Column: Summer winding down, but winter can’t remove memories

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 19, 2002

So we draw to the end of summer. Have you ever seen a summer fly so quickly? It’s been a wonderful season. In mid-May I had house guests for three weeks, a houseful that would have delighted my Aunt Edith, with at least one guest sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag.

The guests brought other guests, not as overnight visitors, but for a daily visit. One of them was a professional concert pianist from China and she gladdened our hearts for more than an hour with her magnificent music.

It hasn’t been my good fortune to have such a splendid houseful for that long since, but almost every week I’ve had at least an overnight guest or two. Among them in August were two young women, daughters of two of the cousins with whom I grew up. The one lives in Lincoln, Neb., and I have seen her from time to time, since she was a preschooler winning special awards on her horsemanship. Though she was not yet old enough to enter as a 4-H member.

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The other cousin, cousin once removed really, spent most of her life in California, so we had never met until this year. Though I have had letters from her so beautifully written that I turned green with envy. Not dark green, you understand, but certainly green.

The woman who gave me the rundown on our family history told me that everyone in our family wrote, but that they were wicked people, the Pierces. One of them owned the Mayflower, according to my informer, and having put the overcrowded ship at the disposal of the Pilgrims (rented, sold? whatever) immediately notified the pirates in the area through which the ship would sail, hoping for a slice of the profits when the pirates held the voyagers for ransom.

I can’t vouch for the pirate story, but the writing part is probably true. I’ve heard about a great-great-grandfather or uncle or something of the sort whose four-year-old son fell into a large crock of cream. The man writing in his journal an amusing account of the kid’s mishap and his struggle to get out of the cream, would probably have let the child drown if the maid hadn’t rushed to the rescue and extricated the little one.

Both my cousins write wonderful letters and it was a joy to pass on to them the stories about the family that I’ve heard all my life.

Nor did my marvelous summer end with the departure of my guests. A week ago Sunday I had lunch with three dear friends in Faribault. Two of them I had not seen for what seemed to me a very long time and it was a joy to be with all three of them.

Last Saturday afternoon I went with Jim and Maren Ring to a cabaret performance by Albert Lea Harmony Junction Chorus at the Albert Lea High School Auditorium. The program also featured a number of quartet presentations of songs, both moving and amusing. The concert ended with a standing ovation for the singers.

Sunday noon I had dinner with my Bohemian friends at the Union Center and ate so much that I was ashamed to look anyone in the eye afterward. Fortunately Henrietta Brabec, who invited me, is too kind a person to make me feel like a glutton.

I am not a winter person and am always a little sad to see summer come to an end. I tend to go into my melancholy moult and think of poems having words concerning dying swans and country churchyards.

Ran across lines from an ode by Horace, translated into English poetry by John Dryden, which was of some comfort, particularly the last two lines;

&uot;Not heaven itself upon the past has power;

But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.&uot;

Love Cruikshank is an Albert Lea resident. Her column appears Thursdays in the Tribune.