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The evening sun dips below the horizon as another hot and humid day comes to a close. A pink tinge in the western sky is the only reminder that a bright sun ruled over the day, but twilight is closing in, and day is done.

The frantic pace of the day slows, and the strident cries of the daytime creatures are stilled. Jarflies and cicadas, with their harsh, discordant noise that resounded in the heat of the day, are silent now.

The continuous activity in the maple tree, where the pair of robins fed their nest of little ones since early morning, has quieted. They are warm and secure in the topmost branches, covered by the soft feathers of the mother bird. They, like the day, are going to sleep.

Dew falls heavily on the grass, as night shadows creep closer from the shaded areas of the creek and wooded hollows. A light breeze springs up, cool and refreshing. The night insects begin their low, murmuring chorus, and from a nearby tree comes the lonely quirr of a tree frog.

Katydids are beginning their querulous cry that summer is coming to an end, and there is a feeling of early fall in the air. We were brought up on the old country saying that when the katydids begin hollering, it is six weeks until frost. It could be possible since we have had such an unusual spring and summer.

It is restful to sit on the front porch in the twilight and listen to the night sounds. The only thing missing is the clear call of a whippoorwill. It has been two or three years since I have heard one call here.

Swinging gently on the porch swing, I am reminded of long-ago days when my sister Mary Ellen and I took our two youngest sisters on our lap and sung to them. Jeannie belonged to me, and Mary Ellen claimed Susie. We would sing songs out of the green-backed school songbook. One I remember is, “The day is going to sleep/The birds and the bees are still/The silvery stars and the pale new moon/Are peeping o’er the hill. The flowers are drowsy too/They nod in the dim star -light/They whisper and I am whispering too/Sweet dreams–goodnight, good night.”

That elusive thing called “Time” has carried us to grandmotherhood and great-grandmotherhood. That reminds me of a poem I clipped out of the Grit newspaper many years ago.

By Vivian M. Meyer
Behind the sofa, under the chair,
Little Seth looked everywhere.
A moment before, all shiny and bright
Reflecting a rainbow of pretty light
Caught in an updraft, floating free,
Elusive as ever a thing could be.
Round, like his big brown eyes that searched
That bubble had lingered before it burst:
With his youthful heart enchanted so,
He said, “Nana, Nana, where did it go?”
“Little grandson, sweet and dear,
I wish I could have kept it here.”
As the bubble went, so the moments flee
(When you are older, you will see.)
I look the smile on your little face,
And see your father in your place.
Time is a bubble. I’d like to know–
“Grandson, grandson, where did it go?”

We have had an odd gardening season. With such an abundance of rain, a lot of our plants literally drowned. The sweet pepper plants gave up the ghost and died, a lot of potatoes rotted in the ground and the yellow squash produced some veggies early and then the vines died. We’ve had a few green beans, and the tomatoes are small and scant. The sweet corn is forming ears now, and a pesky raccoon made a raid one night.

This is the first time in my married life that I have not canned a haet (“haet” means a small amount) of anything. Usually at this time I am frantically trying to can and preserve the garden goods, but just as so many gardeners have experienced, the crops mostly failed. We are hoping for a good apple crop to make applesauce and apple butter. One of these days we will have to hang up our pressure canner, fruit jars and canning equipment. But not yet!

I am still receiving sympathy cards and letters from dear folks who can identify with my losing my beloved dog, Minnie. Although it is impossible to write to each one personally, I wish I could. These cards mean so much to me, and I read them over and over. The tears still flow freely. My husband buried her in a little handmade cedar casket, and I am planning to plant a flowering bush over her grave.

One of the many emails that I have received came from a dear friend, Evelyn Hopkins from our own community of Ovapa. It typifies the cards and letters that I have received, and I want to share it.

She writes, “I read your article on your baby Minnie and was moved to tears. I’m sure that many people have similar stories of their beloved pets.

I met my Wonder Dog “Tito” at the animal shelter while donating dog food. They said that he was a Jack Russell and wire-haired terrier mix, and he was eight years old. I hesitated taking him because of his age, but I’m so glad I did.

“He came home with us and immediately wormed his way into our home and hearts. He was very attached to me and didn’t even allow my husband to hug me. He stayed close and was there at a moment’s notice if he thought I needed him. However, he was allergic to pretty much everything, Dr. Young said. He had to have special dog food and allergy shots, but we didn’t mind.

“One day we noticed that he was acting slow, and was bloated. We took him to the Vet and she suspected liver problems. She drained some fluid off his belly, and confirmed the diagnosis. It was a week later that we had to let him go. I held him while she gave him the shot to put him to sleep, and told him how much we loved him as he slipped away . . . On his way to the Rainbow Bridge to wait for me.

“We wrapped him in his blanket and brought him home. Dave had made him a little casket and we gently laid him to rest on the hill overlooking our house, where he loved to play. So folks, please don’t be afraid to take in an older dog. Our time was short with him (2 ½ years) but it was worth every moment. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

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Alyce Faye Bragg

She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer