner. Our world is a tremendous
challenge as we see it RIGHT NOW.

Equally important is the fact that we must be ready for eternal
life, when the last dark clouds eventually envelope us. Surely we
can trust a God who has made earth so interesting, to do even a
better job in heaven. There is a fascinating book ‘HEAVEN AND
THE ANGELS’ which is put out by the Osterhus Publishing House.
It stresses this point. I read it when I need a lift, and it has
made my expectation of heaven rich and wonderful. It is so
reasonable, and to me so right. I bought two copies, one to keep
and one to share. You may wish to do the same. The price is $1.00 a
copy and my postage here to Wisconsin was 24c for the two. The
address is 4500 W. Broadway, Minneapolis, Minn. 55422. The author
is H. A. Baker. The book has not been copyrighted nor ever will be.
You see, it is for sharing.

I only spent $1.04 in Fond du Lac. Maybe your husband won’t
mind you spending $2.24 for two books. It isn’t for nothing
that we read ‘when you see these things begin to come to pass,
look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.’ In the midst of our
despair at the face of things we can still cry, ‘HALLELUJAH!
and AMEN!’

  • Published on Mar 1, 1974
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