Books from Way Back

“Ginny Gordon and the Lending Library” was one of the first books my older sister, Hanna, bought for me as a payment for babysitting for her. She was 13 years older than me and I was a very young babysitter, but this was in the 50s when very few houses had locks on their doors. There was no need for locks as crime was extremely rare. The worst thing that happened was that for a few nights someone went up our street and stole the milk money people had put in their empty milk bottles at the end of their walkway, ready for the milkman who delivered the milk in the morning.

I had no reason to worry about being left at my sister’s house without adult supervision, babysitting for her from age 9 until I was about 12. There were only two times that I got spooked, and both times were because of listening (before the days of TV) to scary radio shows. One was a story called The Monkey’s Paw, and another was The Maltese Falcon. I often listened to Richard Diamond detective stories on the radio in those days, as well. Scary stories, but I couldn’t make myself turn them off.

Already, I had a love of stories, so the books Hanna bought for me  were treasures. Each Friday night, when she and her husband went out grocery shopping and to a movie, I waited impatiently to see what the title of this week’s book would be. They were usually published by the Whitman Company of Wisconsin, and cost about 69  cents. After a while I had quite an extensive collection of Whitman books and I loved every one of them.

When you move 800 miles away, it’s necessary to leave some things behind. Books are heavy and take up space, so I was only able to take a few of my treasures with me. Now, decades later, one of my younger sisters mentioned that she had some old books in a box of “stuff” that she salvaged from our parents’ house before it was sold.

Last week she surprised me with this collection of books from my very early days.

Notice that there are two Annie Oakley books in the collection. No wonder we played Annie Oakley games at home. Here is the sister who saved my books, sitting in an old trunk, playing Annie Oakley.

Wasn’t it sweet of her to bring me those old treasures from my childhood days?

Lily

Did you know there are many varieties of lilies?  A friend brought this lily to my garden last year just before it was about to bloom. Somehow the conditions weren’t right for the bloom to last very long so I have been waiting anxiously for it to bloom again this year, so I could take its picture for posterity. The  long-hoped-for rain  arrived the day the lily tried to bloom. Would I be lucky enough to see the flowers this year? Not only did it bloom, but it graced my garden with three blossoms. I see that the first to bloom is already a little “rough around the edges” but the other two are still fresh. Notice the dark pollen on the stamens? Then please read the poem below the photo and tell me if this has ever happened to you.

Dainty lily blooms a while,

When she does it makes you smile.

But if you invade her space

Staring right into her face,

In her bloom your nose you poke,

Be prepared for Lily’s  joke.

Those who sniff her sometimes pay.

Pollen on their nose will stay.

Friends of Tom Sawyer

Where were they when I needed them? I had extra brushes ready too…. Turned out I had to  paint the deck railing and spindles all by myself.

But for next time, I’ll be better prepared. I’ve refreshed my memory on how to get help with painting by reading part of chapter two of Tom Sawyer, by Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain. He published this in 1876 and I’m sure Tom’s method would still work today.

Here is a short excerpt (there is much more that is interesting in the rest of the chapter, but I had to make the cut somewhere):

“Hello, old chap, you got to work, hey?”

Tom wheeled suddenly and said:

“Why, it’s you, Ben! I warn’t noticing.”

“Say – I’m going in a-swimming, I am. Don’t you wish you could? But of course you’d druther work – wouldn’t you? Course you would!”

Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said:

“What do you call work?”

“Why, ain’t that work?”

Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly:

“Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer.”

“Oh come, now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”

The brush continued to move.

“Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”

That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth – stepped back to note the effect – added a touch here and there – criticised the effect again – Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:

“Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little.”

Tom considered, was about to consent; but he altered his mind:

“No – no – I reckon it wouldn’t hardly do, Ben. You see, Aunt Polly’s awful particular about this fence – right here on the street, you know – but if it was the back fence I wouldn’t mind and she wouldn’t. Yes, she’s awful particular about this fence; it’s got to be done very careful; I reckon there ain’t one boy in a thousand, maybe two thousand, that can do it the way it’s got to be done.”

“No – is that so? Oh come, now – lemme, just try. Only just a little – I’d let you, if you was me, Tom.”

“Ben, I’d like to, but Aunt Polly – well, Jim wanted to do it, but she wouldn’t let him; Sid wanted to do it, and she wouldn’t let Sid. Now don’t you see how I’m fixed? If you was to tackle this fence and anything was to happen to it – ”

“Oh, shucks, I’ll be just as careful. Now lemme try. Say – I’ll give you the core of my apple.”

“Well, here – No, Ben, now don’t. I’m afeard – ”

“I’ll give you all of it!”

Tom gave up the brush with reluctance in his face, but alacrity in his heart. 

*****

And so it began, and before long, Tom had a string of boys begging him to let them have a turn. Wish I’d been as wily as Tom. Well … next time the deck railing needs work, I’ll invite my friends over while I’m painting.

Hazards of the Job

My phone has been cutting out in the middle of conversations. Today the phone man was coming to check it out. I remembered then  that the yew tree we had planted to hide the phone wiring box had become rather overgrown and the poor phone man would need a machete to get in there. The picture below was taken AFTER I did a fast trimming job on the yew. It’s still about a foot higher than it should be.

But behind it, on the wall, you can see the phone connection box,and a surprise!

Just look at all the work some poor bird did to make a nest. So many trips carrying mouthfuls of leaves, grass, twigs, and soil. The location was perfect. Hidden, out of direct sun and wind, and up off the ground, this nest was safe and dry. I have no idea what kind of bird nested here, but it had to be something smaller than a robin.

If you look carefully at the bottom of the phone box just under the black wire, you will see why I could never be a phone repair person. I’m glad I didn’t see this eight-legged fellow, even though he’s dead and dried out, until after I had done the trimming of the yew tree.

Having to push your way to a phone box, through all kinds of brush and dead critters, is just one of the hazards of the job. My phone repairman was good about having to fight a few cobwebs today. Very brave of him to come out still smiling.

Every Day is a Gift

Every day on this earth is a gift. How lucky we are to see the sun rise. On some of those long rainy stretches, I  feel that we are lucky to see the sun at all.

Do you have goals for each day? Something you want to achieve before day’s end?

Why not set yourself some achievable goals for the day?

And when the day ends, what have we accomplished? Do you feel good about reaching your goals?

Why not set some more goals for tomorrow?

In the evening when they’re done, take a load off your feet and relax. Maybe you like to read? I do. I read until my eyes close and then I drift off into dreamland.

Need a good book? Try some bargain entertainment by yours truly. The book covers are pictured at the left side of the page. Just click on the images. If you want west coast drama and suspense with a bit of romance, try The Wind Weeps and then its sequel Reckoning Tide.

If you want something with a Mexican setting, follow Sylvia to Baja as she tries to escape her old life and lands in a love affair with complications. Lots of drama and suspense in Orion’s Gift.

For a love triangle in a time of war, although it’s not a war story, try Julia’s Violinist. You will love Julia.

The books are marked down for the month of July in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday.

Did you know that if you don’t have a Kindle, you can order e-books in other formats from smashwords.com?

A Party, You Say?

Yes, wake up Mr.Raccoon. It’s Canada’s 150th birthday party. Imagine! 150 years!

But I’m so cozy up in the crook of this big tree. Will I have to come down to join the party? I saw a dog down there on the ground.

C’mon down, Rocky. We can play party games.

Don’t worry about Emma. She can’t climb. You can watch the celebrations from the safety of your tree. Just enjoy the wonders of living in this great country. Smile, be happy, be grateful.

Well, if you put it that way, of course. I can have my own little party up here in the tree. Plenty of room on this raccoon tree rest. So let’s get the party rolling. Sorry, Emma. I don’t like playing tag with dogs, but would ya bring me a beer, eh? And Happy Canada Day!