© Jennifer Giandalone, June 5, 2002

Dear Thosie,

I hope this letter finds you well. Is your lawn covered with pink flower petals from that tree yet? The dogwood must have blossomed by now. I was just looking at the pictures Linda took for me last year, and of course I had to write to you.

It rained so hard last night I expected to wake up to flattened plants in the garden, but all is fine. We need this rain, so I won’t complain. Besides, it’ll water-in the squash seeds I planted over the weekend.

John was golfing with some of his buddies last Saturday, and after I spent the morning shopping with my friend Sue, I spent the afternoon outside turning soil over. I was DETERMINED to plant the rest of everything that needed to get in the ground that afternoon.

Did you get the high winds on Saturday? We sure did, about 2:00. I thought it was great, because turning the soil was hard work, so the wind was pretty refreshing—although it really blew stuff all over the place. I had the dog beds and the laundry hamper out on the deck to get some fresh air, and one dog bed and the hamper ended up "missing" come nightfall. I figured I’d find them in the yard in the daylight. I wasn’t worried about them.

I got tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash in the ground and celebrated my accomplishment with several beers in the evening. I wasn’t expecting John to come home any too early, so I just went to bed at my usual time. I had the windows open so the breeze could sweep through the house, and the air smelled sweet, and I drifted off to a happy sleep.

My golfer got home around 1 a.m. He’d golfed alright, and then some! He and his buddies had stopped at a few "watering holes" on the way home, and he came to bed rather tipsy. I’d been asleep for several hours, so wasn’t really up for a whole LOT of conversation, but he was wound up. He particularly wanted to know what had happened to the hamper and the dog bed. I told him that the wind must have taken them, and that I expected we’d find them in the yard in the morning.

"The wind didn’t blow that hard," he said.

"It blew really hard here."

"Baloney. Now, tell me the truth. What happened to the dog bed?"

"I don’t know precisely, John, but I do imagine it was blown off of the deck and that we’ll find it in the yard in the morning."

We could hear rain drops on the skylight. John got up and closed windows, etc. I resisted saying, "We’ll find a really WET dog bed in the yard in the morning."

"I just looked around outside and I can’t see a dog bed. Jenn, tell me the truth. What aren’t you telling me about the dog bed?"


"John. WHY would I NOT tell you the truth about a DOG BED? Now go to sleep. We’ll find it in the morning!"

"There’s got to be something you’re not telling me."

At this point I turned to face him…

"Just forget about the damned dog bed! (pause) Dear GOD what have you been EATING?"

He’d gotten into pickled eggs, ham hocks, and kielbasa at the Polish American Club and then stopped at a Chinese restaurant and shared a bunch of appetizers with the guys. He smelled like a pickled garlic factory!

At least he stopped asking about the dog bed! And yes, we found the dog bed behind the burning bush the next morning. The hamper had gotten blown into a corner of the deck that was obscured in the darkness.

When it hasn’t been raining, we’ve been getting some truly beautiful days. Clear blue sky. Nice and warm. The flowers in the garden appear really happy. I’m happy to report that the "late spring" installment of plantings also looks bright and colorful.

We haven’t been re-visited by the bear –yet—though there was an article in the local paper warning people that bears are really "thick" this year. They estimate there’s one bear per square mile. THAT’S A LOT!! So, as much as we hated to do it, we’ve stopped feeding the birds. It’s been heartbreaking, as we’ve had all sorts of pretty birds at the feeder. Bears have been breaking into houses however, so it’s not worth the risk anymore. We’ll start putting seed out again once the bears go back into hibernation.

Our latest encounters with wildlife have involved a poor little painted turtle that Rocko brought home in his mouth. I wasn’t wearing my glasses and naively thought he was tossing a piece of tree bark into the air. Then I caught a glimpse of its belly and rescued the creature. Rocko had done a number on its shell, so I set the turtle up on top of the wood pile in hopes of distracting Rocko and getting him in the house.

Then I forgot about the turtle for an hour or so! I found it on the ground, stuck on its back. John rolled it over and brought it down to the woods, and then we started to prepare supper.

About 15 minutes later the turtle was back in the yard, turned over on its back! The only dog out in the yard that entire time was Peanut Brittle. It’s hard to imagine that she could have retrieved something that heavy, but she must have. There’s no way that turtle could have gotten back in the yard that quickly and turned itself over on its back.

I grabbed it and brought it down to the edge of the pond, and kept all of the dogs in for about 2 hours. Haven’t seen it again. That poor thing!

Next, the snapping turtles will come to lay their eggs in our nice warm carpenter’s fill. I’ll have to keep a watchful eye out, as the snappers are very large and could do some serious damage to the big dogs even, let alone the squirt. I don’t even want to think about what could happen to her!

We’re hoping all is well with you. Whenever I notice it’s 4 in the afternoon I think of you and your martini. I wonder if you all go out for supper together on Saturday nights. And of course, I always think of you when I get a cup of clam chowder!

Give my love to all.

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