Recent Weather, Mrs. Arp, the Children, the Dog, and Other Comments – Bill Arp, 7/11/1886

Recent Weather, Mrs. Arp, the Children, the Dog, and Other Comments – Bill Arp, 7/11/1886

It is impossible to be calm and serene this kind of weather. For thirty days it has rained every day except three. In
all that time we have plowed but a day and a half. The farmers are in grass and trouble. The wheat has sprouted to the
shock. Late oats fell down and could not be cut. Tom Moore says he will have no more biscuit and corn bread scratches
his throat I’ve been watching and waiting for a month to sow cow peas on my stubble land, but just as l get ready it rains
again. Three times I’ve plowed about half a land and had to quit. If it don’t rain in the morning it gets up a shower in the
afternoon and sometimes comes down in the night. The ground is so full that most every rain makes a flood. Our branch
that crosses the road gets on a boom every few days. We had hauled lumber to the meadow to build a fence, and the other
day the water got on a tare and overflowed, and the plank and posts were floating around loose and drifting to the current,
and so Carl had to put on some old clothes and swim across and drag the plank to higher ground. Our foot logs and water
gates have gone down the branch to the creek and down the creek to the river and down the river to the Gulf of Mexico.
John Rowland says he reckons the rain will stop now that the elections are over. for the heavens were weeping for the lies
that were told. John is the coroner, and was sent for yesterday to come to town quick and hold an inquest. When he got
there the boys told him it was the Bacon party that was dead and they wanted to know what killed it. John is a Bacon man
and had liked to have fit. After every rain my wife has the plaza door washed up so that the dogs will have a clean place to
walk on. If it wasent for the children and dogs I dont know what she would do for a living. The flies have come by the thousand
and I sometimes hint that flies will haunt a dirty house. The grand-daddies are meandering around and keep her and
the girls in a lively condition. The little bats peartin ’em up at night as they skim around the room. Wish I had a tame one
that would come in when I didn’t want company. I told Carl that bats eggs were worth ten dollars apiece, and he was
hunting all round for a nest until his mother told him they didn’t lay eggs.

One of our peafowls lost her young in a storm and the other has quit her nest because it was watersoaked. The little
guineas were drowned out. The watermelon vines won’t fruit and are sickly. Snap beans don’t taste good and the beets
and squashes are watery. Our little chaps thought the shepherd dog’s tail was too long and they squared the end with
a pocket knife. They found the old cat in the orchard and set all the dogs on him and said they thought it was a rabbit.
They have worn their heels out making knuck-holes and their big-toed out making rings for mantles. They lose their
pocket knives and Mrs. Arp scolds and declares they shall never have another, never! And sure enough she buys
them another before Saturday night. I wonder where she gets all her money. She always has money. I go to bed
first every night and am asleep in two minutes, but she don’t come in until away in the night. She is reading a love
story in the parlor and my money slips away just as easy. She always did have an idea that it was my business to
keep her in money, and I reckon it is. She gave me a pair of shoes the other day. She is mighty good to me. We all
play whilst some nights and I let her beat me just to keep things calm. and serene. l’ve seen some men beat their
wives at cards and brag over it, but they didn’t have much sense. It is thundering right now, and sounds like war
cannons away off. Most every evening we will sit in the plazza and watch the clouds bank up in the west about
sundown, and the children shape them in their fancy to the image of lions and horses and boats and giants and
all sorts of things just like folks always did, I reckon. Mr. Shakespeare did, I know, for Hamlet says: “Do you see
yonder cloud that’s in the shape of a camel.” Polonius: by the mass ’tis like a camel. Hamlet-Methinks it is like a
weasel. Pol.-It is backed like a weasel. Ham.-Or like a whale. Pol.-Very like a whale. And so the clouds shift and
change like a huge panorama until the curtain of night falls before them. We have rainbowws now single and
double, and I never see one without thinking of that bag of money that lies hidden at the end.

The katydids have come. They came last night, and some folks say it will be just three months to frost-three months to
a day. These little musicians in green uniform don’t play but one tune. a very monotonous tune. But they play it loud
and play it long. They make a kettle drum of their bodies. and rub their overlapped wings together so fast you can hear
the scraping for half a mile on a still quiet night. In a month the females lay their eggs in the split of a tender limb, and
then they die. One glorious month of noisy life and that is all. But who does not give joyous welcome to thei katydid. It is
like the annual visit of the junebug, or the swallow, or the whippoorwill, that love the habitations of man, and are not found
in the wilderness. The junebugs are late this year. The children have found but two to tie threads on their legs and let them
float in the air and zoon. But they will come now since the corn is beginning to tassel. I never saw such corn. On the bottom
land it has outgrown the grass, and is all in a strut. It has not had but ont plowing, and will never have any more. It is too
late now to be fooled with. and will make a crop rain or no rain. So we will have corn and potatoes anyhow, and that is more
than some folks have. Sweet potatoes are splendid, and can’t be cut off now. The Irish potatoes are good, too, but are hard
to find, for the weeds have covered them. The peaches nave rotted and the apples are specked. The grapes are still sound,
but can’t stand much more water. We have a sheep or two to spare, and a fat shoat, and are going to have a family barbecue
when the children come. So it is all right, rain or no rain, and we are going to he as happy as we can. There is no politics in
these family barbecues-no fuss, no fight, no repentance, no axes to grind. I used to get awful tired when I was a boy turning
the grindstone. That is what the people are doing now-turning the grindstone for the office seekers to grind their axes. I
saw Dick Hargis yesterday. He was lectioneering for the legislature and stood up a little higher than I ever saw him. My
corn is awful tall this year, and I want Dick Hargis to help me pull fodder. He could stand flat-footed and strip a stalk right
down so easy. Then when he gets to the legislature he would sympathize with farmers and talk up for them.

We will have to and Major Foute because he hasent got but one farm and cant pull fodder. If a man fit for his country and
is fit for office and wants it, I’m for him. There is nothing too good or too honcnble for a patriot who showed his faith by
his works. People may say that the war is over and all that, but the men who fought it are here yet, many of them, and
I honor them for their courage and seem sacrifices they made. Some of our people are ashamed of the whole business
aad excuse themselves by saying ”The politicians drew us into it.” I am ashamed of them. I have a contempt for any man
that talks that way. I wish that all our people could read the letter of Benj. J. Wiliam, a well known Masschusetts man, that
was recently published with favorable comments in the Lowell, Mass., Sun, wherein he says: “The demonstrations in the
south in honor of Mr. Jefferson Davis are of a remarkable character and furnish matter for profound cosideration. Twenty
-one years after the fall of the Confedenry he suddenly emerges from his long retirement and everywhere recieves the
most overwhelming manifestations of heart felt affection, devotion, and reverence. Such manifestations as no existing
ruler in the world can obtain from his people and and such as were never before given to a public man, old, out of office
with no favors to dispense, and disenfranchised. “Such homage is significant-startling. It Is useless to attempt to disguise
or evade the conclusion that there must be something great and noble and true in him and in the cause to evoke his homage.”
But I will only add the conclusion of this letter-the most admirable and gratifying that has come from any source since
the war. I know that your two hundred and fifty thousand readers will thank you for publishing it all-every word-for there
is not a waste word in it, and so I send it to you, with my earnest request that you give it to them In full. It has cheered
me up and restored my southern manhood. He says in conclusion: “The confederacy fell, but she fell not until she had
achieved immortal fame But few nations have ever won such a series of brilliant victories as that which illuminates
forever the annals of her armies, while the fortitude and patience of her people, and particularly of her noble women,
under incredible trials and sufferings, have never been surpassed.” When such sentiments come from a northern man,
who like the great and noble Webster is surrounded by not only passion and prejudice, but fanaticism, and when a
Lowell paper dares to publish them with favorable comment what may we not hope for. Will not justice be done even
in our day? Will not our maimed soldiers have a reasonable prospect of living to be placed upon the pension rolls
of honor and draw the back pay that is justly their due?

Last Updated on January 13, 2021 by Bill Arp

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