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They say you should never follow the crowd because everyone might be going to the dentist. Good advice. But yesterday I went to see my dentist. She took 4 x-rays which showed no more decay than she could already see. She had the tech polish my teeth. I HATE that gritty stuff! And she fitted me for a guard to keep me from grinding my teeth at night. That was not fun.

But these two pictures are fun and should redeem this post. The first is a Christmas tree Hannah drew a month or so ago.

The second is the octopus she drew a couple of days ago. She’s especially proud of it, because, as she says, “It’s the first octopus I drew.”

from What Tommy Did by Emily Hungington Miller

The first day, of course, was Sunday. Sunday always comes first in my week, though I have heard people say it came away down at the end, after Saturday. It came first in Tommy’s week, but he didn’t know much about it until he waked up one morning and found the sun shining very bright, and wondered why his mamma didn’t get up and dress him. Then he crept out of bed, and went to the window, and stood there in his night-gown, watching an old robin that was feeding her babies with worms for breakfast. The baby robins opened their mouths very wide, and seemed to relish their breakfast, which reminded Tommy that he wanted his own. But when he turned around from the window, he saw his new red trumpet lying on the floor, and he picked it up and blew it very loud indeed. It waked up everybody in the house. Bridget thought it was the milkman, and clattered out to the door with one foot half way into her shoe; and Tommy’s mamma opened her eyes very wide, and said,

“Why, Tomy Bancroft! didn’t you know it was Sunday morning?”

And that was the first Tommy ever remembered about Sunday. After breakfast, Uncle Jim didn’t go to the city, but sat and read with his pretty new slippers on, and Tommy was dressed up in his white linen clothes and buttoned gaiters, and had his yellow hair curled into queer little curls that didn’t stay in very well, and went with his mamma to a great house with a bell on the top of it. They called it a church. Tommy’s mamma told him he mustn’t talk in church. There were a great many other people there, and nobody talked at all, except one man in a kind of a box high up at one end, and that man talked all the time. Tommy thought perhaps he didn’t know any better. There was a little girl in the next seat, with a blue and white feather in her hat. She looked at Tommy a good deal, and Tommy looked at the feather. He wondered if it was a rooster’s feather. He thought that he should like to have a rooster with such feathers. Then the little girl’s hat began to move about; then there were two hats and two blue and white feathers — Tommy saw them; then three hats, then four, then the whole air was full of them, and Tommy laid his head down on his mother’s lap and didn’t remember any more.

They must have gone home after a while, for Grandma Bancroft was there to dinner, and she had her black velvet bag with beads around the bottom. Tommy liked to play with the beads, and sometimes Grandma Bancroft used to open the bag and give him some caraway seeds, or red and white peppermint candies. This time she gave him two raisins, and asked him if he could tell her about the sermon.

“They didn’t have any of them fings to my church,” said Tommy, innocently.

He thought about it while he was eating his raising, and then he said,

“Was that what the men passed around in the boxes, dramma? I didn’t take any of that. Wish’t I had.”

Grandma tried to explain about the srmon, and told the little boy that the minister was trying to tell the people how to be good. But Tommy didn’t understand.

“He didn’t speak to me, ‘tall,” he insisted; “kept talkin’ to himself all the time. Course if he talked to me I should understood him; what you s’pose?

But, by and by, mamma took Tommy on her lap, and told him all about Samuel, the little boy that talked with God; and about David the shepherd boy that slew the great giant; and about Jesus, the dear Savior, who lived and died to save just such little boys as he; and then Tommy felt very good and very loving, and meant to mind his mamma as long as he lived, and always let the baby have his red ball and his trumpet, and say please to Bridget, and not cry when his face was washed. He said his little prayer very earnestly and heartily, though he was sound asleep two minutes afterward. And after that, Sunday always came regularly in Tommy’s week.

What Tommy Did is a book I picked up at an estate sale. It’s no longer under copyright and it’s a fun and easy little read. I plan to type a chapter now and again as I have time so I can share this little book with others who will enjoy it. It was written by Emily Huntington Miller and copyrighted in 1876 and again in 1904.

The girls got new dresses today. Charlie’s mother sent this Strawberry Shortcake fabric so I could make something cute for them. I finished these today. I’m also making short bloomers to go underneath. One pair of bloomers is finished. The other should be ready tonight or tomorrow.

I asked the girls to do a fashion shoot for me and they got silly so this picture is what I got.

Not much time, but here is one quick picture from the reunion.

Ruth on Saturday

We're home from our vacation. For anyone reading who doesn't know, we went to Piney Point, Maryland to visit Charlie's mother's family, then spent a day and a half in Stephens City, Virginia with his father's family. The drive was long and by the end of it, Josiah was screaming and kicking whenever we put him back in the car seat. Poor baby.

The Maryland folks killed the fatted calf for us, which means they had a crab fest for us, with both boiled hardshell crabs, and fried softshell crabs. Brats were provided for those of us who preferred not to eat shellfish. The girls learned how to charm pennywinkles. They made a decoration for the house by coloring and gluing shells, pennywinkles, and a crabshell to a piece of driftwood. Charlie got to see family members he hasn't seen in 25 years. We all had a wonderful time and will share pictures soon.

At 2 1/2 months! She giggles when I kiss on her neck and when the girls tickle her. It is almost unspeakably sweet.

This is one of my favorite poems.

To a Waterfowl

-William Cullen Bryant

Whither, midst falling dew,

While glow the heavens with the last steps of day.

Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue

Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler’s eye

Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,

As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,

Thy figure floats along.

Seek’st thou the plashy brink

Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,

Or where the rocking billows rise and sink

On the chafed ocean-side?

There is a Power whose care

Teaches thy way along that pathless coast,-

The desert and illimitable air,-

Lone wandering, but not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned

At that far height, the cold thin atmosphere,

Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,

Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end;

Soon shall thou find a summer home, and rest,

And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend,

Soon, o’er thy sheltered nest.

Thou’rt gone: the abyss of heaven

Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart

Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou has given,

And shall not soon depart.

He who, from zone to zone,

Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,

In the long way that I must tread alone,

Will lead my steps aright.

I love the poet’s artistry in the words “Thou’rt gone.” I can feel his reverie break as he speaks to the bird.

I pray that my form will be swallowed in the abyss of Heaven.

I appreciate that the poet doesn’t romanticize the bird’s life. The bird will “scream” among his fellows rather than warble sweetly in his rest.

The bird will do what he was made to do. His quest to that end, and the end, are protected by the Power, who also protects the poet, and me.

I'm abandoning my old blogs. I was tired of my old username. I have wanted for a while to be able to categorize my posts. I also have been looking for a blog server which will provide better service than my old server. I wanted to combine all my interests in one place. So here you will find family updates, personal musings, a sewing journal, and whatever else I want to blog about.