Principal products – dates
(This one is August 13, 1944)
Prevailing temperature for the past week was 95°. Still no rain. Laufer’s corn has dried up on the stalk – – no tomatoes, beans, peas or other fresh vegetables we used to look forward to serving newly gathered from his farm as a special delicacy to regale the pallets of our favored guests (Aunt Elsie is now with us for her vacation week). I have not had to use the lawnmower for over six weeks. There is a touch of green in the grass only beneath the shade trees – – the “lawn” is just a patch of bare, brown, dead grass. The brook is as nearly dry as I have ever seen it. However, due to the new reservoir, there is as yet no scarcity in the city water supply. Victory Gardens hereabouts are sorry looking affairs – – reminders of what might have been. We now call them “Defeat Gardens”. One redeeming feature is that it has been too dry for any mosquitoes to hatch out so one can sit on the porch evenings without slapping. (Jean has just walked into the room with a nice tall glass of cold grape juice, and gee, does it taste good.) A nice long ocean voyage would go well just now.
And speaking of ocean voyages, a wounded Negro soldier was about to be landed from a hospital ship just reaching port. A medical officer asked if he had any personal belongings to be taken ashore. He shook his head. “What, no souvenirs from the fighting front?” “Captain,” said the boy, “Ah ain’t got no souvenirs. All ah want to take home from dis here war is just a faint recollection”.
And apropos of recollections and Dan’s reference in his last letter to putting his French into use, reminds me of our famous trip into the Gaspé country when I went up to one of the farmhouses to see if I could wrangle some fresh eggs. They couldn’t understand my English and I couldn’t understand their French. I finally made with my hands what I thought was the shape of an egg. With a gleam of understanding the girl rushed into the kitchen and brought me back a spoon. In desperation I imitated the sound of a hen and pretended to break an egg on the edge of a frying pan. “Oui. Oui”. ouf, ouf she said and proudly brought forth some eggs. So then I learned that the French for eggs was ouf.
The rest of the week will be devoted to this letter Grandpa writes to his boys scattered from Alaska to California to Brazil to Missouri to France. Each portion is a little shorter than usual but that is the way the natural breaks occurred.