The wild blackberry vines are heavy with bloom, white blossoms that are full of promise. Will it be a blackberry summer? We are hopeful, as the late winter weather killed the early apple crop. Farmers are at the mercy of the weather, and are thankful for rain and right now, we are badly in need of rain. The grass on the lawn is scorched in spots, and the garden plants are begging for a drink of water. We watch the sky hopefully for the least sign of a rain cloud, and listen for a distant rumble of thunder. Yet we know that God will send the rain.

In spite of the dry, hot weather, mornings are deliciously cool. It is a pleasure to awaken early and sit in the porch swing while the morning is bathed in dew. The songbirds’ tribute to the morning is sweeter then, and the solitude is soothing before the world is beginning to come awake.

When the sun goes down behind the hills, and the last rays give Pilot Knob a golden glow, we take pleasure in the “cool of the day.” It is my favorite time of day, when the evening shadows are beginning to gather, and the spark of lightning bugs flicker on and off.

We sit on lawn chairs under the maple tree and watch the grandchildren play their last game before their mother calls them home. Three year old Hunter (he is quick to tell you that he’s almost four) has entertained us all evening. I believe that child was born talking. I told my sister Mary Ellen that he has always talked like an adult.

I noticed his face was downcast, and I asked him what the matter was. He replied quickly, “You said I was a dolt, and I’m not a dolt!” He is a great-grandchild, and lives across the driveway with his older sisters, Morgan and Molly. As I watch them run and play, joined by grandchildren Nicholas and Taylor (who live across the garden!) I am reminded again how thoroughly blessed we are.

We have several requests for poems and songs, and especially for Mrs. Robert Long of Holden, J. D. Beam (where are you, J. D.—Nevada?) and Mary Sparks of St. Albans, here is the poem requested.




The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the winter’s day.
The street was wet with a recent snow
And the woman’s feet were aged and slow.


She stood at the crossing and waited long,
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng
Of human beings who passed her by
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eye.


Down the street, with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of “school let out,”
Came the boys like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow piled white and deep.
Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way.


Nor offered a helping hand to her—
So meek, so timid, afraid to stir
Lest the carriage wheels or the horses feet
Should crowd her down in the slippery street.


At last came one of the merry troop,
The gayest laddie of all the group;
He paused beside her and whispered low,
“I’ll help you across, if you wish to go.”


Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,
He guided her trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong.


Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.
“She’s somebody’s mother, boys, you know,
For all she’s aged and poor and slow,


“And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand,
“If ever she’s poor and old and gray,
When her own dear boy is far away.”


And “somebody’s mother” bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said
Was, “God be kind to that noble boy,
Who is somebody’s son, and pride and joy!”


by Mary Dow Brine


I can hear Mom’s voice now as she recited that poem. It was the last one she remembered as her memory faded, and could only recite parts of it here and there. There are so many snatches of song that she sang through the years that stays in my mind. One was “Oh, the birds were singing in the morning/And the myrtle and the ivy were in bloom/The sun o’er the hill tops was dawning’/’Twas then they laid her in the tomb.” Does anyone know the rest of that?

We promised to print the song, “The Old Man of the Mountain,” so here it is:




With a long white beard and a crooked stare,
He tramps along with the folks all scared;
With a twinkle in his eye, he passes them by,
The Old Man of the Mountain!


Oh, he wears long hair and his feet are bare,
They say he’s as mad as a grizzly bear,
His cares are none and he fears no one,
The Old Man of the Mountain!


He talks with the bears when he’s lonely,
He sleeps with the sky for a tent,
And he’ll eat you up when he’s hungry,
And it wouldn’t cost him a red cent~


And he’ll live as long as an old oak tree,
He’ll eat up fools like you and me,
Oh, I often sigh and jump and cry
At the Old Man of the Mountain!


We had a request some time back concerning gophers eating flower bulbs. Sharon Pugh of Hacker Valley wrote concerning them: “They are actually not gophers, but voles. They are a mammal with rat-like teeth, small eyes, and brown with a grey belly.”

“I found my flower bulbs all gone this spring, lilies that had been planted more than 10 years. I thought it was moles until I found a rose bush cut off underground that looked as if a beaver had chewed it. The ground was full of holes, and I sat mouse traps at the holes and set a bucket over them so as not to catch birds. I caught seven voles.”

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Alyce Faye Bragg

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