Paw Paw River Journal
Today I am writing this in a golden world. I look out of the window in front of my desk and all the trees are shedding their leaves. I have said this is my favorite time of year. But there is another season coming, when the world will be sleeping under a mantle of white. And that has its own beauty. Guess this is the time to write about it, because in February and March winter will be old, and we will all be anxiously awaiting the greenery of spring!
Late autumn has frosty nights. Just step outside… quietness, a feeling that something is coming. Yes, it is snow and cold. The street in front of our house is silent, shrubs around the houses are drooping… just waiting for the stylishness of a new white coat for the season. And when it comes the world will be even quieter. Something about the snow muffles sounds.
Our squirrel and bird feeders are unusually busy, almost as if they know they should store up fat for the coming cold. The finches hide under our hedges, waiting out the cold nights. Someone told me that their little feet have opposing claws, so as they grip a branch, if they go to sleep, the little claws will just grip more tightly. And they fight for perches on the feeders… “No! Get out! This is my spot!”
On the end of our barn Son Rob has put up a corn feeder, so designed that as our furry friends empty the tray, more corn comes down out of the box. Sometimes a squirrel gets inside the thing and just kicks out with all his might. One day he caught a red squirrel doing that. Now red squirrels are the bad boys of our population. They are so nervous, jumping around, gnawing holes in the barn, and generally causing havoc. Other animals do not like them either!
One day there was one inside the box, just kicking corn out in all directions. Our son took a stick and beat loudly on the feeder. This alarmed Mr. Squirrel so much he raced around inside and finally made his escape, jumping for the nearest evergreen. He was so wrought up he did not come back for a while, which all the other denizens seemed to appreciate!
The fox squirrels are fluffed out against the cold. They find a nut treasure and perch in the crotch of a nearby tree, tail spread up over their back for protection from the wind. One day a neighbor stopped to talk with our son. He had been out gathering walnuts and had his car trunk full of them. As they talked, a fox squirrel casually strolled out, sniffed the car all over, and looked very hard to find a way into that trunk. No luck, but it shows how sensitive they are to the nearby presence of squirrel treasures!
Soon icy winds will be howling about the eaves and icicles hanging by the garden wall. That is when we most appreciate our warm kitchen, coffee maker bubbling away, and we are hoping for cozy warmth for all creatures, including us and our friends!
As the year winds down, what have we been thinking of? Well, all the times we got together with family and friends. Some are especially stored in our memories. A luncheon at Arlene Ward’s home… the occasion was a visit with some people with Hartford connections. The Galbreath family lived just up the street from us when we were kids. Bill and I were friends for years. There were seven of them, five of whom saw service in WWII.
Jim, Dick, Bob, Marybell, and Bill all went through those perilous times and returned unscathed. The youngest, Peggy, was not in service.
The oldest, Betty, has a daughter. And she is the one who came to Arlene’s luncheon. Glenda and husband, Tom Buchanan, live in the Washington, D.C. area. They have both served our government, and Tom still works part-time.
They came to Hartford looking for information on their family members. Thus Arlene asked Marion and me to be part of the group, also Deacon Art Morsaw of the local Pottawatomi Native American tribe, and Bob Latus. It was a marvelous gathering, and Arlene is a skilled hostess. Deacon Art is a fountain of information on Hartford history, and Bob Latus has the most extensive data base on local cemeteries that I have seen. We talked and talked over the delicious food, and next day they went with Bob to find their relatives in the local cemeteries.
We have been celebrating birthdays and anniversaries all year long, and the most recent was Son Rob’s. We all gathered around the Chief Accountant’s harvest table and had a pizza party. That was at his request and the huge boxes of Gala T Inn pizza rolled in right on time. Needless to say, we all committed a dietary felony that day!
And we are looking forward to more! Thanksgiving is just past and I put on my best face and watched the huge golden bird being carved. It was most enjoyable! And now we are looking forward to Christmas! Oh, the Holiday season is fast approaching. We will do our best to sample all the goodies! Then we must consider another year and what we are going to do to make it better than the last one. But meanwhile we will just hope to weave more golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in this story book town along the Paw Paw River!