Enjoy these lazy days of summer

Now that summer has decided to stay for a while, we can quit worrying about whether it is too wet or too dry or too cold or too warm. Sit back, sip a cold drink, make potato salad and meatloaf or fire up the grill, whatever you prefer. Enjoy the fruits of your labors, literally and figuratively.

Let’s take a quick look at what’s been happening here. Nothing momentous (more on this later) but noteworthy.

Antics

Bingo has been on safari with limited success. Somehow a teeny mouse showed up in the middle of the night. Bingo was in hot pursuit. For a good hour she tortured the poor little creature, catching it and letting it go but never really hurting it. It sounded like an elephant was gallumphing around the room, as Bingo is no lightweight.

Finally there was silence. Bingo was exhausted. So was the little mouse. I found it catching its breath on a throw rug. I bundled it up, took it outside and it scampered away. Just think of the tale it will tell its family, like, “You’ll never believe what happened to me!”

Winnie has continued her thieving ways. There was a head of romaine lettuce on the counter, awaiting my attention. When I came in from the barn, guess what? My smiling thief must have had a wonderful time as she had shredded it — all over the bed. Oh, well. The heat hasn’t really bothered her. She simply sleeps through it as the little air conditioner keeps her comfortable as it does me.

Houdini

Toby has perfected his escape artistry. There are two snaps on his gate and you better remember to hook both of them or he’ll bang at the other until he gets it open so he can stroll through the barn. Fortunately there are high gates at each end of the barn but he hasn’t yet figured out how to open them to the great outdoors.

I couldn’t believe my eyes the other day: a great ungainly, ugly bird was in the boulevard and I recognized it as a turkey buzzard. It was “cleaning up” what was left of a young skunk that had been killed by a car. Later I could see the bird soaring, no doubt looking for something else to clean up.

Stressful event

To make a long story short: I had contracted with a local and well-respected tree service company to cut back my wonderful roof-high, 50-year old lilacs. A case of poor communication resulted in their being cut down! I was furious and saddened. Only the threat of a court procedure — I had the written work order that specified cut back — got action and an agreement to replace the irreplaceable. Talk about stress …

I promised to tell you more about the book, A Secret Gift. The author, Ted Gup, found a cache of letters in a trunk in his grandmother’s attic, all of which contained correspondence to his grandfather, Sam Stone, under the fictitious name of B. Virdot. An immigrant who created a new identity for himself — Sam Stone was not his real name, either — and settled in the Canton area, he had done well.

At Christmastime in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, he published an ad, offering $5 to the first 75 persons who wrote to him and explained their need.

Comparison

If today’s victims of the Recession, think they have troubles, they are lucky compared to the respondents’ letters whose needs for the huge sum of $5 were basic: food and clothing. These people were desperate. They had no jobs, had lost their homes and savings — sound familiar? These letters will haunt you and will remind you that ,as hard as things are, they could be ever so much worse. The book is a must read.

Do you ever read your horoscope in the daily paper, just for fun? A recent one for my sign, Aries, read, “Greater physical challenge will improve your life on many levels. Initially, your motivation to push yourself may be low, but you are going to feel better as a result of doing this.”

I am?

About the Author

A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More Stories by Janie Jenkins

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