The Ladies Page

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A model I made of my Father's old water wheel, with all wooden gears and pulley. Courtesy of Lonnie O. Gunter, Sr., 404 Johnstown Road, Beckley, West Virginia 25801.
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The smaller one has a copper boiler 5 inches in diameter and is 20 inches long.
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Pictured are two steam engine I made. The larger engine has a boiler 12 inches in diameter and is 4 feet long. Courtesy of Lonnie O. Gunter, Sr., 404 Johnstown Road, Beckley, West Virginia 25801.
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Ernest Roadhouse of Blythewood, Ontario. Has just finished steaming tobacco beds with his Waterloo Engine in 1971. Courtesy of Louis Forrest, R. R. 1, Staples, Ontario, Canada NOP 2JO.

It is early on the morning of our fortieth wedding anniversary.
How different is the climate and area from where we were forty
years ago this morning. We are in Los Angeles where our eldest son,
his wife, and two daughters are living at present.

When we came back from our honeymoon way back then, it was
sixteen degrees below zero. Here we have just seen a humming bird
outside the window. And two days ago we visited Lake Havasu where a
man named McCullough, I believe, imported the London Bridge and
rebuilt it on the Arizona desert. Already there is a sizeable city
there and promise of much more growth.

As we drove toward Lake Havasu the scenery was some of the most
beautiful I have ever seen. The mountains were magnificent. The
only thing that marred our complete enjoyment were the signs
reading FLASH FLOOD AREA NEXT TWELVE MILES, or SIX MILES or EIGHT
MILES. They were too numerous for our entire peace of mind.

We arrived safely, knowing we would have to return over those
same roads. But once we were inside those attractive gates our
fears were forgotten. What an experience to hear an imitation of
Old Ben sounding out the hours! I didn’t dare let myself go
into the China Shop. Not as sold as I am on English china! My good
husband bought me a Roadrunner sitting atop what is supposed to be
an authentic piece of the London Bridge.

I have been looking in vain for a live one as we travel along. I
think he is hoping I will give up looking and quit talking about
Roadrunners. Now I have a composition one, on rock, to take home
with me. So, as I am thinking about him, I am also looking forward
to this evening. Our family is taking us out to dinner.

And a great experience it was. We ate at the world-famous Sea
Lion at Malibu Beach. When the tide is high, and the wind
boisterous, the waves splash up over the windows beside the table
where you are dining. But for us, the surfers playing in the waves
were interesting to watch, and the open fire in the central part of
the eating area was cheerful and homey. Best of all, of course, was
the family companionship of the occasion and all the memories which
came flooding in. The tide was not high so the water stayed far
below us.

After selecting and eating what we hoped was our favorite kind
of fish, we drove to Fisherman’s Wharf at Marina Del Rey. We
went down some steps into a floating boat with glass sides where we
could observe much marine life we had never seen before. There were
Leopard Sharks, and dark colored plain ones. There were sizeable
sting rays, flapping their elephant-colored wings and starfish
clinging to underground rocks. Most startling of all was a huge
gray-green turtle plowing his way through the illuminated water. He
seemed to say, ‘Here I am, you lucky people. Take a good look
at me.’ Now and again his dark shadow would appear as we
watched all these strange residents of our oceans.

I suppose all these creatures of the sea, partially penned up as
they are, have a message for us who have been in double harness for
so long a time. Marriage does put us on restrictions united to love
and responsibility. We don’t fly or sail entirely free after
the ‘I do’ is said, but how blessed it is to look back and
see the accomplishment of pulling together.

And certainly a great thankfulness fills our hearts to think we
are blessed by still being together. Several women friends of mine
are widows. And our four boys and two girls are all happily married
and there are seven grandchildren.

To be in a city, which with all the outlying district totals
nearly 3,000,000 people now, is a far cry from the environs which
surrounded the country kids we were back in the early years after
1909 and 1910. How absurd a cream separator running or our
fly-netted horses pulling a load of feed to town would look in
comparison to these hectic freeways. And how about a steam engine
followed by a threshing machine? And yet how vividly we remember
all of this. How different the conditions amidst which the girls
here are growing up. And, of course as loving grandparents we are
concerned.

Perhaps the most cherished blessing of county living is
one’s time to be alone and under conditions where it is much
easier to think things through. And yet, here in this quiet home
set on a hill, with a beautiful patio hung out almost over the
street, one can be surprisingly alone. The neighbors seem not to
exist at all. The children in the playground across the street at
the rear of the house send their joyous clamor into the morning
air. Their enthusiasm is a contagious thing. We can see Gail
playing there and she waves to us. Cindy’s school is farther
away and she travels by bus.

So as we reflect on these past forty years we agree
wholeheartedly that the best thing of all is that God is looking
down on this area with the same loving concern with which He looks
down on us in Wisconsin. I seem to see Him shedding some tears over
all of us.

From the Arizona desert to the streets of L. A. man in his zeal
keeps building, building, building. And so he must to live. But
after all these forty years I pray we shall again see our spiritual
need above everything we build. May we ever pray that our continual
labor does not ultimately result in broken cisterns that hold no
water.

Farm Collector Magazine
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