Isn't it nice to hear the weather report being given and our four-letter word of snow in the forecast being replaced by another four-letter word, rain, which will be most welcome to wash away the grime of winter. After a long cold winter I can hardly believe that we made it through March without a major snowstorm.

It begins to look like spring has finally arrived as the snow is melting. We can actually see around the corners that were so snow-packed that you couldn't see if anyone was coming or not when driving.

When you look out across the fields there are patches of black dirt coming through, and the ice has finally gone out of the river. I havenÕt heard of it being out of its banks as yet, but that could still come.

It is amazing how wide the roads seem now that the huge banks of snow have melted down some. They are still there, but they are definitely getting smaller each day. It is a wonderful feeling not to have to worry about the road conditions or the wind blowing.

We can actually plan to do something and get it done without all of the numerous cancellations and postponements we have been having. I don't know about everyone else, but I feel like I have been let out of my cage and am free as the birds to do my thing once more. And who knows what that might be?

The Union Gospel Mission in Sioux Falls had its annual prayer breakfast at the Oaks Dakota Room in Sioux Falls on Saturday. The speaker was Maisie Sparks. Special music was provided by Thomas Patterson, saxophonist. Among those attending from Steen were Joan Hoogeveen, Millie Klarenbeek, Winnie Scholten, Cornie and Darlene Bosch, Milton Bonnema, Gawaine and Diane Diekevers, Arvin and Cena Mae Tilstra, Henrietta Boeve, Glenda Bonnema, Karen Ramaker, John and Jane Bosch, Arnold and Jane Bonnema, Mildred Keunen and Jo Aykens.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to Elizabeth Elbers and her family on the death of Lizzie's sister, Gertie Haan, on Friday. Funeral services were at United Reformed Church in Hills Monday morning.

Pete Boeve, Sioux Falls, was a Sunday evening supper guest in the Henrietta Huenink home.

Steen Senior Citizens had their April meeting at the Steen Town Hall on Monday afternoon. They had a cold reception as the furnace was not working. However, it was nothing serious and the furnace man had it going quickly. There were 17 present. Cards and games were played. Cornie and Darlene Bosch served the lunch.

The Hills Christian School had their annual salad luncheon Thursday noon in honor of those who do volunteer work for the school. Those attending from Steen were Malena Boeve, Cena Mae Tilstra, Joan Hoogeveen, Mildred Keunen, Bertha Bosch and Jo Aykens.

Orrin and Bernice Aukes visited in the home of Iona (Mrs. Herbert) Eckhoff who now lives in Sioux Falls.

Mildred Paulsen and Bertha Fikse, Woodstock, had noon lunch together at the Calumet Inn in Pipestone on Monday.

Kindergarten Round-Up was Tuesday, April 3, for those children 5 years old who were born on or before Aug. 31.

Steen Reformed Church is sponsoring an all-church roller skating party at the Carousel Roller Rink in Sioux Falls from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 9.

Hills-Beaver Creek Elementary Library had a special event from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday evening for children 0-5 years old. It was titled "Bedtime Stories." The children could wear their pajamas and bring their favorite stuffed animals. What a great idea!

Hopefully spring is here to stay. However, I haven't seen anyone out flying a kite, and we have certainly had enough wind for it. Probably too much, and the weather hasn't been too conducive to going out-of-doors for any length of time. There is one sure sign of spring and that is the opening of the baseball season, and once again you hear the old familiar cry, "Batter Up!"

In my mind spring never really arrived until May when my dad began to plant corn and my mother planted her garden. Everything has speeded up these days, and I know last year at this time there were farmers who had their corn planted in March. However, I never get spring fever until after Easter. The seed catalogues have been arriving, and this helps get me in the mood. Years ago everyone planted a garden, not to get their exercise or for pleasure but out of necessity. Many families lived on farms and very seldom did the women drive, so Saturdays was the time to shop for groceries. If you forgot something - too bad; you had to wait until next week to get it. That was the biggest reason everyone had a garden. They could provide their own food.

Today there are very few people who plant gardens out of necessity. Most of them enjoy doing it and it is more of a hobby, even though they do raise many of their own vegetables as well as lots of flowers.

When spring arrives it always reminds me of the Scripture from the Song of Solomon, "For lo, the winter is past, the rain (snow) is over and gone, the flowers appear upon the earth; the time of singing of birds is come."

Spring means different things to different people. However, here are some things that remind us all of spring. The bird bath in the backyard where papa robin stops for a sip while house-hunting. A display of purple violets in our lawns, a little boy and his daddy with a big red box kite and daddy flying the kite. People out raking their lawns. The bright blue sky overhead. Little children helping parents clean the lawns and getting gardens ready to plant. Frisky little squirrels frolicking in the backyard. Easter lilies reminding us we know that spring and Easter are synonymous of rebirth.

We must seek the quickening of land, feel once again the warm benediction of the sun and smell the fragrance of blossoms in the air.

As we are sowing our seeds on farms and gardens and our window boxes let us remember that as a family we are also planting seeds of character in our children's lives. Character's soil is fertile as well, made up of a rich family history and a sense of pride in carrying it onward to future generations. It is nourished with faith and a commitment to values. It, too, requires a lot of tender loving care. Just like the plants in our gardens there is no guarantee that our efforts will be productive. We can only have faith and hope that we have done our job well.

In these days of technology let us never forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of civilization.

The nation's farmers provide us with food and other necessities of life that we all take so much for granted. If it were not for the farmers there would be no food in the supermarkets, no people living on the land. Our lives would be cold and barren without them. Just remember the highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.

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