The Ladies Page

COUNTRY ECHOES


| September/October 1971



Brandon Wisconsin R R-2 Zip-53919

The bright-eyed smile that greeted us from the front cover of the July-August issue of IRON MEN ALBUM has stayed with me since the arrival of the magazine. Surely here was a man who had a great anticipation into age. Anna Mae's tribute is an excellent piece of writing. She covered, so well, the spirit of a dedicated man, with an earthly goal, yes, even several of them , and yet one knew upon meeting him, that eternal things were of the utmost importance to him. Elmer Ritzman was a WHOLE man, 'thoroughly furnished unto all good works.' II Timothy 3:17.

It has been my privilege to meet another lady of this caliber just two weeks ago. This year the National Federation of State Poetry Societies held their meeting at Edgewood College in Madison. Now there was only one drawback to my going. I do not enjoy driving in Madison. It took some extra prayer to give me the courage to start on my way. The traffic was not too heavy on that Wednesday. I was into the city within an hour and a half. But then I ran into a detour on Regent Street. A DETOUR IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL THAT TRAFFIC! My heart sank into my shoes. I couldn't stop anywhere, for there was no place to stop. Finally I crawled into a parking lot to think, asked a man some questions, but he was from out of town as well. So, mustering all my courage I started back into the melee. If I could find University Avenue I thought I could find the place I was going.

Between a Standard Station attendant, and one old gentleman who was screaming his displeasure at the neighbor children, I finally found Edgewood College. What a peaceful place in the midst of bedlam! I drove into this haven of rest with a deep sigh of gratitude. I had been in Madison an hour before I reached my destination. I had begun to wonder why I had come. The next morning I woke up half sick. By that evening I was considering going home. I thought I would attack those city streets at five A.M. But by the time five A.M. arrived I was feeling better.

It was the evening of that day that I met Ruth Mary Fox, and I began to appreciate why all the struggle. Here was another saintly bright-eyed elderly person who literally took me under her wing. She gave me more encouragement on my poetic road than I have had for years. Here was a Professor Emeritus of Humanities who asked to buy one of my few remaining poetry books. Her comments were the most exhilarating thing I had encountered in years of toil and frustration.

This lovely lady of letters invited me to her apartment, and even showed me her library. I have an invitation to 'spend a day or two with her soon.' She has been the teacher of thirty thousand students at the University there and her knowledge of literature surely must be most comprehensive.