Wolves and Bears

With it being Sunday morning, my first duty was to head off to my quiet corner so to get another much-needed spiritual workout completed after this past week’s crazy happenings. I spent far more time at it because of all the voices and visuals I had to place in perspective and then archive it all for possible future reference. The alignments of the moon and stars must’ve had something to do with those many off-the-wall happenings. Oh well, I got thru it and that’s all that counts.

Of course we had another repeat of the wind today, and what was coming out of the north was exceptionally biting. While working outdoors nearly the entire morning, I had to wear my favorite insulated plaid shirt, a winter work jacket, along with a stocking hat to keep from getting chilled. I ended up with six lawn bags full of pine cones and needles, and still about three more to go. I would’ve had them completely cleaned up but I ran out of bags and didn’t want to run off to buy any because of the trampish way I looked. Even though there’ve been times when I wasn’t recognized, It would’ve been just my luck to run into a client or customer who did.

While on a little break, I called one of my dear ones to pass along a few tidbits of information I discovered, along with sharing my anger with some of my colleagues in real estate who enjoy using emojis instead of texting which I think is the silliest of things, and the ones I despise the most, are the “thumbs-up” emojis which are not in my book being what most think they are. Believe it or not, back when I was young a 100 years ago, giving someone such a hand and thumb signal, was considered a vulgar insult. I won’t even say what it meant back then, but it didn’t mean what Nero used it for in Roman times. In spite of my dear one’s age, he didn’t know it ever being used in an insulting way, which was likely another cultural difference between our families. All I said was, “There are still cultural differences alive and well, and if you decide to travel Middle and Northern Europe, you wouldn’t want to make such a gesture in public because you may have a fight on your hands.” I even went on to mention how we as children were chastised for pointing our index fingers at people, because that too was considered degrading. Some of my own family members would do it to others as long as my mother wasn’t watching. Isn’t it funny how just about anything goes in these times?

When talking about such hard and fast rules within a household, another verboten thing to do, was to have a radio or television on whenever visitors were at our home which I felt at the time quite appropriate. Look how far we’ve come to where people have their televisions on when even first-time visitors arrive. Yes, I’ve acclimated to being in sellers homes with their televisions blaring, but I continue to ask them to turn them off while I’m taking photos.

As many hours I spent at my grandmother’s house, she’d not turn on her television while I was there unless it was the evening news or 60 Minutes. Yes, those cultural standards were very much adhered to, along with being hard-coded into our young minds. I’m wondering now if having all those peripherals going on while young, have created all the more attention deficit adults. I’m afraid there’s been expert studies done regarding it, but fearful of releasing their results due to some overly-sensitive mindsets in our midst.

With camera in hand, I took a little break around noontime and went walking in the countryside and managed to take the above photo which I found to be a little on the creepy-cool side. Whenever being in such places, it gives a person the feeling of being in an uncharted territory where there are still wolves and bears lurking in the shadows.

Perhaps after recently paging thru a written history of Worth County and coming to the conclusion there being no question in my mind, those first settlers had one heck of a hard time just staying alive. If I’m not mistaken, that County’s entire head count back in the 1860’s was hovering somewhere around 300. It’s no wonder farmers and town dwellers relied on each other to where it was always a give and take of helping when needed, and always getting it back whenever necessities arrived.

The more I think about it, all the greater I’m amazed at their ability to survive such hardships. Those fews roads were nothing but hardened clay and dirt stagecoach routes, and all others just muddy paths which were almost impassible during heaving rains, Spring thaws and deep snow. There wasn’t any running to town for something frivolous because even traveling a distance of ten miles by horse or oxen was a full day’s trip.

Have you ever wondered why so many of our first homesteaders did their build-outs near rivers and streams? Well, they had to because the drilling of wells hadn’t yet been perfected which meant they had to make daily trips to those shorelines to get water, and if they had livestock, such natural water sources were a must for their fenceless herds.

I’ve always thought it would be fun to spend an entire day at that “copied” village from the 1850’s – 1860’s here in Iowa. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anything about it on Iowa Public Television, but do hope they still have it going because that would be a good learning experience for our youngsters. I’ll have to dig out my 1870’s cookbook which I purchased at auction a number of years ago and share a few of its recipes. While paging thru it, there were some ingredients called for which I haven’t a clue what they are. Oh, and it even gives instructions on “candling” jars and salting down meat. Believe it or not, my grandmother used to talk about how they’d have to salt down beef or pork in wooden kegs from animals they’d recently butchered. Yes, their lives had to have be filled with near non-stop physical work. I’m already tired after writing about it.

Tonight’s one-liner is: There are pretenders to piety as well as to courage.

Joe Chodur

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