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Steven and Trixie

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My copy of Robert Frost’s poetry

My husband listens to me. I acknowledge that I am truly blessed with such a man. Our first Christmas together, (dating, not married), he gave me a book of the complete collection of Robert Frost because he remembered that in Sunday School years before we ever dated I said Frost was one poet that I actually liked.

One year, after marriage, in my stocking was a chocolate orange because he remembered that I said we often got oranges and chocolate in our stockings when we were growing up.

And this year, I got four more Trixie Belden books.

The goal is for me to have the whole series. I have through number 15 now (and an outlier, #29).

Trixie Belden books were my favorite as a young girl. When we went to the library I would get as many as I was allowed to check out. They weren’t kept on the main floor of the children’s room, but behind the door of the storage room. I can see it in my head. . .having to take a left after going in the children’s area. The children’s room librarian even came to the point of just waving me into the room instead of asking me which ones I needed. I see young me standing there behind the door picking the next three.

I wanted to be like Trixie and Honey and have my own club like the Bob-Whites with a club house. I wanted to solve mysteries and go on adventures. I wanted to like horses, but I just didn’t really. I hoped bicycles would be a good substitute.

My Trixie Belden collection, minus the four I received yesterday. . .they’re in the bedroom waiting to be read.

Steven knows all this. Cause he listens. He also knows that for my eleventh birthday I asked one of my uncles (who I shall not name to protect) for a Trixie Belden book. I received an autographed copy of Hiroshima Diary. A wonderful gift. . .but I was eleven. I’ve never quite gotten over it.

I find that even though I’m relatively sure that at least one of my gifts will be at least one more book for my collection, I’m super excited to get it. I’m also super excited to read it and remember the joy it brought me as a child. It brings me joy again, maybe in a bit of a different way. {I also find myself amused with some of the cultural things, namely gender roles, that have shifted over the years.} But I like reading them and remembering that little girl and her dreams. And seeing how she turned out and what kind of adventures she does get to have.

PS. Titling this post was super hard. . . .

Overdue Ode

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When I was twenty-two, I bought a house.  My dad chuckled at the elderly gentleman next door as he watched us move me in.  Daddy said he was trying to decide what kind of trouble I was going to bring to his peaceful neighborhood.

Mr. Campbell was in his sixties when I moved into my little house.  He eyed me warily for some time.  I think what broke the stand-off was when my little kitten disappeared, and I knocked on his door asking if he’d seen Jack.  He hadn’t, but he came out of his house to help me look for him.  Told me about how his daughter loved kittens too.  Then, as reassurance I suppose, he told me he didn’t think he was dead because we would smell him.

From there, we developed an easy, if tentative, relationship with each other.  I’m not sure Mr. Campbell knows how much I admired him.  I regret that I didn’t make sure he did.  When I moved next door, he couldn’t read.  I’ll never forget the pride and sparkle in his eyes when he told me that he’d reached the fourth grade level.

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I looked for a picture of my house, but this is all I have on the computer.  It was in the last year of living next door to Mr. Campbell, and though his health was failing, you can see he still had a small garden close to his persimmon tree.

He had a deadly aim with his shot-gun.  Killed a groundhog, or something in that family, from his back door that was eating his greens.  But what was most important to him was coming next door to let me know that had the shot been too close to my dog, Daisy, who was in her lot, he wouldn’t have taken it.  Then, like a little boy, he asked me to come see his kill and pointed out the green teeth of the collard thief.

Collards. Peppers. Cabbage. Squash. Tomatoes. Eggplant. Green beans. Broccoli. You name it, he grew it.  It took a while for him to offer his bounty to me. My favorite was when he asked if I liked collards.  I said, yes sir! Especially how my grandma cooked them.  He walked over to the collard patch, yanked up the whole plant, and handed it to me.  I’m sure he was amused at my face as I stood there holding the plant, roots dropping dirt at my feet.  He chuckled, told me how to clean them, then said, “You call your grandma to find out how to cook ’em.”

And that’s what I did.  They were good.  Not hers, but good.

Mr. Campbell never came into my house, and I never went into his.  But we looked out for each other.  I’d lived there for about fifteen years when I put a sign for my church in my front yard.  He walked over to make sure it wasn’t a “For Sale” sign.  That’s when he told me.

“I couldn’t ask for a better neighbor, Miss Season.”

I couldn’t either, Mr. Campbell.

Mr. Campbell died not long after Steven and I got married.  It made moving not quite as difficult.

We didn’t have a fence, but I was lucky to have good neighbor.