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Somerset, Wisconsin: 125 pioneer families and Canadian connection: 125th year

[Rosalie Parnell's book on Somerset, Wisconsin],   pp. 11-64 PDF (24.6 MB)

Page 58

jams, and mince pie, apples and hickory nuts and some candy from the
old sugar bush, some fresh milk, freshly ground coffee and some
cider. (Grandpa wondered how the women could eat so heartily with
their waste pinched in like that and then he noticed John's watch
chain again).
The men folks relaxed over cigars and politics while the chil-
dren fidgeted and the women did the dishes in two big dishpans.
Then there was the entertainment. Under persuasion that turned into
parental threat, Johnny recited grudgingly "Under a Spreading Chest-
nut Tree". Mary played the organ and the girls sang. Mary played
as what one knew was just for Edmund. He was a beautiful singer
too. Riddles little Rosie asked Grandpa -- "What is it that's black
and white and red all over". Grandpa of course "gave up." "A news-
paper" said Bessie, midst great hilarity and Grandma said "Why,
she's smart as a whip". Grandpa did not say a word.
Edmund and Mary went off in a corner of the parlor on the plush
sofa but not so far that Grandma couldn't see them. There never
was such a discussion of the weather - this years, last year and
that of the year before. Grandpa wondered why someone didn't do
something about it.
Well, when the time came and he hoped it would be soon, he knew
what Edmund would do -- approach him with one foot scraping, his
eyes fixed on some far off object and mumble something about getting
But now Edmund had to leave.
Mary's got a feller, Mary's got a       "hush, I don't know
what is coming into youngsters these days --- "A good man, Edmund,
Grandpa said and with the issue settled, Mary blushed more than
ever. Mary smiled at him. Grandma tucked her shawl closer and
told Grandpa to fetch more wood. The day faded and Maggie came in
with the lamps, their graceful chimneys sparkling. Grandpa knew that
John would tell about their gas lamp and he did. He also again re-
lated the benefits of the telephone. Well, Grandpa would stick to
face-to-face talk and to kerosene for light. Then Maggie and Grandma
fixed up a light snack, slightly smaller portions than the noon meal
plus strawberry sauce and a fruit cake, large enough to feed a man
for a week.
The children all climbed into their heavy clothes, smoking hot
from hanging near the kitchen stool. They were all tucked in the sled
with the stone spreading a little heat and there were plenty of
goodbyes and the frisky gray mares pranced away, eager to be off on
the long road home. The full moon lighted the way past snowy fields
and the sleighbells echoed behind.

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