Musings from the Hill, Oct. 22, 2015
The Maple Leaf celebration was this weekend. I was fearful our gorgeous trees, which briefly turn our town into a fantasy world, would not perform their magic in time for our festival. In September, remember, dry brown leaves drifted slowly down on the streets of town—not a glimpse of color could be seen.
I shall now return to the scenes of my childhood. When piles of leaves to play in were raked, with much effort, by “people power,” (machines with huge collectors came later). When we first moved to our beloved house above the Douglas County State Fishing Lake, after the older children went their different paths, my daughter, Candy, and I spent hours raking leaves. Some we used to protect plants for winter. Others, we tucked in black plastic bags and laid along the northern house foundation to thwart cold winds. Leaves also provide free fertilizer. Take advantage of nature’s free gifts.
When we were children, we frequently chanted ditties. Often they taught us useful knowledge which was easily remembered because it rhymed. Some being, “Skin-ery, rink-a-dink, skin-ery rink-y-do, I do love you,” and “One two button my shoe, three four shut the door, five six pick up sticks, seven eight lay them straight, nine ten, a big fat hen, eleven twelve dig and delve, thirteen fourteen maids a courting, fifteen sixteen maids bewitching, seventeen eighteen maids waiting, nineteen twenty that’s aplenty.”
I called Kathy our Baldwin City librarian with a query (are you aware the library is available to answer queries?). They have never failed to answer any odd request for information I have often sought.
A long-ago poem I remembered from my youth crossed my mind as I contemplated this column. Kathy did not remember it — she is from a later generation. Is anyone left from my time upon this earth? They are keeping us living longer and now they don’t know what to do with us. I recalled the first verse correctly. I did not know there were two more verses or that it did have an author named George Cooper.
I remember the first verse from memory, “Come little leaves said the wind one day. Come over the meadow with me and play. Put on your dresses of red and gold, for winter is coming and the winds grow cold.”
Kathy found two more verses of which I had never heard, “Dancing and leaping the little leaves went along until winter called them to end their sweet song. Sing fast asleep in their earthly beds, and the snow lay a coverlet above their heads.”
Maple Leaf is introduced by a huge parade, the only thing left is the huge cleanup and the relief of having our parking back.