Oct. 4, 1915
Dear Edna: --
That does sound better, doesn't it? You certainly are a ‘dear' to come through so gamely. I wrote you a card this morning thinking that, that would be all I could have time for, before leaving for Grenfell but as luck or ill-luck would have it I missed the train by exactly 30 seconds, and at the present time I am at my sister's house and making good use of my time as you will notice.
Well, I have made the plunge, and feel better for it. It seems to ease my conscience a great deal to know that in a few days I shall begin what many others have been doing for a long time, and I hope to have some little part in putting the Kaiser where he belongs. But yet, I must confess it was hard to give up plans that for years have been shaping themselves in the mind, and when the initial stages that are so important were on the verge of being successfully brought to conclusion, but it is only what millions of others have done, and it is the least thing possible.
So Brown and I have made arrangements to leave for Montreal on Thursday night, but we are going to take our time on the way down as we are getting stop-overs at Brandon, Winnipeg and Toronto. From Brandon we are going to Brown's home at Gainsboro for two or three days, and then on to Winnipeg for a day or two.
And just here I am tempted, - just as I was last week when Prof. Sproule wrote me and asked me if I would take Shearer's place in the department of English, as Shearer had gone to N. Battleford - then I was tempted to go, and not enlist until spring. It wasn't because I wanted to teach English, and it wasn't because of the salary - for just two days before I had refused $150 per month to become Asst. Advertising manager of the J.I. Case Co. But it was because you were going to be there; little kiddie, and I wanted to know you better - it seems as though I have never had a chance to get really well acquainted with you - and, O, I don't know why you interest me, but there is something irresistibly charming about you.
And so, I am tempted now, to wonder if it would be possible for me to see you just for a little while and stop off at Ninga between trains, without anybody being very much the wiser. It seems almost too good to be possible, but yet I going to live in anticipation that your good nature may allow you to let me come for a few hours. I don't know whether you will have time to write me before I leave home or not. I hardly think so, but I shall take the liberty of ‘phoning you from Gainsboro anyway - and I hope I shall at least hear you speak.
Your last letter came when I was away out in the wilds, living in a granary and - worse than all - batching it. Spent two weeks that way, and it rained every day. Gee! It was fierce. One of the men went to town one day and brought back your letter. It was wonderful how bright the rest of the day seemed, and the days that followed were not nearly so lonely and disagreeable. But you should have seen the latest dishes of dainties I evolved as chief cook. The recipes have never appeared in any of the standard cook books, but believe me, they should be there. I am writing a couple of articles for the Telegram this week and I think I shall insert a few of my discoveries. We certainly lived high anyway. We took out condensed milk as we have no cows there, but one morning I spied a herd of cattle on our summerfallow so I said of the boys, "How would you like cream on your pie today." They laughed, but a little later I hiked off with a pain to look at the cattle. I picked out a very fine looking cow - a heavy milker, and returned with half a pail of the lacteal fluid. The weather was cold so we has no trouble in getting good thick cream and from that day forward we used cream on pie, in tea, on fruit, honey and everything else that it was possible to do, until we were ashamed to look that old red cow in the face. We haven't found out yet whose cows they were.
My sister, Ethel, is making doughnuts and he knows my failing so well that she has brought in a plate of them and set them down in front of me. They are equal to anything I ever attempted.
My other sister, Cora, and her chum Miss Macknight are here also, going to Normal so we have had a very pleasant couple of days. Brown has been with me and we have been doing some tall hustling these days, getting out medical examination, transportation, and various other red tape matters fixed up. However everything is complete and prospects are rosy.
Speaking of threshing, you reminded me that Saskatchewan is still behind Manitoba in that respect. We haven't threshed a bushel yet. Would you like a job in the granary? You should be in good training now. Some chore-boy alright! However we do not have much shoveling to do as we haul all the grain except feed and seed direct from the machine to elevator.
Just now we are building a new house on our main farm. We used to have a good house there but it was burned down a couple of years ago and since then we have been rather cramped in a smaller place, waiting for more prosperous times in which to build. It takes some intricate engineering and frenzied financing, I can assure you when things go wrong, such as the hail storm has caused things to do this year. The first few years are so trying and strenuous and often discouraging. My brother and I have only been running these farms for 4 or 5 years and it has been a constant struggle to meet payments and keep everything running. That was one reason I was so loath to leave for now it will be necessary to sell 3 or 4 of the farms as Albert cannot handle them all. We are negotiating now for the sale of some of them. As an indication of what calls for some tall scheming I might tell you that our payments due this year amount to over $20,000 while since the hail has come the total value of the crop is less than $15,000.
Here I am at the end of the 6th page and when you wrote 5 pages to me last time you said, "You will think I am wound up." But you said you liked long letters, though I think you meant that you had to like them since I always write that kind to you. But really, I am going to quit now.
I was amused to hear of all the nicknames you are used to. "Snookie" is a new one to me. That's what the boys used to call Miss Snyder. I don't think she ever knew it though.
How did you get along judging? Be sure and tell me about it. Did you judge vegetables and chickens as well as fancy work?
You asked me about that debate. It is still postponed as the one who was sick is still under the weather. He has been ill almost constantly for 3 years, and it looks like TB. We were arranging a debate with Wolseley for Oct. 19th but now I shall not be here for it.
And now I must ‘can' it.
I hope before long that I shall see you and I shall look forward to your letters when I am away, for I want all the news, particularly when you get to the M.A.C. I am sure you are looking forward to College again.