DEAR FARMER’S WIFE: I have had the misfortune to lose my list of subjects and am not sure that vacations was one of the subjects but believe it was. If it was not, it should have been for vacations are rare and wonderful things on the farm. So, I am going to tell about the most wonderful vacation we ever had.
To begin with, I received as a present for Christmas last year, The Covered Wagon by Emerson Hough. The children were so interested in it that I told them how their own great-grandparents came from back east, hundreds of miles in covered wagons.
I remember so many tales of their pioneer days that one day I had a happy idea and suggested to the children that we take a trip in a covered wagon ourselves. They hailed the idea with delight. It was harder to get their father in the notion but finally, he agreed to try it. We decided to go to see my parents who live about three hundred miles west. We got a man to do the chores while we were away and then we prepared for our trip.
We covered the wagon with heavy duck that would keep out wind or rain. We took bed springs, mattress, and bedclothes. My husband slept on a small mattress and covers on the floor of the wagon. In the daytime, this was rolled up and put under the big bed out of the way. Under the bed, I also kept the suitcases and a covered box of provisions.
We took an oil stove to cook on when we could not make a campfire. We dressed the children in coveralls and barefoot sandals.
Many were the beautiful scenes we viewed and many the fine people we met.
I took a small camera and snapped some of the most beautiful and interesting places and jotted down in a notebook the names and some facts about each place. The children learned more about their state, its cities, occupations, and so on than they ever would have learned from studying the history of South Dakota. When we got to the western side of the state where there is free government land, thousands of range cattle, and no mail routes, we all were surprised.
Many were the pretended attacks made on our camp by “hostile Indians” and the valiant battles put up by the three small members of our party. When we came to the country where sure-enough Indians lived, they still had more to learn. Remembering the Indians of The Covered Wagon, they were rather surprised after arriving at their grandfather’s house when a real Mr. and Mrs. Flying Horse and their three children came driving in one day and stayed for dinner. We enjoyed their visit too. They were the Indian neighbors of my parents.
We greatly enjoyed living in the open. How soundly we slept and how we ate. Our youngest child had always been delicate but at the end of that trip she had gained in weight and has kept on growing ever since. That trip cost little but was worth much. I hope for another like it some time. – Gypsy, South Dakota.