Forest City Courier, Sept. 8, 1938
In every town where there is a high school there is at least one of those dilapidated beloved vehicles known, for no reason at all, as Model T Fords. However many new cars are at their disposal, the young crowd prefers one of these ancient topless conveyances. They are always endowed with some name such as Nancy, Venus de Milo, etc. They are usually black, with only a few rusty places, including the one on the radiator. The upholstery (one with a great imagination would call it that) is torn and hanging in fragments. For several reasons it is usually the most popular car in town. Aside from its appearance, it comes in handy during the school season as a moving store house, for baseballs, baseball bats and footballs. Then there is the convenience due to its construction. It lacks those evils known as doors, and thus saves her passengers much time in getting in and out: The task of washing the windshield is eliminated by not having one.
Most convenient of all perhaps is its capacity. There is always room for one more. Its value in a football parade is unlimited. When filled with yelling boys and girls, it not only makes the most amusing appearance, but also the most noise. Its rattles are almost musical. She plays “Yankee Doodle” when she goes twenty-five miles an hour, and if she goes any faster, which is unusual, she plays “The Star Spangled Banner.” The chance of getting to some place safely and on time is slim, while the chance of getting back home again on time is slimmer. A flat tire to be repaired is only another source of fun for the crowd, where if Dad required their services at the same task at home, it would be a bother and a nuisance.
One day you notice that she is not acting as spry as usual. She begins to limp with old age, responds only faintly to cranking, gasps and chokes at intervals as she creeps along. The symptoms indicate that her days of service are about over. Finally with one prolonged gasp she stops completely. Not even a quart of gas can bring her back to life again. Her remains are deposited in the junk yard and the owner feels as if one of his family has passed on.
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The word camping suggests many things—woods, mountains, lakes, rivers, fishing, hunting, rest for tired nerves, out-of-door life. There are diverse ways of camping; spending the night in a tent in your own back yard, or spending several weeks in some secluded spot miles from the nearest town. No matter where or how one goes, the thought of camping acts like magic, and makes on restless for the freedom of out-of-doors. True, it is accompanied by handicaps. One of the greatest is trying to light a fire in the rain. Indians can do it more easily than white people, but we are inclined to believe that Indians have more trouble than the story books acknowledge. Still, it is easy enough to start a blaze—a very fine looking, cheerful, healthy blaze; the difficulty is to prevent its going out the moment your back is turned. But when once started, a camp fire immediately dispels all gloom. Its magic draws you close, and your every day cares and worries are forgotten. You leave your radio at home, and the only concerts you hear are those in which the birds are performers in the early mornings. The walls of your outdoors domain is not adorned with pictures, save those painted on the wide sky-canvas with the colors of sunrise and sunset. Yet, the young boy and the average man enjoys those concerts more than he would those from a great symphony orchestra. He likes the pictures and thinks them better painted, too, than those on the walls of some gallery in a great city. The following written by Wilferd Peterson is an embodiment of the feelings and thoughts of all lovers of out-door life:
Prayer of an Out-Door Man
With the leafy branches of the forest trees I lift my arms to pray;
With the babbling brooks and singing birds I raise my voice in praise:
I thank Thee for the out-of-doors;
I thank Thee for the solitude of wild places, the strength of the hills and the calmness of quiet streams;
I thank Thee for old clothes, rough work, and the right to let my beard grow;
I thank Thee for the curling smoke of a camp fire in the early morning;
I thank Thee for steaming coffee, sizzling bacon and an out-door appetite;
I thank Thee for the swish of my paddle, and the joy of watching fleecy clouds roll by:
I thank Thee for the call of a whippoorwill at dusk, across a silent lake;
I thank Thee for silvery moonbeams on rippling water;
I thank Thee for the singing of my reel and the bending of my rod as a big One strikes;
I thank Thee for the contentment that comes with the patter of rain on my tent at night;
I thank Thee for wild blackberries along an old stump fence;
I thank Thee for my dogs, my gun and the flaming colors of the autumn woods;
I thank Thee for wild ducks flying south against a dull grey sky;
I thank Thee for the glory and majesty of the stars;
I thank Thee for strong winds pulling at my hair roots and for the spray from the lake on my cheeks;
I thank Thee for old trails, for rocks, for raging rapids and for a glimpse of deer drinking in a secluded pool;
I thank Thee for the drum of the partridge, for squirrels, trailing arbutus, the aroma of pine needles, sunshine through leaves, and all the other eternal miracles of the out-of-doors.
Reprinted with permission from The Daily Courier. Copyright owned by The Daily Courier.