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Another Day in the Country

Spring fever

© Another Day in the Country

My house is beginning to look like a jumbo sale’s staging ground as we pull out from storage artwork created by kids at Centre Elementary School.

The spring Artful Eye Show happening May 3 will turn the school’s little gym into an art gallery (or, at least, our version of one) for an evening featuring some of the youngest artists in Marion County.

“Do we have as much wonderful work?” my sister wants to know as we start framing and labeling tiny works of art.

We recount how many days the school was closed because of snow days this year.

No matter, invitations went out Friday. Consider this yours!

Springtime is making itself evident in Marion County with birdsong along fencerows, mushrooms in wooded areas, and wild asparagus in ditches.

On Saturday, we drove through the edges of the green Flint Hills to Lawrence for our first big spring celebration. It was the 50th wedding anniversary of Janet and Joe Fike — a bona fide Ramona boy who grew up in Marion County.

Fifty years ago, Janet made her wedding dress on an old Singer sewing machine. Does anyone still make wedding dresses by hand?

The dress was at the anniversary party — pristinely lovely with appliqué and lace sleeves flawlessly intact, on display with hundreds of photographs chronicling 50 years of life.

Janet had tried out the dress pattern, cutting it out of an old sheet, stitching the body of the dress and one sleeve together, and trying this makeshift garment on to make sure it fit properly.

At the anniversary party, we sat around tables in loosely structured groupings — family, neighbors, and church friends —telling stories that often began with “Remember when…” or “Can you believe….” All the stories weren’t about the anniversary couple.

Steve Fike told about him and his wife, Maureen, riding motorcycles to the Oregon coast and visiting their Aunt Martha and Uncle Laurel outside of Silverton. That would be my parents in their retirement years.

“Did you get the full treatment?” I asked.

“That we did!” Steve assured me, laughing.

The full treatment always included my mother’s homemade bread and noodle soup, a hayride behind Dad’s John Deere tractor, and then an after-supper concert performed on whatever instruments were at hand — Dad’s cello, Mom’s accordion, or her marimba. My parents missed performing.

We joked when we built Mom’s house in Ramona that we should have put an elevated stage in one corner of the living room where the piano, organ, and marimba stood ready when visitors appeared.

Ironically, their performing days began here in Ramona at the high school that still stands where D St. meets Half Mile Rd. School plays and music performances were where my parents’ musical prowess began.

It seems to me this spring that it’s taken a while for leaves to decide to appear on trees lining our streets in town.

“What’s taking you so long?” I muttered to them last week and then realized that it still was early April. It’d been so warm and lovely that I’d gotten ahead of myself and thought it was later in the season.

They’re out now on the cottonwood tree in my back yard — still small but sparkling in the afternoon sunshine. This is a glorious time of year when there’s a day without wind and frost in the air at sundown.

“Surely, we aren’t going to have another frost this spring,” I say to myself as I eye tomato plants still safe under the porch but itching for me to plant them on another day in the country.

and clarifications

Wrong address

An article last week incorrectly identified the highway where a driver hit a mailbox during a January snowstorm. The mailbox was on K-150, not US-50.

Last modified April 24, 2024

 

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