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Thanks for the memories
Random Thoughts, January 5
Random Thoughts by Wendell Smith

MUSCODA - Probably most readers of this newspaper realized last week that I was about to observe my 90th birthday on December 24. I want to thank all the folks who helped spread the word. A 90th birthday might be considered a milestone event and I appreciated the many cards sent, good wishes expressed, phone calls, etc.

One of the cards noted: “How in the heck did you get to 90 so fast? I remember when you were out taking pictures for The Progressive, just like it was yesterday!”

I should note that I remember the writer of that note as a little girl who lived nearby and would come to our yard to play with our and other children. She sometimes brought a sack of candy to share.

I too wonder how I got to be 90 so fast. Like everyone, Vi and I have had many milestone days through the years. We arrived in Muscoda June 9, 1958, our fourth wedding anniversary. We had all our earthly belongings crammed into the back of my brother’s cattle truck, making the 500-mile trip from Nebraska to a village where we knew nobody and hoped to print the community’s weekly newspaper the following week. That combination of events may have appeared as though the new village residents were not too sharp.

I guess I can’t really explain why we became Muscoda residents, other than we liked the looks of the community and loved the river and hills. My three-year-old niece, who was riding in the truck, was told to “Look at the hills”, something she didn’t have back home. She replied: “dems not hills, dems mountains!”

Perhaps we were somehow destined to live in this part of Wisconsin. After we were here we learned a great-grandmother, Sarah Black, once was an Avoca resident who eventually went west to Nebraska, where she and her husband joined a wagon train going to Oregon. They got there and survived and then returned to Nebraska because of a drought in the West.

On the Smith side of the family, my grandfather lived his early life in the Mineral Point area where his father was a teamster who hauled ore from one of the lead mines to a smelter. That family also went west to homestead a quarter-section of land in Nebraska.’

On our first trip back to Nebraska after our move here, grandfather, who was an old man, asked, “Do the May Apples still bloom on the hillsides?” We assured him they do – and he smiled his approval.

Once again, thanks for the recognition of my 90 years.