Days of rain and overcast skies. Friday afternoon and night rain. Saturday and Saturday night rain. Sunday partly sunny. Monday and Monday night rain and overcast. Tuesday rain and overcast. By early afternooon Tuesday there were sunlight, warmth, and 100% humidity. The yard is saturated. Low places are filled with water. Grass and weeds continue to grow. Some say these are days to stay in and rest. I have been outside each day. I noticed that the early autumn colors have a beauty wet that is not present when they are dry beautiful. On South First Street is a dogwood whose leaves are rich, wine red. Maples are half-turned, both orange and red. The weeping willow tree in the neighbor’s yard is just beginning to hint of yellow. Mockingbirds dominate. As I noticed early in the summer, there is one on each block singing, evincing the joy that I believe is at the hear of the creation.
If the Republicans dominate in the upcoming election, I shall frame the cover of the September 24 issue of The New Yorker, a cartoon by Roz Chast, and leave it on the wall for four years. Entitled “Send in the Clowns,” it is a scene of a fair. A clown points the way to the fair. The area is filled with large banners: “Drill, Baby, Drill” “Stop Obamacare” “Red Meat” “Family Values” “Everyone Welcome *Certain Restrictions Apply.” Enclosing the merry-go-round is a fence proclaiming, “GOD BLESS AMERICA.” The horse on the merry-go-round is smoking a lighted ciagarette, and its rider is the wealthy Monopoly icon with top hat. The merry-go-round is named “Free Enterprise.” There is a large building of the N.R.A and a big sign says “SEE THE ELEPHANTS*” Milling around are Chast’s Doofus-like people with idiotic smiles. Brilliant satire.
Readings of the week: Fiction, Margaret Maron, Last Lessons of Summer. I don’t recommend it. It’s entertaining, but it does not convince the reader with character, setting, or culture, as other book by Maron that I’ve read. Non-fiction. Julia Canaday, Big End of the Horn (1956). The book is family memoir, written in chapters that are either character portrayals or narrations of family adventures. It is set at the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century. It’s sentimental in tone; think of the television series, “The Waltons.” It provides good insight into the life of small town professionals and farmers in southern Johnston County, NC. Miss Canaday uses dialect well, as in this exammple of the meaning of courage, “Bein’ brave don’t mean not bein’ scared. If you’re not scared there’s nothin’ to be brave about. It means goin’ on and doin’ what ought to be done spite o’ being scared to death on the inside.” One of the most memorable characters is the character of Aunt Viney, the daughter of slaves. This description of chicken stew is memorable: “If you’ve never tasted old-fashioned chicken stew cooked in an iron pot, seasoned with with black pepper and simmered down to just the right degree of goodness, then you’ve been cheated out of a big slice of real living…For the chicken stew you must have a fat, young hen (and if half-filled with little yellow eggs, all the better)….The book has been long out of print. I did an internet search and found that a used book dealer in nearby Greensboro was selling a copy. There was only one other copy listed as available. I was glad to drive to Greensboro on wet Saturday morning and buy the book.
It was a rare treat last Friday to ride with friends up beyond Taylorsville to buy apples at Deal Orchard Store. From I-40 west of Statesville, we drove up Sharon School Road into Alexander County on Paul Payne Store Road. There is beautiful farm land there and a stretch with a long, white picket fence. We continued into Taylorsville, a small town with many houses for sale and a square around the courthouse and the nearby large and active Republican Party headquarters. We continued up Highway 16 through Sugarloaf Community and had a good view of the Brushy Mountains. I asked about Vashti Road and found that Vashti was a post office and not much else. Still, I’d like to drive there sometime. I bought a small bag of Golden Delicious apples for myself and for sharing with friends and a half-bushel to take to a friend in Smithfield, who had a cousin there who sent her apples every fall so that she could make apple cakes. It was a treat to ride instead of drive. The rain started as we drove into Alexander County and continued off and on throughout the trip and my drive home Friday night.
I enjoyed Jack’s mapping our trip as we traveled. I’m amazed that a GPS device can project a map, including names of country roads, like Vashiti Road, and speed limits and our speeds. When we crossed into a town or community and the speed limit changed, I noticed that Jack marked the changes as they occurred. When we were on the Catawba River bridge, Jack marked us going over blue for the river, and as soon as we were over, he marked us on highway again. I don’t get to watch Jack’s doings much when I drive.
Thank you for reading. I hope your week will be good.