Tuesday, January 31, 2012

KEEP A STIFF UPPER-LIP; A Woman From Minnesota; 1931

There's so much talk nowadays about hard times that it would be really discouraging if we listened and believed all we hear. Are we as bad off as we like to make believe? Don't most of us have three meals a day, shelter, decent clothing, and a car?

Certainly we don't have as much as we would like to have, and we don't make the money we did while the war was going on, but after every war there's a period of unrest, lower prices, and less buying. It costs money, much money, as well as lives, to win a war, and the people have to pay in taxes to make this up. Most of us know little about really hard times such as the people of European countries are having, or even those of our own cities. They are much worse off than we are.

So let's not go around with long faces, talking of "hard times." Let's keep a stiff upper-lip, make over our old clothing for the children, save where we may, without sacrificing the health of the family, and help Friend Husband all we can. Let's do the best possible with what we have, and see what a happy home we can make.

Friday, January 27, 2012

THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD; by Winnifred J. Mott; 1935


They want to know my business in the old neighborhood.
They give advice about the things I shouldn't do--or should.
But all the while I sort of feel they mean it for my good.
And I can't get angry, somehow, at the old neighborhood!

They borrow--how they borrow! in the old neighborhood!
But when it comes to lending, they are, oh, so kind and good!
And they'll do a favor quicker than most anybody would--
For they feel an interest in me--in the old neighborhood!

There's a little world of sweetness in the old neighborhood.
And I wouldn't move away from it--no matter if I could.
Bless their hearts! I say sincerely. Bless their hearts with every good!
For with all my heart I'm grateful for the old neighborhood!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

FEET ON THE EARTH, Part 2 of 2; Dr. Poling; 1939

Greer is 125 miles from the railroad, and the mail comes in three times a week. The only telephone connection with the outside world is by courtesy of the Forest Ranger. I haven't seen a newspaper for five days and I am a little anxious concerning foreign affairs; but yesterday and again today I caught my legal limit of trout, and as I write, the Little Colorado is singing loudly just outside my window. Across the deep canyon, the towering yellow pines have marched right into the heart of the moon. The quaking aspens, sister trees to the white birches of New England, are spectral fingers in the silvery light. I am strangely content. One of the year-round residents, whose family built Greer's first cabin forty years ago, remarked when a visitor complained about the remoteness: "People who want their mail more than three times a week shouldn't come here anyhow."

Well, there are still some things more important than the news--which is, of course, saying a great deal. The men and women who cherish the pioneer traditions of America and who live on the soil--East, West, North or South--are at times a vivid reminder to those of us who come from the cities that a man's life "consisteth not in the things he possesseth." Sharlot M. Hall, who was born on a Kansas farm and who, when twelve years of age, rode a Texas pony behind the covered wagon of her parents down the Santa Fe trail to Arizona territory, has written this philosophy for life into a single, noble verse:

"Greatness is born of greatness,
And breadth of a breadth profound;
The old Antaean fable
Of strength renewed from the ground
Was a human truth for the ages--
Since the hour of the Eden-birth,
That man among men was strongest
Who stood with his feet on the earth."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

FEET ON THE EARTH; Part 1 of 2; Dr. Poling; 1939

We came to Greer, Arizona, ten minutes ahead of the thunderstorm that ushered in the 1939 rainy season. The little Mormon community, at an elevation of eight thousand feet on the shoulder of "Old Baldy" in Arizona's White Mountains, had been praying for this storm. Our arrival was accepted as a good omen. The lad who rode on the running-board of our over-loaded car and directed us to the commodious log cabin that was to be our August vacation home told us what the rain meant to vegetables, grass--and fishing. The latter was our chief concern but, knowing what the coming of seasonal rains means to the great Southwest, we were enthusiastic over the promise of bumper gardens and good grazing.

When we offered our guide the money we thought he had earned, he was embarrassed, but he definitely declined the coin. "No," he said, "that's all right. But if you need worms, I dig them--forty for 10 cents." Right there the West began!--no gratuities and a clear distinction between neighborliness and a reasonable charge for services rendered.

A little later the boy's father, who runs the general store, sold us a "fricassee chicken" for $1.25. He didn't figure the weight, and he apologized for the price. It took me back to my boyhood, when the neighbor who specialized in these same "fricassees" would say, "Twenty-five cents--and you catch her." To this day I have difficulty in figuring poultry values by weight, but that six-pound Mormon hen was worth the price.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A LESSON ON THANKFULNESS; JENKYNSVILLE, WISCONSIN; 1876


The tombstone reads:

Benjamin    1852-1876
Sarah           1854-1876
Rufus          1856-1876
Ella              1857-1876
Children of J. and H. Jenkyn

I found this tombstone at a very small church cemetery not far from my home. Not surprisingly, it made quite an impression on me. It reminds me that no matter how difficult I “think” my life might be some days, it has never come remotely close to this. For that I am very thankful.

I consulted Ancestry.com to see if I could learn anything about this family. I found that the parent's first names were John (b. 1805) and Hannah (b.1817) and they were both born in England. I was happy to find that they were the parents of six children all born in America. Kate was the oldest, born in 1849, and John their second child was born in 1850. Both Kate and John married and had children, so their parents were not alone.

Why did John and Hannah's youngest four children die (and likely at the same time?) I wish I knew, but the online sites do not contain any information about the cause. I hope to visit the local museum this summer (it is closed in the winter) to see if they have any information about this extremely sad event.

Let us all count our blessings. I'm sure we have many...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

WE WISH YOU HAPPY DAYS; January 1931

As old 1930 slips away and 1931 comes in, we'd like to break up our New Year's greeting to you into 365 parts, and for each morning of the next year wish you a "Happy New Day!"

When a good friend calls out to us, "Happy New Year," his wish seems rather large and therefore somewhat vague. It covers such a lot of territory. But if he said, "I wish you a Happy New Day," the thing wished for would not be too large to be within our grasp.  Moreover, we would feel that we could do something about it ourselves. It is not impossible to make one new day a happy one, but as for the whole of the coming year!--that seems altogether out of the question.

And when it comes to making decisions about correcting errors, and about making life and its labors count for better things in the home, on the farm, in the community, and in every other relationship, a resolution for a single day at a time seems so much more likely to be fulfilled than for a year at a time.

Day by day adjustment of life is so much easier--putting aside today's errors and tribulations at eventide, saving for tomorrow only the wisdom and joy gleaned today, entering upon the morrow with a fresh courage that is sufficient for the tasks that lie immediately at hand. There must be plans for more than a day ahead, of course, but the fulfillment of any plan, and of life itself, comes only day by day.

So we wish you a "Happy New Day" for each day of the new year. And to remind you daily of our wish we give you this bit of anonymous verse to fasten to your kitchen cupboard door where you may see it, every day:

I heard a voice at evening softly say,
   Bear not thy yesterday into tomorrow,
   Nor load this week with last week's load of sorrow.
Lift all thy burdens as they come, nor try
   To weigh the present with the by and by.
One step and then another, take thy way;
   Live day by day.