1 Victorian toilet
Tom and collaborated on this poetry broadside (or "broadsheet," as they are sometimes called). Tom wrote the poem and I drew the drawing. We gave it to Nancy, Tom's sister, for her birthday. Nancy now owns the property where this venerable out-house still stands, just down the driveway from our house.
Here's the poem for those of you who don't have a magnifying glass to hand:
When I pulled with my tractor the dead
oak limb poised to crush the out-house,
and it fell, kicking off a patch of shingles
and scarring the roof, I wondered at
that out-house, unused now sixty years,
thought of your satisfying plops and farts,
Russell, you who built it next to your magnificent
concrete bridge, you, dead now half a
century, who sailed your yawl to
old charts stashed in the main house still
bearing your waypoints and courses,
and your meadow, boat-house, wooden
row-boats, the long brass telescope
to watch, you said, yachts run aground
in the cove, all of this in the place you
gave abruptly to our family sixty years ago,
I thought of you, relieved in your
outhouse, planning projects with your
shackles and lines, your taps and dies,
your water-cooled grindstone, and I thought
of your wife reading her French newspaper,
brewing tea to serve on the fine china
that you also left in this house on the
coast, a gift of high kindness by you, to us.
Scout, a golden retriever, and Tia, an English cocker spaniel, are both bird dogs. They hunt duck, quail, and pheasant. I watched a demonstration by Rose, Scout's sister, last weekend, and she is impressive! She heels, sits, waits, and then fetches -- all on command. She responds to voice, hand, and whistle signals -- all with alacrity. She finds the birds (dummies, in this case), she brings them back, she releases them, and then she begs for more. It's amazing to watch a dog who is so enthusiatically committed to her work!
I should add that this working relationship is much like the one I have with my dog, Kinsey, only in reverse. Kinsey gives the commands -- voice, paw, eyebrow -- and I hop to with alacrity. I'm sure my eagerness to work on Kinsey's behalf gives her great pleasure, too.