Mom’s Letters: 12-10-56

Sunday, 12-10-56

Dearest John,

Here is something that you will like. We went out on the front porch one
Sunday and took this picture. Only 5 of the 8 turned out good. David is learning
and will be doing better all the time.

We celebrated something today and had steak for dinner. Lyle’s had rib steak
for 39 cents so we got one. And the youngsters were so extra special today that
I broke all the rules and got them some ice cream. We went to morning meeting too, and they all sat very nicely.

Mike Miller is getting better so they are not going to even explore to find
out if it was the kidneys or bladder that was injured. He has stopped bleeding
and the pain has subsided. The petrol boy that drug him along on his bike was
relieved of his duties. He will come home from the hospital tomorrow, but have
to keep down quiet for awhile.

I enjoyed Mr. McNeil this morning. They announced that Mr. Fuller has a
program on the Kendallville station. I was in the nursery but Dorothy said that
it is a 15 minute program at 1:45 on Sundays. She told me after it was over:
I’ll try to listen next week.

Dean Cornell called today and asked about you. He said he would try to see
you when you were home during vacation.

the Bill McPhersons are out of service now and home until Feb. when he wants
to go to Ann Arbor to school to be a Physicist – he has aspirations of being a
Dr. in that field according to his wife – which means 8 years of study. Chemical Engineer.

Quite a lot of snow yesterday out it is beautiful today. From the forecast I
wondered if we would get out as it was drifting a lot. However, the storm fell
far short of the prediction.

Friday I picked up the kids at the high school and took them up town to see
Santa and a team of real reindeer, with an eskimo in his native garb to care for
them. Each of the children (over 2000 candy canes were given out) were allowed
to get in line, speak to Santa, and receive a candy cane from him, walk up on the
float and by the team of deer and down at the other end where the eskimo was.
They weren’t so interested in the Santa as they were in the deer, which was something
to see. They were on a conveyor belt on this float (which made them high enough
so that they could be seen better) and when the float was moving, so would the
belt and the deer had to keep stepping to stay in place. It gave the appearance
of them pulling Santa and his sleigh. After that we went and shopped. I let them
pick out a good many things to send to the cousins. That night after the 3 youngest
were in bed the others wrapped gifts. How they love to do that.

[Handwritten] Now I must close. Danny just got up from his nap. Yesterday we made Christmas cookies! Lovingly, Nellie

Carol’s note:
On March 23, 2020, we celebrated my mom’s 100th birthday. Nellie Stover Harper died suddenly when she was 48, most likely from undiagnosed Addison’s disease. She left behind her husband, John, and seven children.

After my dad died in 1987, my brother Jim collected letters my mom wrote my dad while he was teaching at Emmaus Bible College in Oak Park, IL. For economic reasons, my family stayed in a farmhouse outside of Sturgis, MI, while he was working in IL. This letters are our family’s jewelry box, displaying the gems of my mom’s work and devotion. My goal is to include these letters on the blog so they can be searched by word and enjoyed by all of Nellie’s descendants and friends.

At the time of this letter, Nellie had six children at home: Dorothy – 10, David – 9, Margaret – 8, Johnny – 6, Jimmy – 4, and Danny – 2.

A Winter Travelogue

We wanted to honor our friend (my next door neighbor from Lombard, IL) and his family at his memorial service six hours away. The Pacific Northwest has been pounded with winter storms this weekend. As we studied the radar it looked like there was a break in the weather, when we could thread the needle and get through. We decided to give it a try. Except for a few dicey spots, the trip was a blessing.

Chapter 1  Setting Off

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This, my friends, is Eastern Oregon.

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Dry pavement. Yes!

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Deer crossing

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Welcome, Holly! This sign has been a source of delight for decades.

Chapter 2  Investment Opportunities

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This stark landscape reminds me of the Midwest. Or Scandinavia.

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A fine barn

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I imagine homesteaders lived here once upon a time. Or, perhaps a school?

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The detail on this fine old barn thrills me.

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Roof needs repaired. Air conditioning free.

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It was Tiny before Tiny Houses were cool

 

Chapter 3     Birds and Such 

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We’ve never seen so many hawks on posts. Here, there, here again. Sidenote: I over-helped my son write a paper on the red-tail hawk in 1993. I’ve never forgotten the scientific name: buteo jamaicensis.  Isn’t it weird what sticks to the inside of your brain?

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This horse has been studying and applying the Marie Kondo method.

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 Hawk perched in a tree.

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Waterfowl feeding

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I am drawn to lonely trees

 

Chapter 4  Coming Home on the Rattlesnake

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Driving south towards Lewiston

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I wonder how this highway was named The Rattlesnake?

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Looking down from above

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It descends, slithers along the floor of the canyon (see center of picture),
and slinks upward to the next plateau.

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S-curves superabound

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Sidling up to the mountain

 

Chapter 5  Watch for the Light

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Coming into the Wallowas, spots of blue sky

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A shroud of clouds cannot cover it. The light still shines.

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Light and shadow. And a lonely tree.

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Luminous

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Winter glory

 

Bonus Chapter: Deer and Elk

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Outside of Enterprise, deer feeding

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Outside of Imbler, elk herding

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I don’t have the skill to convey this magnificent sight: about 300 elk

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Walking, loping, bunching together

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Move ’em out!

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Bull supervising the exodus

What Snow’s Made For

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Jane said she’d never heard of anyone liking fogs before but she didn’t mind trying. …

“That’s why Camilla and I got married,” said Denniston as they drove off. “We both like Weather. Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather. It’s a useful taste if one lives in England.”

“How ever did you learn to do that, Mr. Denniston?” said Jane. “I don’t think I should ever learn to like rain and snow.”

“It’s the other way round,” said Denniston. “Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up. Haven’t you ever noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children—and the dogs? They know what snow’s made for.”

~ C.S. Lewis in That Hideous Strength

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My grandchildren providing the illustration

Reading Evening

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It was a weekend of colossal snowflakes. Twirling, swirling, pirouetting, waving-to-the-audience snowflakes. So cute, you can’t stop staring snowflakes. Snow that puts the world on mute. Snow that drapes over every horizontal surface and beautifies barbed wire. Snow that provokes stillness. We stoked the fire and settled into a reading evening.

We submerged into our book(s) and sat in companionable silence. We forgot all screens and beeps malfunctioning computers. After an hour of pure silence, I put on a CD (remember those?). This set of four CDs has been one of the soundtracks of my life for the last twenty years. (A great score!)

Furiously reading Martin Gilbert’s Churchill, A Life, trying to finish the 1K book before the inter-library loan ends (this is how I do marathons), the mounting crisis of Hitler’s threatened evasion of Czechoslovakia was creating inner tension.

Slowly I became aware that the music playing was such a befitting accompaniment to the words I was reading. Minor key, evocative, simply sad music. Naturally, it was Chopin. Recorded by the Slovak National Orchestra.

 

Oregon Hygge

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Hygge is that trendy Danish word that fathomaway describes as the art of creating intimacy: a sense of comradeship, conviviality, and contentment rolled into one. We’ve been snowed in recently, but aren’t snow days one of life’s delicious bonuses?

{Before any further rhapsodies, let me acknowledge we don’t have sick family members, stock (countryspeak for animals; think ‘livestock’), emergencies to respond to, or young children going bonkers.}

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Fresh herbs (this is mint) are an affordable splurge.

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My sister-in-law crochets these in small moments. They are a benediction.

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Mid-century house, old cabinets.
Curt and I worked together installing pull-out shelves.
Out with stale, in with organization.

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One of the most hygge activities we do is to  listen together to Harry Potter.
We’re in year five;  Harry is our tidy-up-after-dinner soundtrack.
And then we sit down and listen the way most people watch television.
I cut out stuff from catalogs to put into the small blank spots in my journal.

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The timing couldn’t have been more fortuitous!
A friend gave me a box of Blue Apron meals. (Thank you, Dana!)
We have everything  needed for a restaurant quality meal.
I supplied salt and pepper. Yum!

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The smell of bread baking in the oven has to be hygge!

dsc_0971One way we keep warm.

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Abacus gallery sells poster calendars with artwork by Dana Heacock.

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This is more OCD than hygge, but I’m indexing my journals.

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Candles seem a big piece of hygge. My husband is allergic to the scents.  I roast garlic each time I turn the oven on. The fragrance wafts through the house.

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Hygge.