Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's and Up and Down Eggs - Are YOU Carrying Your Part of the Load?

Excerpts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, published January 1, 1953 in the Collinville News. 

"Kathleen, my small granddaughter, says she gets to "pick the
down eggs" and we "pick the ueggs." When she saw I was puzzled by "up and down eggs" shexplained that, since she could noreach the high nests, she would gather the ones in the lower nests while we did the others.
How wise and happy she is without realizing it
How few of uare willing to do the "down" work willingly? How many are resentful of those who have the "up" nests as though the higher nests - or eggs - were any better than those lower down!

And thereby hangs my NeYear's thought. 

What is the only difference between high and low? Physical stature in Kathleen's in case; mental and spiritual capacity in all our cases. It is up to us whether we think high or low and are willing to do our part. . . . .
It is hard for us to realize that we count as individuals,that there has never been before in the world's history a "you" or "me" and that never again will an exact "me" or "you" be born.
Each person is unique. . .
We may not any of us be "indispensable" but it is harder to say which little drop of water added to an already full bowl would
make it overflow.  None is independent of the other and yet each is necessary to make up the whole.
It is said that in a republic, "self-government has always depended
upon six elements of personal character. First, self-reliance; second, personal responsibility; third, thrift; fourth, courage; fifth, individual initiative; and sixth, and most important, faith."
These six essentials of personal character have produced our great
American country.
Now at the beginning of the New Year, it is equally good to renew our character for the year's end and as the new year approaches.
First, let us be self reliant enough to reach up, to look up, and yet at the same time feel responsibility for our own talents, our own growth at our present level
Kathleen is at her level. She is thrifty, too, holding all the eggs she gathers securely in both hands and placing them carefully in the bucket so as not to break any. She has the courage to try, the individual eagerness to beg to go along and help; and supreme faith that while she is doing a perfect job now, some day she will be a "big gurl" who can reach up into the very top nests do her part, and receive even greater responsibility and reward.
When we have finished, she insists on helping to carry the heavy
bucket of eggs to the house, helping to carry her part of the load.

Do you?   Will you?  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Season of Advent - Christmastide or Christmas-tied?

Excerpts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow published December 1, 1960 in The Collinsville News. 

". . . The word "advent" means the corning of the arrival.
In the Christian calendar, the period of Advent is that which includes the four Sundays just before Christmas, the time of the coming of Christ.
This year (1960) all of the Sundays will lead up to the last which is Christmas Day, itself. Advent is designed to bring us to Christmas "on our knees" and only by keeping it a true Advent can we know the true meaning of Christmas. . . .
The first thing to get ready for Christmas is our own hearts  -  we should always decide,
 . .  Christmas fills a large place in our lives. With each recurrence brings a wave of good feeling and friendship that makes the air softer and warmer and ;puts new happiness into our hearts. . . .
 You decide whether our Christmas will be Christmastide or Christmas-tied.  . . . "

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The "Grateful" Camp Giving Thanks this Thanksgiving

Excerpts takes from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, published in The Collinsville News, November 22, 1951.  

Mrs. Morrow's son was in combat in Korea at the time of this writing. He had returned from WWII only to be called back in for military action in Korea.  

". . . .Thanksgiving time is here again and I think this year more than since the last war, folks in the United States are divided into . . .  camps:  the Thankful and the Worried.  

In the Thankful Camp are those whose hearts are full to bursting with gratitude and thanksgiving since we are blessed above all people on earth. Our cities are not being bombed, our crops have not been destroyed . . . 

In the Worried Camp are we whose dear ones are away at war again and we might well ask the question, "How can we have Thanksgiving this year when our country and the whole world is plunged so deep in another war . . . . 

". . . The Boy saw the last of  the Heartbreak Ridge and Bayonet Ridge actions and in a recent letter 
says, "We have our fox holes fixed up pretty well; we get two hot meals a day; we are as safe here behind these barbed wire entanglements as we are at home-well almost, anyway." . . .

So, as Thanksgiving comes on I am, at first thought, not very happy.  Then I console myself that he survived the active combat, that I have the health to go to that work every day. I live daily amid the beauty and blessings of our fruitful countryside now resting and peaceful. I have seen the trees arrayed in their frocks of rust, gold, red and brown. How lovely the harvest moon so clear and cold and the radiance of the stars that seem to hang lower than at any other time of the year! . . . 

As Thanksgiving Day comes on, it should make us all so humble and grateful! . . .There is nothing which sustains one more powerfully than the ability to recognize in one's every day life, the beauty of the commonplace."  

It Took a Woman to Make Thanksgiving "official"

Excerpt taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, published in The Collinsville News, November 24, 1949.  

". . .  As years passed, the idea of an American Thanksgiving for harvests spread, however it was never held the on same day, nor even in the same month. There are nine recorded instances of the colonies declaring Thanksgiving holidays before the Revolutionary War; on eight occasions during the War, the Continental Congress set aside special days of Thanksgiving,  although these were in gratitude for victories won by the ragged, hungry American Army, not like the Pilgrim's holiday.
In 1789, however, Washington officially declared Thursday, November 26, as the a day of general Thanksgiving throughout the newly formed union. 
It took a woman, though, to put the final touch into making the day a national holiday. Mrs. Sarah J. Hale, editor of Ladies' Magazine, began her campaign later. as editor of Godey's Lady's Book, (Ladies' Home Journal to us) her insistence was rewarded by President Lincoln naming the fourth Thursday of November as the official time. . . ." 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Did you know about the five grains of corn for Thanksgiving?

Excerpt taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, From The Collinsville News, November 24, 1949.  

". . . So we are thankful-traditionally; so we are thankful-sincerely.  . An early custom that would not be amiss even today was that of putting five grains of corn at each place around the table as a . .  . reminder that during the first bitter winter at Plymouth, the food of the Pilgrims was so depleted that only five grains of corn were rationed to each one at a time. Most of them were ill and half
of them died, yet when the Mayflower returned to England in the Spring, only the sailors were aboard. 
It meant something to be an American then. It stilI does to most of us . . ." 

Be Thankful this Thanksgiving! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Initiative - What would you wish for if you were given three wishes?

Excerpts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" published January 14, 1960, in The Collinsville News, Collinsville, Ok.

". . . In the folklore of most people of the world we come across one version or another of the legend of the three wishes.

An aging couple, we are told, were presented with their choice of three wishes. Did they wish for youth, for health, or for security?
No, they wished for none of these things. The husband wished for a pudding. The wife, flushed, with anger at the thoughtlessness of such a wish, wished the pudding on her husband's nose. All
of this left them about where they started.

Most of us have three wishes that sound somewhat like this: one for rest, one for more time to meditate, and one for an opportunity for self improvement.  . . .

Given three wishes, I've just about decided they are best carried out every day instead of trying to reach for the stars and scorning or neglecting earthly daily things.

Given three wishes . . . I find that the initiative lies with me - that I must decide what I want--whether a pudding, a pudding on someone else' nose, or what. Then I must set about getting it -- daily, patiently and pleasantly.

Given three wishes, what would you wish for?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Your vote DOES make a difference!

Excerpts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain County Woman"  January 1, 1953.  The Collinsville News.

" . . .During the recent election, the individual was urged to get out and vote; the individual was stressed as being important;''a single vote was shown to have; thrown the majority to the winning
side on a few occasions, and that that single vote might be yours or mine.
It is hard for us to realize that we count as individuals-that there has never been before in the world's history a "you" or "me" and that never again will an exact "me" or "you" be born. Each person is unique. . . .
We may not any of us be "indispensable" but it is harder to say which little drop of water added to an already full bowl would make it overflow.  None is independent of the other and yet each is necessary to make up the whole. . . ."

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Halloween "Jack-o-Lantern" Part III

Excepts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, pulished on November 4, 1954 in The Collinsville News.  

". . . . .Older than any of these prophecy games was the "tricks or . treats" custom. Seems that on Hallowe'en, peasants went about the countryside, demanding contributions of farmers in the name
of a Druid God. If the farmers were generous and "treated" all was well, but if not "tricks" were performed on him; after a good night's haul, the peasants were loaded with potatoes, butter, eggs, turnips and such "gifts".
Although there were no pumpkins in Ireland in those days, the turnip was hollowed out, a live coal placed within, thus making a lantern. The pumpkin came to be used in America and the "Hallowe'en symbol" was called "Jacko-Lantern" from a spirit named "Jack" who was not allowed in either Heaven or Hades because of a trick he once played on Satan. On Hallowe'en he wanders over the earth with his strange lantern. 

The same night in the Roman Catholic church is called "All Soul's Eve" or "Hallowed Evening"; so after the missionaries converted the Druids, the Christian world adopted the pagan festival days as

a time for fun and celebration.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween "Spooks" Part II

Excepts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, pulished on November 4, 1954 in The Collinsville News.  

". . . . Accordingly, many peasants of Scotland and Ireland followed a Hallowe'en custom of waving pitchforks full of burning straw in the air, hoping to chase away evil spirits and set on fire the brooms
of any witches flying past.
It was common for European races to believe in witches, hence the peasants of Ireland, Scotland and England taught their children how witches mounted on brooms with black cats behind them, would sometimes fly through the night on their way to a "Witches' Sabbath" or revel. 
These witches, fairies, good and evil spirits, were supposed to be able to foretell the future, so it was natural that on this night of spirits, games of fortune telling should become a part of Hallowe'en.
Nuts and apples were used ih these games, hence our bobbing for apples in a tub of water. On the apple, if you succeed in getting one, will be name of your future husband or wife!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Halloween Origins

Excepts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, pulished on November 4, 1954 in The Collinsville News.  

"Tricks or Treat!" When you hear that demand at your doorstep on Hallow'en, and a troop of small goblins, ghosts, and lively skeletons wait in the misty autumn night, you are listening to a challenge believed to have first been made more than 2,000 years ago.
It originated in good old Ireland, the same country that gave us St. Patrick's day. Not generally known is the fact that Halloween, especially in its prankish and mischief-making ways, was first brought to America by Irish immigrants over a century ago.
A frosty fall night when ghosts are abroad in the land, when strange things happen, when jacko'-lanterns grin down on apple-ducking parties, Hallowe'en dates back to the mysterious primitive
time of the sun-worshiping-Druids.
Long, long ago on the night of October 31, the Druid medicine men lighted great bonfires which reflected in the night sky over mist-covered hills and valleys of Ireland. As Ireland was the last strong
hold of Druid priests, who practiced their ceremonies in the oak forests of the countryside, it was there that the bonfires burned brightest on the Day of the Dead, a festival associated with the dying of the summer season.
Those bonfires served several purposes. They paid tribute to the spirit who, on October 31, sent souls of many of the dead into a Druid heaven. They honored the all powerful Sun-God who was now being thanked for a bountiful autumn harvest, and they also helped to drive off evil spirits that might be abroad. . . . .

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fair Time

Except taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, September 12, 1948 in The Collinsville News.

"There is an atmosphere of romance surrounding fairs, for they, like the Fourth of July, revive memories of family gatherings; whether the fair is one of today's modern affairs where everyone arrives in a motor vehicle, or one of by-gone days when whole families, cramped from the long ride since sun-up, clambered out,
over the wagon wheels, from the straw packed wagon bed, the interests center about the same exhibitions;
men, naturally gravitate to the sheds and tents where new fangled models of brightly painted implements stand; the women gather around the results of their prowess with cooking, canning, baking equipment to compare and judge for themselves why this pan of
rolls received the coveted ribbon instead of that one, or why one can of pickles was given a higher award than another. 
Another section in the hall of arts that interests women is the rainbow display of needlework from their nimble fingers."

Note:  Wouldn't Mrs. Morrow have been overwhelmed - and probably very impressed - with the thousands that attend the hugely popular State Fairs of today?  Designed to be much more than local competitions, they are a place to inform and amaze consumers about new products and services.  And, of course, the massive amusement rides are complemented by decadent foods only to be found and consumed at the "State Fair."  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Teachers - What Keeps Them Going

Except taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, August 28, 1960,  in The Collinsville News.

"One of the teacher's constant tasks is to take a roomful of live wires and see that they are properly grounded.
This does not mean that the child's personality is submerged, that his individuality is squelched, that his independence is conquered. It does mean that his personal powers are discovered and directed into creative and productive activities to be used the rest of his
life for both livelihood and pleasure.
It does mean that the teacher may direct his thinking into channels of responsible living, a critical examination of himself and his work and of our national and international situation.
The pendulum in education is swinging back again into the theory that thinking is called a duty. No amount of gadgets will free us of our need to think. . . .
This is the challenge of the dedicated teacher. Our job is big and important and worthwhile. 
With all the patience, and sometimes impatience, with all the petty annoyances, and little triumphs, we see the power that we have when we plant the first seeds in young minds that will grow and reach out to better the world of the future.
What a challenge to teachers to know that the future businessmen,
w r it e r s , parents, teachers. and politicians, among whom will be the future presidents of the United States, are sitting in front of them,  every day listening to and absorbing whatever ideas they 
give them!"

Note:  Ms. Morrow taught 4th grade at Washington Elementary during the 1950'a and 1960's and held students to high standard. She was demanding but fair and challenged each child to reach their full potential.  She was my 4th grade teacher in 1957-58.  Source:  Dr. Kathleen Morrow, grand-daughter.  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September - Is it the seventh month? or the ninth month? Oh my goodness, how things do change!

Except taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, September 16, 1954 in The Collinsville News. 

"According to the calendar on our desks, September is the ninth month of the year. That is because, we, like everyone else, use what is called the Gregorian calendar.  It is a little confusing, though, because the word "September" really means "seventh member of the year" in Latin.
It really was the seventh month until Julius Caesar decreed the reform of the calendar, took a day f'rom February and named it for himself. Then Augustus Caesar, not to be outdone by Uncle Julius, took another day from February, and named his month August.
So when they and Pope Gregory got done with September, it was in ninth place, although its name said seventh place." 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor Day - A balance in our workplace with freedom in the marketplace

Except taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman," Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, published August 30, 1951 in The Collinsville News.  

"I remember my first Labor Day and at the time wondered what it was all about. I recall. too, what was then called "walking delegates", men who went from job to job in the district to oversee labor conditions and check illegal practices. They always seemed to be big, burly fellows and we children were afraid of them as
they stood for strife and always seemed to have a chip on their shoulders.
Labor was just beginning: to make itself heard in those days. Nowadays, when Labor has become so powerful that it is the tail trying to wag the dog, instead of the other way around, we must seek a safe balance of industry for both producer and consumer. We do not ever want to lose our free enterprise system and be like Socialist England where a man dare not sell even an onion that does not meet government measurements and weights or where a woman dare not have chicken for Sunday dinner without government permission.  
We want good protection for labor and we shall have gone a long way toward solving the problem of war if we scatter the seeds of free enterprise and good labor laws to the far corners of the earth where millions are still enslaved to the tyranny and power of a few rich overlords. But let's keep watchful, lest we let, our own government get more and more power to tell us what to raise, how to buy and sell against our own good judgment-we are in danger of losing our precious possession."  

* * * *

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Happiness Comes Through a Door. . . .

Excerpts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" published in The Collinsville News, April 17, 1947

"A recent honor that would have seemed unbelievable ten years ago has come to me: honorary membership in the national women's journalism fraternity, Theta Sigma Phi   "for journalism directed to the country woman".
It is like John Barrymore said of happiness which so often comes thru a door you didn't know you'd left open.
Imagine my surprise . . . "

Friday, May 23, 2014

History of Memorial Day - Gen. John A. Logan

Except from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow published in The Collinsville News, May 27, 1948.

"I have often wondered when and by .whom Memorial Day was originated and when I read that it was started in the South, I began to investigate, for I had always supposed it was originally northern custom.  I find that I was declared a national holiday on May 5, 1868, by General John A. Logan, Commander of the G. A. R..  May 30 "was for the greater part of the nation, to become the "Day of  Remembrance", a day to honor the dead, not the living nor the conquerors."
There are many legends, disputes, and a few facts as to the origin of the custom, and Carbondale, Ill., home of John A Logan, rightly claims the first honor.  Strange as it may seem, this story, too, is accepted as authentic.   

The southern women of Charleston, South Carolina, a Confederate state, were inspired by the deaths of northern men, union men to observe the first Memorial Day on the same day that Lincoln's body lay in state in Chicago. The tragic death of Lincoln, culminating four years of grief, death, and burials in both north and south, the slow progress of his funeral train from \Washington to the prairies of Illinois so crystalized the hysteria of a nation that when the proclamation to honor the dead came,  Memorial Day burst from the people, spontaneously. "

NOTE: Further research shows that "John Alexander Logan (February 9, 1826 – December 26, 1886) was an American soldier and political leader. He served in the Mexican-American War and was a general in the Union Army in the American Civil War. He served the state of Illinois as a state senator, congressman and senator and was an unsuccessful candidate for Vice President of the United States with James G. Blaine in the election of 1884. As the 3rd Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, he is regarded as the most important figure in the movement to recognize Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day) as an official holiday.  Source: