Long before the celebration of Earth Day, which is April 22, we set aside a day at our one-room country school to spend outside, sprucing up the school grounds. We called it Arbor Day, a day long associated with planting trees.
We planted no trees in our one-acre schoolyard on Arbor Day—there were already plenty of giant black and white oaks. What we did was bring garden rakes from home and spent the day raking leaves and grass and piling them in the middle of our softball diamond. It was a fun day, a chance to be away from the routine of studying and reciting and following a rather tight schedule of learning.
I especially remember Arbor Day when I was in seventh grade. Maxine Thompson was our teacher and she joined us in the clean-up operation and seemed to be having as much fun as we did as we raked, carried, and piled leaves and dead grass.
When there was no more grass to rake, and no more winter-tired oak leaves to gather, Miss Thompson touched a match to the big pile and we had a glorious bonfire with pungent smoke trickling skyward. While the pile was burning, we searched for sticks as we knew that a wiener and marshmallow roast would follow. It was a day to remember.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: (Quoting Increase Joseph, from my novel, The Travels of Increase Joseph)”It’s the land. I’m talking about the land and how we must take care of it or we shall all perish.”
CHECK THIS OUT: The Sturm Public Library in Manawa has selected my novel, In a Pickle, for its community read program this spring. I will be speaking at the library on April 19, 7:00 p.m. Want to learn more about cucumbers and their history? Plan to attend.