Most of the readers of this column are probably aware that the writer recently made a brief sashay in politics. As this is written ballots over the state are being counted and in a few hours the suspense will be over, the victor will be applauded.
It was a varied and interesting experience to sit in the state headquarters and assist in a statewide campaign. To sleep until 7 or 7:30 o’clock in the morning. To eat three meals each day without having one thing to do with their preparation, never have to wash a dish, although every day the help wanted columns in the daily papers advertised for dishwashers and waitresses. To have a hot bath every day. Never once did I make my bed.
For the first time in my life I had a secretary and dictated letters. She was a kindly, patient person and usually put in commas and periods where they were needed. She kept a dictionary at her elbow and we both used it frequently.
On the other hand I saw the sun rise only once while I was away. That was one morning when it was necessary to catch an early morning train. One could tell that the sun was shining by the reflection on the buildings across the street. Not until midday could it be seen in the little slice of sky visible from Kansas Avenue. Only once were my feet set upon the ground. That was when friends took me to the country for dinner.
I was never more chilled than when the first cold spell of the season come along and the hotel furnace was not in working order. Repairs had been ordered for weeks. When they came there was no plumber to put them in place. Everyone shivered and went to bed to keep warm. The first cold snap may arrive before the farm heating stove is set up and the stove pipe in place Yet one can always send the children to gather a few chips from the wood yard or a basket of cobs from the pigpen and start the kitchen range. If the oven door is opened all the family can gather round and get warm. One doesn’t do that in a steam heated hotel room.
Every eating place which we patronized has curtailed its services in the past six weeks. This was due to the inability to get help. Food prices are higher than in small towns and of only mediocre quality. On one day not a needle could be purchased in Topeka. All stores have green and hence inefficient help. Customers are learning to buy what is on hand even though it may not be exactly what they want. Everyone seemed to have money in his or her pockets. However, one could observe the strained look on the face of more than one mother when the first of the month came and she was trying to stretch a pre-war salary check over bills incurred at War-time prices.
If any of you on the farm feel that town folk get all the breaks, I beg you to thank the kind Providence that you can see the sun rise and set, pictures every day that no artist can reproduce. You can tread the good earth and gather fresh warm eggs from the nests in the chicken house. You can bake nut-like home made bread which has a certain something no bakers’ products possess. By your own labors you can produce at least half of the family living. And above all you can breathe the fresh pure air that blows over these Kansas prairies.