Gladys Taber begins the month in her wonderful philosophical way. She remembers a covered bridge when they first moved to Stillmeadow. It was in quite bad shape.
It was narrow and rickety and set at right angles to the road on either side, so that getting across safely and into Seymour to shop was a delirious adventure. You just never knew. Maybe this time someone would be coming in as you turned out. The old boards rattled, the bridge shook slightly. But how I grieved when the bridge was torn down! ... Even crossing it in a car, you could imagine driving over behind a pair of horses, clop-clop-clop-clop. You could imagine all the people who had crossed this river in long-gone days. It was like opening an old book for a moment and looking into yesterday.Are there covered bridges all over the US (the world?)? Around here they are kept up quite well, and are still used. They are so special. The wood, the darkness, the sound. When I was a kid, I made a wish whenever I went through one, and actually still do!
Some writers would leave the subject right there, but not Gladys. She goes on to say
There is always something sad about change, even a change for the better. On the other hand, things must change, for there is no vitality in what is static. When I look at people around me, I sometimes think that when people reach the day in which they can see no good in anything different and new, on that day they begin to die. The will to live and the will to grow are the two foundation stones on which humanity is built. During all difficult days, I am determined to keep new interests going, lest I bog down in worry and anxiety.She then goes on to talk about the weather, as most of us do, much of the time. Especially this summer. I didn't have one conversation that didn't mention the awful heat, and then the relief when cooler weather came back. Never have I thought seriously of getting an air-conditioner. But I feel I wasted about ten days of my life being miserably hot and unable to do much at all. We'll see if it comes back next year, and if so, we will look into one. The weeds have grown exponentially. They have crept in amongst every flower plant and vegetable plant. I probably should show you. I will be brave and do so. I'll warn you - not a pretty sight.
The tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, and chives have done well, but boy, it looks awful. I feel like if maybe the inside had been cool, I might have been able to spend a few minutes weeding, and then gone in to cool off. Done over and over again, this mess might not have happened. So, as I said, we'll see.
Gladys has a very humorous passage on the perfection of houses and gardens juxtaposed with real life (see pictures above).
Sometimes I am irritated by the decoration experts. The last article I read was about a woman whose house was full of whimsey, said the writer. It was. It was simply bursting with whimsey, if by whimsey she meant a lot of impossible colors slung together and toned down with gilt and red velvet and dark green. When I reached the room where "the dresser had been whimseyed up with white and gold," I uttered a frightful sound and rushed away. Passing rapidly through the living room, which has no whimsey at all, I entered the kitchen and proceeded to whimsey up the stove by cooking plain golden wax beans and a panful of beets with no humor in them. I afterwards scrambled eggs with chicken livers, and whimseyed up the table by putting on the knives, forks, and plates.I just loved this passage!
Gladys talks about a summer pastime.
What I like is berrying. Up the hill to the old pasture land on a summer day, with an old lard pail hooked to my belt - that is something. The pasture is full of blackberries and nobody takes care of them but God. There they are, rich and purple-black, and smelling of sun and summer. They fall in the pail with soft plops, each one a perfect little nugget of goodness.When I was a girl, women used to talk about "going berrying." I wonder if anyone does this now. We are fortunate to have blackberries growing up the hill, ready for the picking anytime anyone goes up. They are a result of the logging we had done four years ago. The trees are cut allowing in the sunshine. The first thing that appears is grass, and then brush and berry bushes. Tom took a picture when they were first coming.
Here is a batch that Matthew, Margaret, and Hazel picked on a wheeler ride.
I haven't been up because I don't like riding on the wheeler, and I haven't walked because at first it was too hot, and now we have loggers again. They are doing a small cut this time, and as Tom said, the next cut will be done by our kids in 25 years!
I'll end this month with Gladys writing about those early morning fears we all have. She is woken up by her dogs barking.
If it is around two o'clock, I can't get back to sleep. All the assorted worries that any woman acquires wait to pounce on me. I worry about the world situation. I go into anguish over the possibility of not being able to pay next year's income tax. I feel perfectly sure Cicely will marry some no-account man who will be an albatross around all our necks. Dorothy will be misled by some charmer who dances well and has the brain of a hubbard squash. My sinus and arthritis and a lot of unknown diseases will do me in within a week or so. ... These and other two-in-the-morning thoughts keep me occupied for some while. All those dandy little articles on not worrying run through my head, to no avail. I know I should think of pleasant things and relax, but I can't think of any pleasant things to think of. I relax so hard that both pillows fall under the bed and I have to get up and fish them out. My mind goes like an electric mixer on high.