From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Adventure of the Castle Ruins

Another Trip Down Memory Lane... Life In Germany...



MountainWhen we lived in Kleinwallstadt, Germany, we had a wonderful local map that showed all the bicycle trails, walking paths, Roman ruins, castles (either ruined or still occupied), and interesting sites of all sorts.

One January day, I convinced Dennis that we should visit the ruins of Wildenburg, a castle on top of a small mountain (or an extremely large hill).

RuinsWe left the car in the parking lot at the bottom of the mountain and put Keely in the stroller. (She was about two years old.) There were several marked trails up the mountainside, but Trail "A" was supposed to be an easy route, so we took it and started the climb to the top.

The trail wasn't very well marked and we finally lost it but we continued hiking up and when we emerged on the broad hilltop, we wandered through the woods and across a small meadow and found the castle ruins.

When we were done exploring, we started down the mountain on Trail "A" again, which we had rediscovered (or so we thought.) The forest was dense, and it was a long time before we could finally see the valley through the trees. Then we were sure of what we had been sensing and fearing. The path was leading down a different side of the mountain and we were miles away from our car.

RuinsJanuary's days are very short in Germany. We were afraid to go back to search for the path down the right side of the mountain because it was already getting dark.

All we could do was hurry down the wrong side. We finally reached level ground again and hiked across a farmer's field, climbed over the barnyard fence and walked through the sheep and chickens as the farmer observed us curiously from the barn door. Then, a short trip down the lane and we were out to the highway at last.

RuinsIt was fully twilight by then, almost dark. We decided that I would wait beside the road with Keely, while Dennis hiked down the busy road to our car, at least five miles away. He set off and I settled in for a long cold wait in the dark. I zipped Keely into my coat to keep her warm and sat down on a big rock in the ditch.

We didn't have to wait long. To my happy surprise, Dennis came back in about 15 minutes. Someone offered him a ride and he took it.

All's well that ends well, but we didn't make that mistake again. Before we went on another adventure with that map, we bought a good compass. You might do silly things when it's just two adults but when you have a baby with you, you have to be a little more careful.


Ruins

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.