Mothers Diary
Sometimes these days, I think back wistfully on our vacation trip. As responsibilities and pressures build up and there never seems to be time for everything that should be done, and every time the phone rings, it's something else, I think of our vacation. That was when our only deadline was finding a good – and reasonable – motel, before we were all worn out each evening. And our only responsibility each day was in seeing all the wonderful things there were to see, in buying bologna and bread for lunch, and in keeping gas in the car.

I remember, too, how glad we were to get home and what a satisfaction it was to throw all our clothes into our good old washing machine, and to cook on our own stove again. None of us live irresponsibly forever, nor would I want to. Deadlines and meetings are the staff of life, and I am committed to them.

But Wednesday noon I had fun – real relaxation – as I watched water run from the faucets every time I turned them on – and I washed the dishes with lots of suds and water and pleasure. It was all I could do to keep from calling up people to tell them what excitement there was in washing the dishes from supper the night before, from breakfast that morning and from lunch.
I never leave dirty dishes setting around from one meal to another. That is, I don't when there's water to wash them in.

Something else I never do is to be in the house more than five minutes after work without starting a pot of coffee. So it was a great shock to walk into the house Tuesday evening, head for the kitchen and, with coffee pot in hand, turn on the faucet and get nothing! A frantic rush to other faucets in the house revealed that there just wasn't any water. At a quarter of six o'clock!
Suddenly, I bethought myself of the teakettle – and praises be! There was a little water – tepid water, to be sure, that had been sitting there since breakfast, but I was in no mood to be fussy. I doled out enough for about three cups of coffee, opened three cans of soup, added a bit of water to that, and had enough left for an emergency like sticky fingers, or spilled soup.

I decided we were lucky that I didn't absolutely have to wash a load of clothes, or to make coffee for company. But I never realized before how often and automatically I turned a water faucet on for something.
In the first place, I am the kind who washes my hands every time I turn around while getting a meal. And in the second place, I couldn't even take an aspirin! Or rinse the sink, or soak the soup kettle, or wash off the table or counter.
It was quite an evening. And the next morning was just as bad when I woke up to face those dirty soup bowls and milky glasses.

But the water was on – and rusty and trickly as it was, it looked pretty good to me. At noon as I gloried in soaking and washing dishes, I thought how wonderful water was and how grateful I was for it.
I don't remember the last time that I thanked God for water. This time, it was because it had been withheld from us for a few hours in a time of need – like at meal time!

It is so natural to take things for granted, like water, light, sunshine, warm shelter, fresh air, growth and love. Suppose that God grew tired and withheld His love and concern, and dropped the reins of the world even for a few short hours.
Can you imagine the utter chaos that would result? And would we appreciate Him more afterwards?

It is the nature of man – or woman – that as long as he – or she – has a child in school, he will present himself at any school activity in which said child is a participant, that he – or she – performs this duty, willingly or grudgingly as the case may be, but absents himself cheerfully from those events that do not concern him or his child.
I have been known, myself, to breathe a sigh of relief and prepare for a long quiet evening at home when a frantic event is going on at school which does not involve our children or me.
Like the county vocal festival.

The big thing wrong with this is that you don't know what you're missing.
Like the county vocal festival.
This year for the first time, we had a child represented in the chorus and since my husband couldn't go, I felt that I should. Well, I'll be honest. I really wanted to. I've even felt the urge to go in other years, but I didn't because it wasn't absolutely necessary.

So Becky and I drove over with Lu Egli and we had the time of our lives. We never heard such singing as that massed chorus produce. Even the guest conductor said so, when we talked to him.
"Nothing to it," he said, "you just lift your arms and the music pours out from this group."
It was marvelous.
The Manson double mixed quartet was the best special number. It's not because I'm prejudiced that I say that. You just ask the Harold Browns, and Lu Egli, and the Willetts and the Howies and the Oswalds. They were up there in the balcony, too.
"And besides," said Lu, virtuously, "we're not the only ones." That's true – the applause was the longest and most enthusiastic for our group.
And well, never did an hour go so fast.

Sometime, if life seems dreary or non-exciting, just go to a school music performance, or a debate tournament or a class play, or a science fair, or the speech eliminations, even if you have no child or relative in it. You'll be surprised at the sparkle and lift it gives you.
The world is not necessarily at an end because the football season is over!

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Mothers Diary
Mother’s Diary – November 30, 1961 April 11, 2009 Gopal, our little guest from India was having difficulty hanging onto his napkin at the breakfast table. So finally I gave him another and put a pile of them beside his plate.
"There," I said, "now you don't have to worry. Here's a supply of them."
He immediately erupted in a flow of chuckles and chatter and I wished for the twentieth time or so that I could understand what he said.
I sat down beside him and spoke very seriously. "When you learn English very well, I hope you come back to see us and them we'll have a good conversation."
His father laughed.
"You know he understands you. Let me ask him."
So he spoke to the boy who giggled and answered in another flow of chatter.
"What did he say?" I asked.
"He repeated word for word just what you'd said to him."
I eyed the child in utter consternation. "You mean he's understood all along what we've been saying to him?"
I felt as if we'd been betrayed!

Gopal had hardly said a word in English. He is attending school in Ames learning English in the first grade so he can progress to the 2nd grade where he belongs. He is seven years old and his little sister, Nemo, is 3 years old. She is picking up English from watching television.
"And what happens," I asked Mr. Saraswat, "when you get back to India in another year or so?"
"Then, they will probably have to learn Hindi all over again," he laughed.

Mr. Saraswat is also learning English and it seemed to us that they were doing pretty well for having been in the United States only two or three months.
The whole family was a joy to have in our home. They accepted our ways, and our curiosity, and our guests who came to see them, with a very special grace.

We had our little troubles, of course. When the children grew tired Thursday evening after perusing books, investigation the possibilities of the piano and suffering contentedly the ministrations of Becky (who just loved them) we took them upstairs.
We had fixed up the girls' room for the whole family because that's where there is a big double bed and two bunk beds. The bunk beds were stacked and we held a weighty conference as to the advisability of unstacking them. Mr. Saraswat finally decided that Gopal might be happier if his bed was on the floor. So Steve grabbed one end of the bed and I grabbed the other and we swung it to the floor, and there was just barely room for it.
As a matter of fact, there wasn't room. We had to make room and when dressers and chairs were shoved back, and all four legs were settled, there I was, pinned up against the double bed.

"Help," I squealed and everyone leaped to my rescue. Mr. Saraswat and Steve lifted the bed again and little Mrs. Saraswat reached across with her arm around my shoulders and helped pull me out of confinement. They were all laughing, it's true, but they did rescue me so I forgave them all!
We squiggled the furniture around some more so there would be room to walk between the beds, and I showed them where towels and washcloths were and I went downstairs hoping that those dear people would not judge American living conditions by that bedroom.

So then I worried about breakfast. I made oatmeal, which the children didn't eat, and offered eggs which they didn't want – but the toast, they all enjoyed. Mr. Saraswat said that his family didn't like bread at all when they arrived but now liked it more than anything else.
They drank milk with a little sugar in it, and Gopal was utterly fascinated with our sugar container with a lid and spout. But I suspect that they were all glad to get back to their own home and their own food preparation in Ames.

We are now letting Christmas in. I am already anxious to fill all the vases with greens and gold Christmas balls, and listen to carols, and unpack the manger set. Nancy and I bought some gifts Saturday afternoon, and we all played with Norman's toy for a while – I do hope it's still in working shape when he gets it.
I asked Steve if he would help me pick out the Christmas tree this year, and he was horrified. "I don't want to be blamed for it," he said hastily.
I never yet have purchases a tree that pleased everyone. I threaten every year to let someone else do it. But every year, I'm the one who bears the awesome responsibility.

December! The very word evokes scents of evergreen, echoes of bells, and the memory of a star over a stable. It is a time to thank God for His gift, and to let our thankfulness overflow into love for all men everywhere.
Surely this is the only way to "peace on earth."

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