The Ladies Page


| November/December 1972


Very recently we took off on a Saturday morning for a one day trip. My mysteriously-minded husband wouldn't tell me where we were going. His stock-in-trade answer is always the same 'Don't you like surprises?' I gave him a stony wifely stare. Of course I like surprises that is sometimes. One thing I knew before we ever set wheel on the road. There must be a steam engine or two along the route we were to cover. There always are. But he still looked as though he was waiting for my answer. 'Oh sure,' I murmured companionably, 'but I like to know where I'm going too.'

In one of his out-of-the-way places we came to an unbelievable bridge. It was a dual purpose structure, very old, apparently, but still in daily use. On one side the train had a track crossing it, and right next to that ran our one way road. There was only a low divider between. But it was very evident that the train and a car were not to cross it simultaneously. A sign informed us, DO NOT CROSS WHILE TRAIN IS CROSSING. And when I saw that bridge I wasn't about to argue with that sign. I inwardly agreed to let the train have it all to itself. I'd gladly wait, any time. In fact I heaved a little sigh of thankfulness when we were safely across.

Definitely that bridge between Mosinee and Dancy belonged to an earlier era. I could visualize horses and carriages clopping and rolling across it on hot summer days. And I wondered what would have happened to a skittish horse and his unfortunate followers had a train come unexpectedly upon him. I will put this down as surprise No. 1.

Our next adventure was visiting a flea market with tables set up in the edge of a growth of pine. The sellers were waiting for their customers, comfortably seated in the shade. But it was mostly 'women's stuff' so we didn't stay long. I have enough 'women's stuff' now for another lifetime. One witty neighbor of mine commented that 'we spend the first half of our lives collecting so much stuff that it takes the second half of our lives to take care of it.' Is that truth, or is that truth, all you collectors?

As we drove on toward whatever we were driving toward, we were surprised again by the acres upon acres of blossoming potatoes between Merrill and Antigo. How could it be? That many potatoes? Who could possibly eat them all? The fields surrounded the houses in neat circles. All you would need is a five tined fork and a pushy foot an hour before dinner.