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Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years: 1900-1905 (vol. 5)

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    Little Forays that Rested Mind and Body

    Ellen White contrived to arrange affairs so that short, practical trips could be made that would rest her mind and body. Somehow, traveling by carriage did something for her that nothing else could. She was to attend the California camp meeting in Oakland in early June. As she planned to stay through the entire meeting, a home near the campground was rented for her use. She made the thirty-five-mile journey from St. Helena to Vallejo by carriage, for she felt she needed the relaxation and rest that she would thus gain. She continued the trip to Oakland by ferry and by train, but the carriage was brought on for her use during the camp meeting.5BIO 121.2

    There was a trip to Healdsburg to see what needed to be done with her home there. It was only a few blocks from Healdsburg College, and she had kept it since its purchase in 1882. Now, with the securing of Elmshaven and the decision not to reside at Healdsburg, she must arrange to fix up the building and rent it till it could be sold. After it was refurbished, she would rent it to Alma McKibbin, who was writing Bible textbooks. The home would be occupied by Mrs. McKibbin, her mother, her grandmother, and her younger brother, Alonzo Baker.5BIO 121.3

    Ellen White felt that she needed to spend the day in the open air and so made the thirty-five-mile trip by carriage, giving her heart and head an opportunity to rest. It was to be a full day, so they left Elmshaven at four o'clock in the morning. Sara McEnterfer and Maggie Hare were with her in the carriage, which was driven by a young man who wanted to journey to the college. About halfway they stopped by a brook and under the shade of a tree ate their breakfast.5BIO 121.4

    Looking over the Healdsburg house, she decided what must be done and made arrangements for the work. This included repapering the whole house and painting it inside and out. The $10 a month that Mrs. McKibbin would pay for rent would in time cover the expenses. In the next year or two, whenever she went to Healdsburg, she visited the home. It held many memories for her, and she loved it.5BIO 121.5

    The first time Ellen White visited the home after Mrs. McKibbin moved in, she asked whether she might go out and look at the orchard. There was an acre and a half of fruit trees at the back of the home. Mrs. McKibbin observed that though Ellen White was a short, somewhat stout woman, “her step was very light.” She stepped “from the top of one furrow to another just like a bird.” She knew every tree there and remarked about the planting of this one and that one. She loved the orchard and the garden.5BIO 122.1

    A large pine tree stood in the yard at the side of the house, a carpet of pine needles covering the ground around it. Looking down at the needles, Ellen White remarked, “‘Sister McKibbin, we will never see anything like that in the new earth. Nothing will ever fade there, there will be no death there.’”—DF 967, Alma McKibbin, “My Memories of Sister White,” February 15, 1956.5BIO 122.2

    On the occasion of another visit she wanted to walk through the house. As they crossed the rather large enclosed back porch and passed the bathroom that opened into it, Ellen White said, “‘Sister McKibbin, away out here!’” and then commented, “‘But really it was a great convenience, after all.’”5BIO 122.3

    To this Mrs. McKibbin replied, “‘I find it so, too.’”5BIO 122.4

    Then Ellen White said, “‘I think, Sister McKibbin, I should like to go upstairs.’”5BIO 122.5

    “‘Very well,’” her hostess replied, and led the way.5BIO 122.6

    “‘You have put a handrail on,’” Ellen White noted as she ascended the rather steep stairs. “‘I should have had that when I lived here. It's a great help in going up these stairs.’”5BIO 122.7

    When they got to the head of the stairs, Mrs. McKibbin opened the door to the room on the southeast corner, and said, “‘Sister White, this is my room.’”5BIO 122.8

    “‘Oh, is it?’” she said. “‘It was my room when I lived here; and you have your desk just where I had mine! The light is so good here.’”5BIO 122.9

    She crossed the room and leaned on the desk and paused in silence for a minute or two. Then she looked up and said, “‘It's here that I finished Patriarchs and Prophets.’”5BIO 123.1

    “‘Did you, Sister White?’” Mrs. McKibbin responded. As she was a writer of church school Bible textbooks one may understand her appraisal of the book as her favorite. “‘Now,’” she said, “‘it will be much more precious to me.’”— (Ibid.)5BIO 123.2

    The room held a fireplace, as did three other rooms. “‘Do you use the fireplace?’” she asked. “‘No, Sister White, I cannot afford to use it. Fireplaces use too much wood.’”5BIO 123.3

    By the gate was a big rose geranium. “‘Oh,’” Mrs. White said, turning to Willie, who was with her, “‘that rose geranium is still alive that was here when I lived here.’” Then addressing Mrs. McKibbin, she said, “‘May I have a leaf? You know, I love the fragrance of the rose geranium; and to think that it's still here!’”5BIO 123.4

    So Ellen White carried away with her a branch of the rose geranium. The next morning Miss McEnterfer found it under Sister White's pillow (Ibid.).5BIO 123.5

    But back to July, 1901. As to the therapeutic value of the trip to Healdsburg, she declared, “When we closed the journey I was feeling better than when I started.”—Letter 213, 1901.5BIO 123.6

    Not long after this she thought up another “therapeutic” drive. This was in search of a cow for her son Willie. She and Sara, their carriage pulled by a young colt, started up Howell Mountain about ten o'clock one Wednesday morning. Optimistically, they had expected to return by lunchtime, so they had only some tarts and a few crackers along. The young horse went up the hill readily enough, but they found the drive down the other side of Howell Mountain into Pope Valley, where they would see the cow, to be very disagreeable.5BIO 123.7

    When the women reached the valley, they sought a way home that would not involve going back down the steep grade they had ascended in the forenoon. They were told that there was a road that would take them fourteen miles to the Napa Valley and then on to St. Helena.5BIO 123.8

    “We found a beautiful road,” wrote Ellen White, “and romantic enough. Had few hills to ascend, but the way seemed very long and we inquired and found the distance from Pope Valley was twenty miles. We were in for it and we must go through.” That trip around by Berryessa Valley ran into the early evening.5BIO 123.9

    Finally, when they reached St. Helena, Sara found a telephone and put through a call to Elmshaven. She knew everyone would be concerned, for Ellen White had gone on the trip because her head was “refusing” to work and her heart was paining her. The call came just in time, for the farm manager, Iram James, had a wagon all hitched up, ready to go look for the women.5BIO 124.1

    Commenting on it, Ellen White said, “You would think by the joy expressed when we got home that we had been like the lost sheep, just found.”— Ibid. As to the cow, it seems to have been forgotten.5BIO 124.2

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