By Doris Schroeder
I do remember when I was young how I would look forward to my birthday. That would mean I could learn a few more new things and be a little more grown up. Isn’t that strange…now as I get older, I wish I could do some of the things I did when I was young.
When we lived on my grandparent’s farm for one year, I envisioned that if my Dad would get me a pony, I would be a cowgirl and I practiced riding around on Mom’s old broom. Well, he couldn’t afford one so I never learned to ride. In fact I never even got to ride until John and I were on our honeymoon in Manitou Springs, Colorado. He grew up riding and when he suggested it\, I, being young, thought it would be fun. His horse was high-spirited and the horse they gave me was Old Romeo, who could barely walk. I still did not become a cowgirl.
When my parents moved us to California when I was in the second grade, they told me all about the beauty of the state. I did enjoy all the colorful things I got to do but I missed Kansas. I always told all my friends and relatives about our wonderful state and I think they would have moved back with us if we had invited them.
When we moved back to Kansas, I absolutely loved the farm. We had two dogs named Shep and Spot that certainly were no help getting in the cows or pigs when they got out. Their redeeming quality, however, was that they would always listen to me with a rapt expression on their face and encouraged me to be whatever I wanted to be. I certainly appreciated that when I herded the cows on the wheat field. I would give talks and sing in whatever animated way I wanted to do and they would listen with wide eyes. I’m sure they wondered what I would do next!
One autumn all our barnyard cats died of pneumonia, at least I think that’s what it was. My Dad told me to bury them in back of the chicken house and so I did. I remember thinking you can’t just dig a hole and drop them in but all fifteen cats needed to have a funeral, and so we did. My 3-year-old sister Carol and our two dogs had to come to each funeral and sit and listen respectfully. I had won a Bible for learning 500 Bible verses and so I preached what I knew at each gathering. Then I made them sing “Jesus loves me!” because that’s about all they knew.
After the funeral we would make our way for some of Mom’s fresh baked goods in the big farm kitchen and our experience was complete.,
I think I’ve told you about my rained out birthday on the farm. The one year Mom had decided I could have a party, it rained…hard. We had made red and green Jell-o and I was super excited how pretty it was. Mom had made her luscious chocolate cake…my favorite of all the luscious things she made. I dreamed of my party, how much fun we would all have. It was to be the greatest thing of my life! But then it rained…and rained. Country roads without gravel would clog up the tires so of course, no one could come!
That was a big disappointment but we were used to those kind of things in the old days. We knew life was hard. We compensated for that by sitting around our farm table that evening and my folks would tell me all the stories I asked them to..
Life was super-simple in those days and pleasures were the very simple things we did. Since we only had a battery powered radio, we didn’t often get to even hear the news. Of course, we didn’t even know what a television was so we made our own entertainment. Sometimes my family and I would sing old hymns in the evening. Now, my Dad couldn’t really carry a tune but my Mom could. No ‘matter, we all san g with all the gusto we could manage! One evening my Dad actually gave me a compliment (a rare treat because you don’t want to get a “big head!) and it made me dream about the life to come.
Our treats in those days was to sit around the kerosene lamp and drink hot tea while my parents told their teaching experiences in their younger days. When my cousins or friends came over, we would play upstairs in the four empty bedrooms where the former family had left their bits of history lying around.
Our only touch with the outside world was the news Dad would bring home from his job in Hutch. The rare occasions the wall telephone would ring when the phone was working, was exciting.
Yes, it was disappointing that the rain spoiled my party but that was the usual way it was and I recovered. You didn’t give in to being sad, because life was still ahead of me and I had a lot to learn and do.
God has seen us through quite a few years and it has been a real joy to see some dreams come true. The greatest thing, however, was when I learned 500 Bible verses and accepted Christ into my life. Life has truly been a wonderful adventure.
Now, looking back, I can see some of the whys and wherefores that God has brought about and I know for a fact, that God has always known best. There is no other happiness as great as knowing that!
Doris welcomes your comments and can be reached at [email protected]