Tough Times.. A Muse


The following story comes from the June/July 2016  issue of Our Iowa.  It is a magazine “written by Iowans for all who love Iowa.”  DM


Molly Nichols who now lives in Wray,  Colorado, tells about growing up on a farm with eight brothers and sisters during threshing time.

“We children were standing in the windows watching the men bring in the wagons loaded with bundles of grain.  Suddenly we saw them running the horses with the wagons as hard and fast as they could.  They barely made it to the barn when it began to hail.  

 The hail pounded everything in sight.  The trees were stripped bare, and the large garden we so depended on was gone.

However, we had a mother who was a woman of great strength and faith – a simple farm wife who was very wise and depended on the good Lord for everything.

She lived well for 99 years and taught us children self-discipline.  We were loved and we loved one another.  To this day my eight siblings and I gather at the old home place every year to count our blessings.

But back to the storm.

As we children stood at the window with tears in our eyes, I will never forget my mother’s words:  “You kids go out and gather up some of those hailstones so we can make ice cream.”

Suddenly a tragedy became a party.  More important a lesson learned.

“We did manage to eat that year despite the loss of our garden.  There was always Mother’s homemade bread.  The chickens and beef we raised, cows we milked, and cream and eggs we sold at the grocery store.

Life was good with evenings filled with checker games, singing together around the piano and Mother reading Bible stories to us by a kerosene lamp.

We were rich by standards other than money…and thanks to hardships we endured, we still are.”


When I (DM) read that account, it made me think of my mother and the adversity she has endured.

Her dad died when she was three.  This was back in the 1930’s, before all  the government programs there are today. Her mother chose not to remarry until after her three kids were raised.  Mom remembers eating pigeon pie, fish from the local river , outdoor plumbing, waiting in line for a bath in the washtub out behind her grandmother’s porch.  When mom was in her teen’s she  had to have all of her teeth pulled.  Fourteen teeth at one time, no Novocain.    Mom is in her early 80’s right now.  I told someone  just recently, she still has the spunk and attitude of a 16 year old.

Her and dad still go out at least once a day on a date….once a day! Mom  tells me she doesn’t like to cook 😉  Both are very active and intentional about loving people.

I hear stories all the time.

Ling, the owner of a local restaurant  lost both of her parents several years ago in China.  Mom and dad are regular customers.  Mom told me, just last week, Ling sat down beside her at break and put her head on mom’s shoulder.  That just warms my heart. 😉


And finally, on a completely unrelated note, after all of the craziness that has been in the news this past week, I have decided to take another step back from my media intake.

Still plan to blog, but not going to attempt to keep up on all the unrest.  Rather, I’ve decided I need to focus more time and energy  keeping on top of things on the home front…repairs, weeds, dishes, etc.

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6 Responses to Tough Times.. A Muse

  1. shoreacres says:

    The truth is, the current unrest resembles — to at least a small degree — the old-fashioned soap opera. With the “soaps,” you could miss a week, and when you came back, things were just as they had been. It’s the same with much of what’s happening today, especially in politics. I’ve tuned out until after the conventions. A quick check of headlines will do until then.

    There’s no doubt that there will be rioting in the streets, pure nastiness among commentators, tricks employed by politicians, and divisiveness encouraged by — well, a whole lot of people. I’m going to work, cook, pet the cat, read, prepare for hurricanes, and take photos of the natural world. If I need to add fleeing Armageddon to the to-do list, I will. But I don’t think it will be necessary.

    • DM says:

      I remember the last time things started to flair up in Israel, between them and Hamas. I decided there was absolutely nothing I could do about it, and what was the sense of staying up to speed on every detail. So I intentionally quit following the news at least as it pertained to the Middle East. Sure enough…wasn’t too many weeks, and there was a cease fire…both sides were @ table talking. There is definitely something to be said for tuning out.

  2. Bill says:

    Thanks, DM, for those words. It is a perspective that we all sorely need. It’s been a rough year, but thoughts like yours keep things in focus. Keep your eyes on the things in front of you that matter. I’ll try to keep this In mind.

  3. Seeking Joyful Simplicity says:

    Beautiful reminder DM. Makes me consider the change in perspectives these days. My mother lost her mom when she was very young. Her older sister raised her, and there were times when they had little to eat. Mom always kept a well-stocked pantry for my 8 siblings and I, plus a garden full of food she canned.

    Anyway, I hear everyone talking about taking a step back from the media.I like shoreacres’ plan, and I agree with Bill – “keep your eyes on the things in front of you that matter.”

    Family, friends, local community. And the spiritual.

  4. lisalassas says:

    I like the reminder to “keep your eyes on the things in front of you that matter.” Life is much more satisfying when I do this. 😉
    I had gotten out of the habit of making breakfast for my kids last year (when I had school, too, and would go running off). Both of their schools offer free breakfast so last year, I let them eat at school, or just eat cereal. This year, I am back to making breakfast and I realize every day that I do so, just how much better a way it is for us all to start the day– sitting down together, Basma getting her tea just the way she likes it, me with my coffee, Mona avoiding the hot drinks altogether, good cooking smells on the days no one feels like moving…Its a good way to start the day by laying eyes– all of us– on the things in front of us all that matter. Each other! 😉

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