Tuesday, November 24, 2009


After considering his grief and loss Albert Camas said, "The fall is brutal, but we set out again." Time passes and that empty place will be filled. I still hope to transfer my time and energy into a memorial of Brandon. It will be entitled "Thunder in His Wings". I have a lot of material but have not found the best way to organize it. Therefore, I am at a standstill. Perhaps the upcoming change of location will inspire me toward resolution.
In a casual manner son Tom recently told us that he'd harvested a few potatoes this year. I was not surprised. One of his childhood nicknames was "Potato Riggs" because nearly every day he'd put on his potato hat, fill his potato bucket and carry it next door to my mother. I have a photo of him leaving our house with the bucket of spuds. His innocent smile crowned by that old hat gave him a shine of achievement. He was a working man! Annie remembered how we used to sit near the wood pile to peel potatoes for supper. Soon a few healthy potato plants sprouted and by late summer we hand dug a boxful of good spuds. Tom said, "That's all I did. I planted peels." Missy was proud of Tom and pleased that they had grown food together. It can be bonding.
Thoreau has written "that husbandry was once a sacred art." He suggested that we need more festivals, processions and ceremony instead of "heedless haste". In a scolding tone he wrote, "...the landscape is deformed, husbandry is degraded with us and the farmer leads the meanest of lives."
Historian and educator Howard Zinn said when he was a boy there were no books in his home. But one day he found a book in the street and that lost volume became his great treasure. It was soiled and pages were missing but he read it again and again. It was one of those early Tarzan novels (I forgot the title). Zinn's splendid mind fed itself on those 10 cent words and he grew into a man of conscience and extreme courage. The first novel I remember reading was a western by Zane Grey. But it did not nourish me so well as Tarzan nourished Zinn.
As a young child I was allowed to select one book from the dusty shelves of a musty used book store on 4th Avenue in Minneapolis. It was in good condition. I'm sure I was attracted by the art. There were wonderful black and white illustrations on nearly every page. Now both covers and the first 10 pages are gone. So I don't know the title but it is a delicious collection of readable poetry. The selection of my first book is stuck in my memory like wild honey. My second book had similar illustrations by Paula Rees Good. It is a 1931 edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verse". I still love those small tattered volumes and sometimes I gently turn their brittle yellow pages to wonder again with that child I was.

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