The time of summer Steam Engine Days has come and gone once again, and this year, somehow, I missed every one of them. At the time I am writing this there are still some being held. Could it be we will get to at least one, that is, together? For someone who likes to see the Old Steamers chugging away as much as I do, this seems regrettable.
It seems Yours Truly has not chugged so well herself this year but things are on the mend. The information from a varicose vein kept me most uncomfortable for a long time and then seemed to settle in a nerve or a muscle. All together there has been about six months of grabbing every available rest period on my back so that I could do what must be done. So, it seemed, it would not be the most advisable thing to spend hours on my feet visiting the Iron Horses at work, and at play.
One of the days when I was feeling a bit sorry for myself a wonderful surprise came through the mail. Someone had taken an interest in my wanting Wild Myrtle in my yard and sent me a nice root from their back yard. I have thanked them personally, but 'Thank you' again. It is growing very well. Next Spring will be a great time of anticipation to see it blossom. People can be so nice when they take time to be that way. It is these little things that take the rough edges off just a little.
Right now the last of our children who visited us are spending their third day on the road toward Idaho, and home for them. For two young children, six and eight, these can be long days. Just before they left I found a little red box, a so pretty one, and put the broken bits of colored glass from our kaleidoscope inside, secured it with a rubber band, and gave it to them, along with some other little 'hold in your hand things.' You wouldn't believe how happy they were with these. And you wouldn't believe what a warm feeling it left around my heart, a sort of parting comfort that helps to bridge the miles again.
It was a wonderful thing to have all six children back under our roof. For four days there were nine of us, for four days thirteen, and for two hectic, wonderful days there were seventeen people around our table. Threshing days were back again as Father steamed up the Minneapolis Engine and everybody had rides and pulled the whistle cord. That even helped drown out the teething baby who picked this particular time to cut his eye and stomach teeth. He didn't like anybody but his mama, and not even she too well. The last day the teeth were through and he felt much better.
We could all be seated around one table, on the front porch, as we still had Grandma Baber's old extension table in storage and it proved every bit as adequate as when the threshers came with their powerful rigs. The old snapshots were hauled out. Piano duets filled the house with music again. Password was the favorite game with our still naughty boys teasing our exasperated girls as they did in their growing-up years. In fact, one night when we took off to sleep in the barn, things were going so lively that the man of the house said, 'Really, Mother, do you think it is safe for us to go out of the house? We want a house left when we get back.'
I shook my head as well as he, and said, 'Goodness, Alfred, they're grown-up young men and women. We ought to be able to trust them now.' And believe it or not, nothing was broken, and even teething Brian stayed asleep through the uproar. But the next morning I learned that the future in-law who was here from New Jersey had gotten real peeved at our third son. They had nearly had their first fight in almost two years of courtship. I laughed right out loud.
'Good,' I said, 'I'm glad she has enough spunk to come up against you. Young Man.' But all was peaceful and calm next morning. Breakfast was simply hilarious as they reviewed the events of the previous night. The girls claimed that the boys were showing the words through the cupboard doors. They had them written on paper sacks they snitched from my kitchen drawer. It was all clean fun, but to us the office in the bam was a wonderfully quiet haven when things became too involved.
So, by car, four when back to Kansas, by camper, four went back to Idaho, and by plane four went back to New Jersey. What a far cry from the way we traveled in Steam Engine Days. As I remember it all it seems so incredible that in about three hours from the time we put them on the plane they would be a thousand miles from us again.
Watching these enormous jet airplanes lift off of the ground at the Milwaukee airport I felt a small shudder pass over me. To think of the power it takes to lift these tons and tons of varied material up from our troubled earth is overwhelming! And man with the imagination of his mind has done this. Then what of God's infinite power? Surely the surging flow of it should thrill us beyond all comprehension. And all man can do is riot and fight on this wonderful earth. If only all men could step into the will of God and be willing to be what God wants them to be what a transformation we would have in our world. And if only each father and each mother would build a good Christian home to bring up their children in, be it humble or grand, we would have no social problems.
You may say, 'Well that would be Utopia.' Yes, of course, that would be utopia, and what a wonderful state it would be. 'He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.' II Peter 3:9. God surely does not want us killing and fighting each other, we are His creation, and can become His children if we so choose. Let us all pray that God's power, rather than man's power shall rule us before we all destroy ourselves in hate.