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Delta Dawn When the Light Comes On With Ivy Joy Johnson

“For I, wisdom, dwell with prudence to find out knowledge and discretion (reasoning rightly and judging justly) to [bring forward witty inventions]. Proverbs 8:12 NKJV and KJV

When I tell people that I attended country school by airplane, they find it a bit incredulous. This is how it happened.

North Park, Colorado, has an average snowfall of 132 inches per year. We lived off the main dirt road, so getting children to school was somewhat of a challenge. My father was up to it, however. He took some sleigh rungs, built a little cabin on top with a windshield from an old car. It had an arch at the bottom which allowed harness reins to come inside. Dad furnished it with a couple of bales and we huddled under Mom’s quilts made from the good part of used up Levi’s.

We children dressed warmly, and sat close together, during the 3-mile trip. Our strawberry roan team lumbered along the lane for 1/3 of a mile, down the hill to cross Hell Creek, strained up the hill to the hundred and sixty, plodded, diagonally to the ‘highway’, until we arrived at the school house, nearly frozen. This took a little over an hour. Dad trekked back across the hundred and sixty, down the hill, across Hell Creek, up the hill to the lane and home in about as much time.

At some point, my father thought this exercise was cutting into his workday. He consulted with my uncle, a former Naval Air Navigator, World War II. He wasn’t a pilot, yet, but had an airplane fuselage just down around the rocky ridge behind the school house. He mounted it on sleigh rungs, added the back seat of a defunct car for student seating, tuned up the engine and flipped the propeller. Whip – whip – whirrrr!

With success on his side, he zipped around the ridge to the school house, across the hundred and sixty, down the hill, across the creek and up the lane to our house! We flew to school in 10 minutes, two decades before the Ski-doo was invented.

My children seem unimpressed to learn I often walked uphill, both ways, in the snow, going to school. Yep. Until my Junior year in High School. By then, Dad had built a D-7 Caterpillar from 30 bushel baskets of ‘Cat’ parts, found some tracks and affixed a dozer. We no longer had to park across from the house on the main road; just cross a deep ditch, descend to Hell Creek, climb up the opposite side, drive 13 miles to school and reverse it all before evening chores.

Father God cares for us and prefects that which concerns us, for without Him we can do nothing! “Instruction is plain to him who understands and right to him who finds knowledge, for wisdom (answers we need, when we need them) is better than rubies, silver or fine gold.” Proverbs 8:9-11.

Next week: The Pearl


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