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Holand, Hjalmar Rued, 1872-1963 / Wisconsin's Belgian community : an account of the early events in the Belgian settlement in northeastern Wisconsin with particular reference to the Belgians in Door County

Chapter VII: Belgian characteristics and customs,   pp. [81]-97 PDF (2.5 MB)

Page 88

working pioneer, but he has the volatile nature of
a Frenchman. He works hard and he insists on a
little pleasure being sandwiched in occasionally.
"Venez manger avec nous !" Quickly the good news
spread from clearing to clearing to leave a happy
excitement in its wake. In every home prepara-
tions for the event went an apace.  Old trunks
dragged out from under puncheon beds or lifted
down from rafters and lofts. There was a fever-
ish overhauling of contents to see if they would
yield some bit of finery for the coming event.
Leather shoes, long set aside for a special occasion,
were re-oiled and made flexible. Fresh evergreen
boughs were cut and brought in to replace the old
ones that served in lieu of a mattress. Earthen
floors were newly sanded and there were long pil-
grimages to Dyckesville and Green Bay to replen-
ish the larders with those materials so necessary
to that kirmess delicacy, Belgian pie. There was
many a friendly argument over these trips and who
should make them.
    ("It was considered a vacation of a sort in it-
self," one of my old friends tells me.
    "A treat?" I ask a little skeptically. "A treat
to walk sixty miles with a fifty pound sack of
flour, to say nothing of the weight of the other
purchases ?"
    "Well," was his reply, "it was either that or
lifting logs and swinging a grub hoe. It was be-
fore my time but my mother told me she made the
trip often and I honestly believe she was glad to
go. It was a change of motion. The grist mill
was at De Pere and when you once got to Dyckes-
ville, you would always count on falling in with
some acquaintance who was walking your way.
She thought nothing of it.")
    At last the great day arrived. In the morning
Father Daems celebrated Mass for his congrega-
tion in the new settlement already called Rosiere,
and now, in the afternoon, the committee were
fore-gathered at Macceaux's, conspicuous in the
blue and white ribbon decorations across their
broad chests, the insignia of their office. It was
a trying day for our host. In his anxiety to have

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