Visiting Neighbors

royIt is Saturday afternoon and I am anxious to walk down to my Uncle Roy’s house, which is about a half hour away. The chores are done. Ma has been using the scrub board all morning with her Fels Naptha soap and after she wrings the clothes I help her hang them on the line. Our clothes line goes from tree to tree at the edge of the woods and she has special forked poles that she props up the line so we don’t lose the clothes in the dirt and dead leaves.

I have a special friend I visit every week-end if I can.  I think she has been around for quite a few years because Ma has pictures of us kids that my friend took when we were quite small.  Her name is Gladys Bailey and she works all week in South Paris or Norway. On Friday night she comes up to Greenwood Center and stays with my Uncle Roy Martin.  She is very good to me and loves to have me come visit.

Ma gives me permission, so I start out on my journey. Grampa Martin is sitting on the porch and yells, “Hi Sandra” as I go by and I wave back to him. I don’t see Grace or Charlie Day as I pass by so they must be grocery shopping this afternoon. My Uncle Dwight’s house is so beautiful and stands up like a mansion overlooking Twitchell Pond. I think it is one of the finest houses I’ve ever seen!

The summer people have gone home and the Pralls cottage is locked up for the winter and soon I come to the ledge. This is where the tarred road ends and there is dirt the rest of the way. I don’t mind because when I walk, my mind wanders and I think about poems I might write or I look for birds in the trees. Soon there is the old mill that my Great Grandfather Ransom Cole built and the bridge over the brook that leads to Uncle Roy’s house.

He always has a smile on his face and Gladys always hugs me and asks me how my week has been. Sometimes she brings me a pin or some little doo-dad she picks up at JJ Newberry’s in Norway. I love to look in my uncle’s living room because everywhere there is a treasure he has carved. There is the Lincoln Memorial he copied from a picture. I don’t know what kind of wood he uses, but maybe it is pine, since there is a lot around here. I asked him one day what that huge toadstool carving was on the wall and he said that is the Burma Road and said it had to do with World War 11. It is so beautiful that it is a shame he cannot sell some of his carvings. There is one I don’t quite understand but I think it is President Franklin Roosevelt who might be fishing and a bear in front of him with his fish basket  and Pres. Roosevelt looks like he has a fish in his hand, but oh, the bear in back has taken the President’s flask and has the cork in his left paw and is drinking from the flask. There is something missing from the President’s hand and I am not sure if there was a fish pole or an oar or what. But it is a mighty fine piece of carving. Maybe Uncle Roy was making a political statement, but I don’t ask him because it would not be like him at all. Maybe he saw a cartoon and carved it . Who knows!!  Gladys says he is like the wind…he blows here and there and you never know where he is or what he is doing. She always laughs.

I always look forward to seeing Gladys because she is  so jolly and she makes me laugh. I don’t think I should ask her about Uncle Roy taking  her fishing for the first time. They stood side by side and Uncle Roy was trying to show her how to cast the line. I guess she was doing pretty well, so he kind of tended to his own fish pole and let have at it. But then she made a mighty sweep of the line and the hook caught Uncle Roy right in the nose. Well, he let out a yelp that could be heard in four counties and Gladys turned around and said, now what seems to be the matter. Well, then she saw what was the matter and with uncle squirming around, she finally got the hook out of his nose. She took him home and put some antiseptic on it and he told Dad he was never going fishing with her again. I heard that story when Dad was telling Ma and laughing so hard he almost fell out of his chair.

I know Gladys is tired and she only has a day and a half before she catches a ride back to South Paris for another week of work. I stay about a half hour and start the walk back home.

I keep thinking as I walk what a nice friend she is to me. The only girls I see are at school since my cousins moved away. I don’t use the path through the woods any more and it is very lonesome sometimes.

Twitchell Pond is looking a little darker and choppy. It won’t be long before we might have a squall which will take the rest of the leaves off the trees. I can’t wait til next week-end when I can visit Gladys again. My stomach has a warm feeling.


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