Rumors of people leaving Pine Ridge for the city go mostly unnoticed, as Lum is still bogged down by that government form he’s been filling out lately. He finally has it done, and it has him wore to a frazzle. Most of the questions had him confused, so he mostly just wrote down, ‘no.’
Cedric enters, and is probably the only person to greet someone with, ‘Wonderful world’! It has been a year since the adventure with Diogenes Smith, the originator of the greeting. Cedric has news about his pinball playing, working at the defense plant, and more people who are moving out to work in defense plants elsewhere. Nobody can afford to work their farms any more.
The phone interrupts the worries over Pine Ridge turning into a ghost town. Even Little Pearl and one of the Barton girls are planning to leave town to train with the nurses corps. Abner shares some of the family secrets involving Little Pearl’s getting packed, and wanting to wear the latest styles. No long underwear for her. A phone call from Dick Huddleston lets Lum know what that questionnaire was all about. The findings from it will determine whether there’s enough business in town to merit keeping a truck route going through town, or have it routed somewhere else.
Note: Abner mentions Mary Wood. I know her. In 1943, she was a spry 39 years old, had 2 kids, and would soon have another on the way before the year was out, while she did all that woman’s work on the farm. Though she drew the line at the heavy field work: driving tractor, plowing, harvesting, and the like, she handled most of the gardening, canning, chopping kindling, keeping the wood stove going, and using the old style scrub boards, with lye soap to do laundry. Not to mention pumping water from the well and keeping water boiling for taking baths in wash tubs. I know all this, because Mary Wood was my grandma. I’m pretty sure though, that she never actually lived in Pine Ridge.