Did we have fun in pioneer days? It depended on the ability of each individual to get joy out of the most trivial things and to sustain his spirit of great adventure in the midst of unglamorous surroundings.
I remember many things in which we rejoiced and found much pleasure. The once-a-week mail added great zest on the day it came. And we had a week of anticipation and speculation before it arrived.
There were the days we spied a rig coming down the long road toward our home. We wondered who our callers could be, and we had ample time to "tidy up" and be in the yard to welcome them with broad smiles and real western hospitality.
I found pleasure in helping gather the fuel for winter. We had tired bones, of course, and such sound sleep at night! Day after day we hauled in cow chips and stacked them in neat piles. In time we became experts in picking the right kind as to age and color so that we had the hottest flames with the least ashes. There was a deep feeling of satisfaction when we pronounced our stack the best and biggest in the neighborhood.
And those majestic mirages that delighted and entertained us on rare mornings and days! On those magic mornings, houses appeared where they'd never been before. Distant buildings and towns seemed to have come into our neighborhood. On warm, sunny days there were elusive bodies of water playing about the prairies, and horses and cows looked as if they were walking on high stilts in the shimmer. No amount of money could have purchased such glorious displays of nature's grand phenomena.
I admit there was worry, hardship and heartbreak in pioneer days, but there was light, color and joy for hearts capable of experiencing these feelings.
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s WEEKLY asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.