It’s been pouring and thundering and lightning all day. The Bustle Hustle was cancelled, and I ended up waiting out the storm in the basement of 4-Mile Inn, which flooded. Rain went down those cellar steps and right into the staff room where we were sitting around chit-chatting. Out came the mops and buckets and dust bins…anything to scoop the water up. Suddenly the whimsical display of brightly colored swim fins and floaties and paddles someone had tacked to the back of the door made sense. When it let up a bit, I made the trek down the road to St. Peter’s under my umbrella. I didn’t stop to think that an umbrella isn’t wide enough to cover my enlarged behind! My bustle was soaking wet…on the outside. I didn’t feel it under all those petticoats, but when I sat on the pews, I left water marks. I needed to inject some humor into the situation, so I pumped up the organ and began to play “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”….a bulwark….our helper, He, amid the flood (of mortal ills prevailing). Visitors finally trickled in along with the rain, but I only had about ten in 5 hours.
I met some new volunteers and staff people in the course of the day, and enjoyed talking to them about dreams and lifestyles. How do you want to live? What are you finding important at this stage of your life? Many are retired or old enough to be. Hobby farms, family history, grandparenting and traveling were hot topics with this crowd. There are also the college students, who talk about classes and shopping at Good Will and how to survive on minimum wage. Most took cover under ground in the storm, a few stayed out on the porch to watch the power of nature in the sky. The horses turned their rear ends to the oncoming winds and whinnied a bit, but weathered the day in their own way.
I think about resilience, expectations and comfort. The immigrants whose stories we tell at Old World Wisconsin were of heartier stock than us 21st century types. They pushed across miles of unknowns without a “smart phone” to tell them where they were, what was ahead, and what the weather pattern was likely to be. They looked up and around, assessed the situation to the best of their ability, and went ahead. What happened…happened. They made their own fun, they solved problems with their own strength and wits, and they passed on what they could to their children. I like their spirit.
And when the rains come, “don’t forget to wear your rubbers!” (My mother’s voice echoes from my childhood…)