Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another year comes and another year goes. . .

Excepts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman"  December 29, 1946

"Another year goes. Another year comes. The days of the one that passed will seem exactly like the days
of the one that is to come except that it is our man-made way of giving ourselves a new start, another chance.

And it is well, for all life and nature run in cycles-a beginning, a maturity, and a close; the mistakes and failures of yesterday are off-set by the opportunities of today and the hopes of tomorrow."  . . . 
So this is my New Year's resolution:
To try to live today well,
"To be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, babies and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never:  in a word,  to let the spiritual,unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common."


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

We are the "commoners", we are the shepherds

Excerpt taken from "Just Thoughts of A Plain Country Woman"  December 25, 1947

". . . During the war when we sent packages overseas months ahead of time, we thought that victory and war's end would stop all our worries, that peace would be the greatest thing in the world. 
Of course, our first thought was to stop the killing and crippling of our sons and daughters but we still do not have peace.

Even as we have prepared for Christmas, Peace on Earth Good Will to Men, the ministers of the world's goverments have sat and wrestled long and hard to solve the problems of peace.  They may be likened to the wise men of the Nativity who in their learning and wisdom have tried to worship
Him, whereas we common people are like the shepherds who have seen the, vision and have worshipped Him in our simpler ways since we all want peace. . . . 
What can we - the common people, the Shepherds, do to bring peace?

We can do as those others did;  they "made known the glad tidings of a Baby born"  in answer to their many, many years of prayer for one "Who should save them from their persecutions;"  they were lifted in the knowledge that they, common shepherds, had been chosen to see the glory and tell the world of the Baby born in a manger to ordinary people of their world.
dignity and personality of every man, not just wise, rich, powerful men, were glorified, and out of that sense of man's personal value has come down to us here in America  -- our most precious heritage.    

Friday, December 6, 2013

"If the ice will bear a man before Christmas. . . ."

Excepts from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" January 20, 1946.
Weather observation predictions - fun to see if it holds true this year!
"As one who watches the weather, this Christmas weather had a fairly good forecast for the coming year's weather. 
If the ice will bear a man before Christmas, it will not bear a mouse afterward; a green Christmas makes a fat grave yard; a warm Christmas gives a cold Easter. 
I'm going to watch that one about the ice, the man, and the mouse, for the ice before Christmas was strong enough to bear cattle up until they went too far out, broke through and drowned. Then that one about "Storms follow the setting of a brilliantly white sun" or the presence of "sun dogs" means cold weather, or creaking snow underfoot, clear weather, all are based upon real truth, I find. Many times I've noticed that thunder in February is really followed by frost or very cool in May."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ice storms and the Windmill

Excerpts from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman", 

"While the windmill was always a machine of supreme concern to us in summer when cattle need such quantities of cool, refreshing water, it was a double care in winter when water is a necessity and freezing is a certainty in very cold weather.
During a prolonged storm when the legs, steps, mill and all were sheathed in ice, or hanging in icicles, we almost held our breath for fear the sucker rod would break in the high wind or a bolt would need to be replaced in the uppermost spot and someone must needs climb it to make the repairs. On such night, the last chore was to make sure that the windmill was turned off and safe.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What a Baby Does

Excepts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" January 6, 1949

"What a Baby Does . . . .

A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bank roll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for."

Notes added by Dr. Kathleen Morrow, grand-daughter:  As I write this blog notation, I am in celebration of  the birth of my first grandchild, Clark Anderson Scott, son of Alisson-Leigh Morrow Anderson and Luke Anton Scott.  How delighted I was to see my child and her husband carry on the tradition of naming their child with old family names.  While it is certainly true that my nights have grown longer and my days and bank roll shorter, this young man has certainly made the future worth living.  I can hardly wait to see this boy take his place in our family heritage as he grows into his own as a loving, honest, compassionate and thinking and competent individual with much to contribute to society.  I wish him love and success and always a happy home.  God Speed and Welcome Clark!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Indian Summer - That Magical Time of the Year

Excerpts from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman"  November 7, 1946.

"There comes a times in every autumn when the nights are chill and clear, the days still, crisp, and golden with purple mists and all nature seems to be resting or waiting. These are signs of "Indian Summer,"  not a season, but definitely a pause in nature called by
the American pioneers, "Indian Summer," because they thought the peculiar purple haze was caused by the Indians burning prairies.

Scientists scorn the lovely traditions and superstitions surrounding
Indian Summer both here and in England and France where it is called St. Martin's Summer; in Germany, where these serene days are known as Old Wives' Summer and in South America where it is named St. John's Summer.

These cold scholars who presented such explanations as "stagnated

high-pressure areas," "collected and suspended smoke" or "minute
floating particles of dead vegetation" are the same ones who say Jack Frost has nothing to do with leaves changing color, or set about scientifically telling how, when frost bites the leaves, it actually kills them instead of painting them. They tell what makes the aspens, hickory, birch, locust, pawpaw, and poplar turn to gold
while other chemicals, sugar, light and drought produce the gorgeous flags of summer. 
Nevertheless, "when all the homesick Injuns come back to play and their spirits march

along and dance in the sunlight, that's what makes that kind o' haze. That smoky smell is the campfires a-burnin' and their pipes a-goin'.

"Jever notice how the leaves turn red 'bout this time o' year? That's
.when an old Injun spirit gits tired dancin' an' goes up an' squats on a leaf to rest. An' ever once in a while a leaf gives way under some old fat Injun ghost an' comes floatin' down to the ground. 
See, here's one now.  See how red it is? That's war paint rubbed off'n Injun ghost sure's you're born!"  .
"Purty soon all the Injuns'll go marchin' away again, back to the
'happy huntin' ground, but next year you'll see 'em troopin' back -- the sky jest hazy with 'em and their campfires smolderin' away jest like they are now." "
Notes added by Dr. Kathleen Morrow - When I was very small and walked or drove with my grandmother the leaves fell and she would say, "See! Did you see that ol' Injun just fall down?"  I would rush to pick up particularly large leaf and examine it carefully for any signs of "an o' Injun".  Then she would say, "Well, he was too quick for you.  You'll have to catch the leaf next time before he gets away." 
I can only find one source for the piece quoted.  Published in the Enderby Press and Walker's Weekly, November 2, 1916  located in British Columbia, Canada.  I am assuming that she used the piece in literature classes with her students during her early teaching years following her graduation from The University of Chicago in 1917. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The many moods of Indian Summer

Excerpts from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman"  October 6, 1949

Indian summer is one of Nature's soft and changing moods that seemingly comes over night after a day of oppressive heat, followed by a sudden shifting of the wind to the north and a violent storm.
Nature seems to be trying to rid itself of the final, clinging
day of heat and direct sunlight to rejoice in the cool briskness of the
morning, relax in the brilliance and warmth of the noonday sun and snuggle into the comfort of warmer clothes and a small fire to dull the chill of the shortening days and crisp autumn sunset. 
. . . . Indian summer and Autumn, too, are a time of maturity,  fulfillment, and understanding. I have learned the meaning of those words of a man named St. Paul: "Having done all, stand," which means simply do the best you can. Give a situation all the energy both physical and mental of which you are capable. Leave no stone unturned, then there is no use fretting, worrying about, it, therefore "stand"; it will work out in due time.