September 1911

My dear friend,

I never would have dreamed that I would hear the sound of rain beating on the roof and give a silent cheer. After our soggy spring the sun came out in August and has blessed us forcefully and continually until this morning. I feel a little sheepish complaining about too much sun in this often foggy and chilly part of the country but enough is enough.

The blackberries loved the heat and my family is actually getting tired of cobbler. I've made jams and jellies and pies, pickles from hordes of cucumbers that even the raccoons have tired of eating and the apples are shining like red and yellow jewels on every apple tree in town. There's only so much apple sauce one family can ingest and I'm afraid we may have met our limit. The phrase “ feast or famine” comes to mind as I complain about our bounty and I can only hope Mother Nature will forgive me when I next complain about cold summers and no produce as I'm sure I eventually will.

The family is well and the children have gone back to school which means I have a little more time to write letters, dust in the dark-est corners and start projects for Christmas. Mother Orchard has taken on a hair-weaving project and is determined to incorporate the families initials into this piece. I don't have the patience to work with the hair-like wires and the hairs themselves that the art requires and I wonder at not only her patience but her amazing ability to see well enough to complete such a daunting project. We have one piece hanging up-stairs that she completed when her mother and grandmother were alive and I marvel over the pale blond hair she fashioned into flowers as a remembrance of her “Grammy”, someone who was gone long before I came onto this earth. I will admit only to you, Anna, that I suspect Mother Orchard may harbor an alternative motive for beginning such a detailed and meticulous project.

As I mentioned when last I wrote, Marsha Watson was planning an extended visit to our town and has in fact, arrived and settled in. We foolishly entertained thoughts of her choosing rooms downtown so as to give her more space to “spread around” but she of course pre-ferred to ensconce herself in the bedroom upstairs, giving herself ac-cess to the bathroom, the best view of the canyon and the only room in our home that affords any privacy. I have listened to Lewis grumble and grouse until I'm ready to take rooms downtown myself! I believe Mother Orchard began this project as a show of artistic talent in order to compete with anything Mrs. Watson might have brought in her volu-minous traveling bag, As you may remember Marsha had written to us not only announcing her visit but asking detailed and personal ques-tions about our handymen, “ the Grumble brothers”. I found it hard, no, impossible to believe that she had any interest in either one of them as they are as uncouth as any two men could possibly be and Marsha will (and often does) describe herself as a cosmopolitan and sophisticated lady.

The men were aghast when I mentioned her apparent interest in them and swore they'd take a long hunting, fishing and camping trip into deep woods when she arrived. Unfortunately they were sitting on the pier fishing and imbibing when her steamship docked and they were both addled enough to forget what I'd told them about her earlier ques-tions. I'm sure they figured they'd get a handsome tip by offering to carry her fourteen(!) bags and trunks up the hill to our home. They got their tip but also got talked into joining her for a walk the next morning.

As near as I can figure she's planning an extended trip to Europe next year and has asked one of them to join her! The two men have put all thought of impropriety aside and are now arguing over who will take the trip! Of course they've discussed what they see as the pros and cons of taking her offer in every bar and tavern in Port Orchard and the whole town is talking of nothing else. Mrs. Watson favors the won-drous new Titanic as her mode of transportation across the Atlantic and I've heard the brothers discussing the possibility of “seeing the guts of the ship” during the voyage and how the engines must surely be counted as one of the eight wonders of the world! The companionship and social requirements of such a journey seems hardly to have entered their minds as they ooh and ah over pictures of boilers and pistons and steam valves.

Anna, I cannot believe all of this is even happening and the thought of one of our dear, inept and somewhat simple minded handy men taking off to Europe with Mrs. Watson seems out of the realm of possibility. Lewis swears he will tie them both to a tree until they come to their senses but as I mentioned before, my money is on Mrs. Watson.

I will definitely keep you supplied with the details.

Still in shock,


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