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Another Day in the Country

Make book on it

© Another Day in the Country

It’s another day, another year, another deadline, another column for the Marion County Record.

Let’s see, how many does this make? I’m doing the math: 52 weeks times 22 years plus 6 more months in 2000 minus half a dozen deadlines missed for one reason or another, minus two “you probably shouldn’t print that” about guns or abortion, with one actually delivered to Marion by hand when electricity was down because of a storm and a couple held over because of urgent need for space that week, equals 1,160 columns times approximately 750 words in each column, or 870,000 words.

When in doubt, Google what you want to know about, so I asked: “How many words in an average adult book.” The answer came back: between 70,000 and 120,000.

That’s a lot of words between us. It’s the equivalent of reading a dozen books.

Some of the newer readers of this column may not know that back in 2005, a portion of the writing in this column was made into a book.

We self-published a volume with photographs illustrating the stories chosen and printed 1,000 copies.

It turned out to be way more than we needed. All those boxes of books arrived about the same time as our family tree in Ramona was reaching the end of its shelf life.

The California Sisters found themselves not only attempting to market a new book but also caretaking family members as their lives wound down.

Health problems for our aunts and uncles made their living arrangements uncertain. Our own parents needed help in Oregon. Big changes and even bigger choices loomed on the horizon.

We ended up bringing our parents to live with us in Ramona. Uncle Hank and Aunt Gertie moved to Colorado to be near their kids. Caretaking took precedence over book marketing, and the upshot of that collision of priorities ended up as boxes of books stored in a closet at Tony’s old house.

Every year my sister says to me, “We’ve got to get rid of those books, Pat!”

And every year, I say, “Yes, I know.”

The stack of boxes in the closet has dwindled through the years, but they aren’t all gone. So here’s the offer: If you would like a copy of those early stories about living another day in the country sent to you or to someone you love, send the intended recipient’s name and address to Box 12, Ramona KS 67475 and we will send you or whomever you choose a book as long as the supply lasts — first come, first served.

Hopefully, this will stimulate the mail count at the Ramona post office and brighten someone’s day receiving an unexpected gift of warm-hearted stories from a little town in the heartland.

“It’s our way of paying a tithe,” my sister says, “on all the good things that have come our way since returning to Ramona.”

And we aren’t talking about money. We are talking about what we call magical things like family experiences, time, people we’ve met, things we would have missed if we hadn’t taken that leap to return to the country “for at least a year,” which has stretched into more than 22 memorable years.

That closet needs to be emptied. Those remaining books need to be shared. So tell us who and where and we’ll do the rest.

That said, it’s a new year, so what are you going to do this year that you’ve never done before?

My grandson just came back from a trip with his cousins to Southern California.

He did something he’d never done before — rock-climbing — and he had a video documenting his first perilous journey up the face of a cliff and back down.

He obviously was excited about his achievement. He discovered he was a natural with long legs, strong fingers, and a flexible body.

“And the instructor was great,” he said.

We looked at this teenager, and it seemed he’d grown several inches in six days he’d been gone.

How could this be, we wondered. Maybe it’s just a new way he carries himself — more confident.

That’s what can happen for all of us when we try something new and succeed. And what better time to try than a new year or even a new day?

I’ve given myself this challenge. So what will it be, Pat Wick, I ask myself.

Immediately, I remember all the New Year’s resolutions I’ve made through the years — like drink more water and exercise — that soon dwindled into insignificance.

There repetitive resolutions became downright embarrassing as the same list appeared year after year.

This year needs to be something unusual, something different like get rid of the last 100 copies of “Another Day in the Country” once and for all.

Last modified Jan. 4, 2023

 

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