Reunions and Road Trips
On an extended weekend to attend my 45th high school reunion in Rooks County, Kansas, we added a day in order to visit Jewell County. This is the land to which my mother’s father’s family immigrated from northern Germany and homesteaded in the 1860s. My maternal grandparents farmed there and I visited often as I grew up. The weekend was beautiful. The weather has been kind this summer with an abundance of rain, minimal severe weather and, for Kansas, moderate temperatures. This meant that fields remained green, ponds and lakes full, and late summer crops were looking very happy. It was twenty-four hours of peace and quiet.
Bringing the Past into the Present
- Outhouses, chamber pots and hauling buckets of water up the hill from the well for everything were lessons in conservation. Sometimes the cistern next to the house was full which made a small hand pump on the kitchen counter next to the sink usable, but not for drinking – ever.
- In winter, there was a pot belly wood stove in the living room at the base of the stairs that heated the entire house, sort of. Most of the time when it was really cold only the front room and kitchen were heated. The doors to the other parts of the house were opened just before bed and after we had changed into night-clothes near the stove, we scampered upstairs and snuggled into bed under comforters made from scraps of wool. I still have and use one of those comforters.
- In summer, air conditioning was opening the doors at night, sleeping on the screened in porch and electric fans.
- Everything we ate came from the farm or farms near by. As I recall sugar, seasoning and spices, and tobacco (for granddad), were the primary things purchased. I am sure there were other items, I just don’t recall.
The Good Life
- How to read the skies, seasons and the scent in the air for changes in the weather. The farmers almanac was almost a text book.
- Learning to “hear” the language of the horse in how her ears were poised. Also, to let her know by your voice and touch when you were passing behind. It only took one kick in my chest to remember this the rest of my life!
- Learning to respect moving parts of machinery and how to fill a tank of gas without setting off a spark. Stories of neighbor’s tragic outcomes were relayed to reinforce these kinds of lessons and instructions.
Perseverance and Adversity
Back to the Farm
I attended the 45th reunion of the Plainville High School, class of 1971 a few weeks ago. It was four days of clean air, green landscapes and a serious overload of memories. Good memories. Seriously, all good. At least now they are.
There were sixty-three in our graduating senior class and, although I have not actually counted, at least half were in my kindergarten class. That’s right, I attended 13 years of public school with the same core group of classmates. That includes most of the twelve who have passed on.
I was the youngest in the class all thirteen years, which was challenging for me socially but about right academically. Ours was and is a good group of people. We had good teachers who were varied in their methods which were discussed at the reunion. Some were strict, even “mean”, some were temperamental, others kind, yet challenging. We respected them all. The senior boys were especially respectful of a couple of the younger female teachers with great legs! For the most part we got along and although there were groups of friends, there were no serious clicks, at least not that I remember. I attribute that to the example of our elected class leaders and sponsors.
Oh of course we gossiped, had our moments of drama and even a bully or two, but the values of the day seemed to keep things civil and within a certain set of boundaries. Boundaries that were tested regularly and found to be sturdy yet flexible.
Seeds Work Without Much Awareness
Seeds Grow to Unexpected Harvests
Your Stonebridge Journey is formed by seeds planted in your life. You get to choose which seeds to water, cultivate, harvest or pluck up. Some should be discarded, but many are there waiting to be recognized and nurtured so they can come to fullness. There are seeds in your life that are waiting to become full harvests. Some of these are already for reaping, some have yet to sprout. With a bit of reflection, you will be amazed!
What one thing you are doing or have today that you recognize the seed from which it came? Please post your story in the comments below.