Another friendly letter



Deland's study in Bostonnote the daffodils
This is the blessed time of year that I get to keep daffodils on my desk. They’re angels is what they are. If there’s anything on earth that makes me think that a deity might by some small stretch of the imagination be possible, it’s the seemingly superfluous beauty of daffodils. I’ve loved them since boyhood because I despised winter even then, and when they appeared, I knew that the worst was over. The same is true now. It’s a crappy gray day, but at least I have daffodils, and to tell you the truth, I had just as soon have a gray day with daffodils than a sunny day without. When they stop blooming, it’s as if my best friend died.

 I had to take Brewsky back to the vet bright and early this morning for his bladder problems. It was a sad occasion, my regret being that I couldn’t tell him why I was causing him such misery, and my fear being that he will have to have surgery after all. I’ve since gotten a call from the vet saying his urinary tract isn’t blocked, but that further tests will be necessary.

I listened to the news as I drove and learned that Sanders won Michigan, so I’m wondering if it’s time to give him some more money. Like most people, I don’t want to donate to a candidate who can’t win, but if thousands of optimists hadn’t given him money when it was widely believed that he had no chance, he wouldn’t be where he is. If Clinton should beat Sanders, I’ll vote Green because I so dislike and distrust Clinton that I can’t see voting for her even if it means that an insane billionaire might become president.

Brewsky’s vet trip was my first time to leave home in days, so it felt strange to be out in the heavy morning traffic, driving all the way to Santa Clara. I don’t remember why we chose an across-town vet all those 25-years  ago, but it seems a bit late to change. We’ve had two dogs euthanized in that clinic, and now our pets consist of two cats. I just wish we had someone to euthanize us someday.

There was roadwork along the route making it necessary for people to slow down to let other people merge. I never see such an event without reflecting upon how helpful most people are, at least when it’s cheap and easy. Fortunately, the cost of doing good is usually low in proportion to how much encouragement it can bring. Imagine how you would feel if no one ever let you merge. But why is it that some jerk always speeds ahead of everyone else to the head of the merge line? I block such people religiously, but not everyone is as hard as I, and it is true that the offender might really be in a desperate hurry.

I spent yesterday in bed. I’ve gotten to where every few weeks, I feel so low that I can’t seem to stay up. It’s hard getting old, and it’s hard being in pain. My latest problem is that I ripped the nail on my right thumb back while doing dishes (yes, I know that sounds strange) two nights ago. This is the thumb that I crushed in a door a few weeks after breaking my back in November, 2013. I was so loaded on Fentanyl when I crushed it that it took me a moment to register that I was standing there with my thumb in a shut door (good stuff, Fentanyl—way stronger than morphine), and it has remained swollen ever since (I narrowly missed having to have it amputated). The swelling keeps the nail pushed up, so I’ve been anticipating tearing it off eventually, and although it’s still there, I’m wearing a glove to protect it. I see a hand surgeon tomorrow.

Last week, I bought my fifth Margaret Deland letter. When I started collecting Deland, I was pleased to find that first editions of her books were so cheap, but now that I have all but two of them, I want to upgrade to copies that are pristine, signed, and have dust jackets, although such books are rare and expensive. I’m also looking into having a book conservator repair any defects in the signed copies I already own—I own many. My inventory of antique books is now 27-pages long, and I’ve filled nine feet of shelf space, partly because I’ve started collecting another author—Lebbeus Mitchell.

I feel a bit old to start seriously collecting antique books, but if I had started when young, there would have been no Internet to make it easy to find them, and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the money. As it is, Peggy and I live so cheaply that we’ve yet to dip into our retirement savings (in other words, we live entirely on Social Security), so it seems silly to deny myself something that, no matter how much I spend, isn’t going to break the bank.

I also have the thought that my collection could be somewhat of a blessing to scholarship if I leave it to a university, to which end I’m already making plans. Even if my every book isn’t wanted, the letters surely will be. I’ve thus far been able to buy every significant letter that has come up, and the few that I passed on weren’t worthwhile because of their brevity or, as in the case of one, because only a fragment remained. Why anyone would take scissors and cut away all but a few lines of a letter is beyond me, but that’s what they did.

I find it exceedingly strange to have my life so intimately linked with a person who died four years before I was born. Just by holding something that she touched, I feel connected, not just to her, but to her era, her experiences, her point of view, and even to her ancestor who was burned at the stake for taking a stand against organized religion. I feel such intimacy with Deland that it’s as if she’s alive through me. Surely, if I had my schooling to do over, I would major in history because an era is like a life in that it’s best understood when it’s over. While Deland could only observe her existence as it occurred, I can see its themes in their entirety. Through her writings, she tried hard to tell people who she was, and I’m honored to listen.

39 comments:

Strayer said...

I just had a lonely birthday also. I've decided to quit facebook at least my personal page and hope that people instead might call or even, stranger still, want to go for coffee, rather than send out emoticons on facebook to even tell someone living merely blocks from them, with whom they purport to be friends, Happy Birthday.

Best wishes for Brewskey's health. What is wrong with him? Sometimes stress will inflame a cats bladder or ureter. I had a Maine Coon who had bouts of blood in urine, no crystals usually, and the vet put her on the old anti depressant amitriptyline (generic Elavil). This worked like magic on her. He said for some reason that drug worked reduce inflammation in cats.

Elephant's Child said...

' If Sanders should beat Clinton, I’ll vote Green ...' Do you mean if Clinton beats Sanders?
I am loving your letters. And you pack some powerful issues into them too. Yes, to being able to go to the doctor and be euthenased. A kindness we can (and should) do for our animals when their lives becomes a painful existence but are denied ourselves.

Stephen Hayes said...

I'm not familiar with Margaret Deland and you've piqued my curiosity. I'm off to Google her.

lotta joy said...

Cats are famous for urinary tract infections. At least it's not bladder stones. After three years of building up (without the vet's knowledge) poor Lucky was chocked FULL of sharp stones from stem to stern and the vet said it was THE most painful way to die. So I knocked him off his high horse and told him what I thought of HIM constantly giving Lucky antibiotics for years, when the actual diagnosis would have been bladder stones IF HE HAD CARED TO LOOK DEEPER into the problem.

You HAVE euthanasia at your fingertips, as have I. I wouldn't ask for help (Joe wouldn't be able to live with himself if he did), and I hope I don't chicken out when the time comes, but I think we'll know when it's time.

Tom Sightings said...

Forsythia does for me what daffodils do for you. Just one note abt. Sanders. I read yesterday that a study showed the second most partisan person in the U.S. Senate, based on votes and sponsorship of legislation, is Ted Cruz. The only senator more partisan than Cruz is Bernie Sanders. So, if you're at all interested in bringing people together, dampening down the angry rhetoric, and unifying the country ... well, enuf. said.

BBC said...

When I owned a parts house it had big planters in front of it, I had marigolds in them cuz they are pretty, easy to take care of and bloom all summer long.

Snowbrush said...

“I just had a lonely birthday also.”

Yeah, and you didn’t even get a card from me. I’ve tried many times over two days to sign-up again as a follower to your blog, but I can’t get it done, and I’m wondering if you have me blocked.

“Best wishes for Brewskey's health. What is wrong with him? Sometimes stress will inflame a cats bladder or ureter.”

That’s what the vet suspects, but Brewsky seems content, and our home life is quiet. In October, we got a second cat, Ollie, who is eight months old to Brewky’s 5.5 years, but they loved one another dearly from the start (Ollie is still “nursing” on Brewsky), and although they sometimes play rough, Brewsky is twice Ollie’s size; they take turns doing the chasing; and after their play, they go back to cuddling. So, my thought is that, if stress is the problem, it might be more aptly called excitement. If the problem persists, Brewsky, like your Maine Coon, will be taking Elavil. One rather stupid thing that I thought the vet said was that Brewsky seemed stressed to him, and I thought, you idiot, he’s at the vet’s! Except for Ollie, every animal I ever had showed extreme stress at the vet’s. (I didn’t like this vet, but since they had to work Brewsky in, I was stuck with him.) Is it not your experience that nearly all critters throughly loathe going to see the vet?

“'If Sanders should beat Clinton, I’ll vote Green ...' Do you mean if Clinton beats Sanders?”

Yes. I apparently dislike her so much that I couldn’t even put her name first.

Snowbrush said...

“I'm not familiar with Margaret Deland and you've piqued my curiosity.”

She was very famous in her day, but her fame died with her. If you’re a football fan, you might have heard of her husband, Lorin Deland.

“Cats are famous for urinary tract infections. At least it's not bladder stones.”

Oh, he has stones too, but they’re small and dissolving due to his special—and extremely expensive—diet. That visit yesterday was $220. We had the same things done plus a $40 bag of food the last time we were there, and that visit was only $160, so I’ll be taking this up with, Sean, the vet who owns the clinic. He’s also the reason I go there. It used to be just him and his wife, but now they hire a succession of young vets who are gone before I can get to know them. His wife no longer works at all, and Sean himself on works on Tuesdays, so I can seldom see him for something that needs looked at urgently unless the problem occurs on a Tuesday I actually went to this clinic before he bought it twenty years ago, so I do have some little bit of status there that I would otherwise lack, and I disliked that vet yesterday to the point that he was pushing the limit of what I would put up with without complaining to Sean or to Patti, the practice manager.

“You HAVE euthanasia at your fingertips, as have I.”

No, I have suicide, and as soon as I’m dead, the cops are going to be asking questions, and possibly looking for someone to arrest for helping me to die (Peggy could be charged just for handing me the pill bottle, or bringing me the water to take the pills with if I should be unable to do these things for myself). Euthanasia is all about being in supportive and non-threatening surroundings both for the dying person and for the survivors, and suicide would be so legally problematic that I wouldn’t want anyone around if I could avoid it. There’s also such a social stigma attached to suicide that the local news media doesn’t even report deaths by suicide. Suicide is what happens in a callous culture ruled by a religion that thinks God wants people to suffer. Euthanasia is what happens in a secular society that values human concerns over pleasing an imaginary deity.

“the second most partisan person in the U.S. Senate…is Ted Cruz. The only senator more partisan than Cruz is Bernie Sanders. So, if you're at all interested in bringing people together, dampening down the angry rhetoric, and unifying the country…”

I wish you had finished your statement because I don’t know who you’re proposing as an alternative—Trump? Clinton? Truly the two parties have come to represent the extremes rather than the middle, but that’s what we have to choose from. I believe that Sanders is of good character; I strongly distrust Clinton, and I think Cruz was onto to something when he asked, regarding Trump, if the country really wants a president who’s so nutty that he might get up one day and nuke Denmark. I am amazed, confounded as astounded that people find Trump other than laughable, but then I recall that Hitler was considered laughable too.

“When I owned a parts house it had big planters in front of it, I had marigolds in them cuz they are pretty, easy to take care of and bloom all summer long.”

I, too, am a fan of marigolds for the reasons you cited. Their only downside is that I don’t find the odor pleasing, and this tilts me toward petunias most years.

Sparkling Red said...

Aw, poor old Brewsky. That's hard on a cat, and on the cat's people. One thing I don't miss now that I can't have pets is the sadness that comes along with watching them age and die. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. :-(

Canada is in the process of making assisted suicide legal in cases of irremediable and unendurable suffering. The new law will come into effect in June. However, my extremely old grandmother doesn't feel that this goes far enough. She doesn't want to have to be suffering unendurably before she is allowed to choose to die. I don't blame her.

PhilipH said...

Your damaged thumb sounds most painful; I know how awful such damage is to the thumb. Hope it gets better soonest. Fentanyl sounds brill.

This election of yours seems absolutely bonkers. How the heck can any sane person vote for that Trump fellow? Imagine how stupid it makes some American voters look to the rest of the world.

Read your previous newsletter post but didn't comment. Hope you are feeling brighter soon old chap. Still on anti-depressants?

Winifred said...

I love daffodils too. I bought four bunches the other day & not only the sight is gorgeous but the smell is too. They do lift you like the poem says filling your heart with pleasure.

Hope Brewsky improves soon. It's such a worry as well as a drain on the pocket those vets bills.

BBC said...

"Canada is in the process of making assisted suicide legal in cases of irremediable and unendurable suffering."

Statements like that have always amused me, I've always figured I had the right to check myself out if it came to that. They can't fine or kill me after I done killed myself.

Charles Gramlich said...

I also collect books, but I want to collect them "ALL" so I tend to buy them cheap when I can

BBC said...

One thing I've learned is that if you want to keep your books you should never lend them out.

Snowbrush said...

“Canada is in the process of making assisted suicide legal in cases of irremediable and unendurable suffering…my extremely old grandmother doesn't feel that this goes far enough. She doesn't want to have to be suffering unendurably before she is allowed to choose to die.”

I completely agree and sympathize. It’s always good to own a gun and a stockpile of pills.

“Your damaged thumb sounds most painful; I know how awful such damage is to the thumb.”

The doctor said there’s no way to stop the nail from coming out, but that it will grow back. I’ve been through this twice now. I thought nails were simply ornamental until I lost mine and could not longer button my shirt collar.

“I've always figured I had the right to check myself out if it came to that. They can't fine or kill me after I done killed myself.”

To me, euthanasia is a basic human right. No one should have to use a gun or drugs or step in front of a truck, and everyone should be able to die peacefully and with dignity with his family near. Besides, suicide isn’t always possible, and it doesn’t always work. Peggy had an aunt who survived two attempts. On the first, she aimed for her heart but punctured a lung; the second time, she aimed for her head, but severed her spinal cord just below her skull, leaving her a quadriplegic. In another case, a man survived shooting himself in the face with a shotgun. Perhaps, you look down upon such people as incompetent idiots, but one shouldn’t have to possess any degree of competency or physical ability in order to escape a life of misery and hopelessness. Rather such an escape should be provided lovingly.

Snowbrush said...


“How the heck can any sane person vote for that Trump fellow?”

The fact they can is the most demoralizing event of American history that I’ve ever witnessed. He’s megalomaniacal, psychopathic, compassionless, unscrupulous, profiteering, and immoral, yet the more of his evil he exposes, the greater his support. He would be dictator if he could, and, if elected, will no doubt do his best to make it happen. Why do I think this? He promises safety at any cost even if it means setting aside the most fundamental rights that Americans have, at their best, cherished and died for during our 250 year history (yet it’s the very people who get the most weepy on Veterans’ Day who support Trump). He has boasted that the military will obey his orders even if his orders violate the law. He encourages violence against protestors at his speeches, and he enthusiastically supports torture and public executions. When your Lord Cornwallis surrendered to American forces at Yorktown in 1781, his band played “The World Turned Upside Down,” and so it will be if Trump becomes president.

I oppose all candidates of his party with very strong feelings, but Trump is unlike anything this nation has seen since Huey Long (although Long was on the far left instead of the far right), Long being a politician who might have been president instead of Franklin Roosevelt had he not been shot to death (I’ve touched the bullet holes in the marble of the Louisiana state capitol). I can easily imagine that Trump is capable of Hitler-level evil. At first, I enjoyed him because he seemed no less reactionary and uncompromising than the rest of his party while being a lot more entertaining, but I’m no longer laughing. All I know is that great efforts will be made to stop him, not just by liberals but by conservatives. For example, he’s already being investigated for multiple instances of fraud, so even if elected, it’s uncertain whether he can stay in office.

As for what the rest of the world thinks of America, well, I’m just glad I don’t have to be its official representative, all the time knowing that no matter how respectfully people behaved when I was looking, they would be laughing and cursing when my back was turned. It is good, however, that, given how powerful America is—or could be if it ever wanted to unleash all its bombs—we’re still not as scary as scores of other countries would be if they had our military power.

So, why do people support Trump? In short, they feel that their country is being taken away from them, and that the party they have looked to to represent their interests has failed (no one imagines that Trump is really a member of any party, except inasmuch as it suits his purposes). They despise having a black president with a name like Barack Hussein Obama; they despise political correctness; they deplore the fact that their country is becoming less white and less Christian; they despise the least hint of socialism; they worry constantly about their guns being taken away from them; they think we’re too easy on crime; they strongly oppose the fact that America allows millions of illegal immigrants to come here and stay; they don’t care one whole hell of a lot if cops step over the line; they can’t understand how a country with the world’s mightiest military can be defeated again and again by semi-literate “ragheads.” I share some of their concerns, but I simply don’t see Trump as the answer anymore than I would see killing oneself as an appropriate remedy for a toothache.

BBC said...

They will do what they have done in most elections, they will vote for whom they hope will do the least harm. That is what they get for waking up in an election year. At least the system of checks and balances somewhat work.

Ex-rival Carson endorses Trump. Why endorse anyone? Piss on all of them.

Michael Valentine Smith said...

Bummer about your cat. It sounds like he just has to drink more water.

They say that children of suicides rarely do well so I don't think suicide is a good option unless your kids are already grown and busy with their own problems. If everyone had a magic suicide button that would end things painlessly, I don't think there would be many people left on the earth.

Spring is just around the corner and the world will soon be in bloom so hang in there and make that darn cat drink lots of water.

BBC said...

I don't think of checking out if you are really old or have a bad health issue as suicide, it's simply the decision to move on to your next level. Disturbed people do suicides, and it is usually the disturbed people that screw up trying to kill themselves.

rhymeswithplague said...

You read my mind on Donald Trump. And Clinton. if it turns out to be him versus her, I probably will not vote for the first time in my life. I can see no "lesser evil" between those two.

Myrna R. said...

I made the time this morning to specifically visit your blog. I've been aware and grateful of your visits to mine but I always want to read yours with a lot of concentration and time. I read some of your past letters and am incredibly impressed with your continued honesty and soul searching. I don't think I've ever known such an open person, so courageous to expose his deepest thoughts and feelings. I'm so sorry you have days you don't want to get up. It must be so hard to live with constant physical pain. Thank you for these letters. Enjoy your daffodils, your little angels.

Snowbrush said...

“Ex-rival Carson endorses Trump. Why endorse anyone?”

So he can be vice-president, I would guess. I would also guess that endorsing Trump will eventually end any chance he will ever have at elective office because it is my belief that Trump will ultimately fail and be disgraced; I just hope it’s as a candidate rather than as president.

“They say that children of suicides rarely do well so I don't think suicide is a good option unless your kids are already grown”

If a parent commits suicide, the child’s risk goes way up. I’m all for living for family, but if the pain and disability become bad enough, I should hope there would come a point when one’s family would agree that your death would be for the better. If they’re religious, this might not happen, but for secular people, I think it likely because people who support free-thought mostly support euthanasia.

“make that darn cat drink lots of water.”

Maybe put a lot of salt in his food? Ha.

“Disturbed people do suicides, and it is usually the disturbed people that screw up trying to kill themselves.”

Last I heard, men over eighty are the leading group for killing themselves, and I can understand why because I have never felt so hopeless as I do with every passing year and with every added pain. It’s a life of increasing indignity, and of being unable to do at all the things that I could once do so easily. I know I’m not as old, and maybe not as infirm, as at least three of my readers—you among them where age is concerned—but, for me it’s not just age but pain, and while it’s not always equally bad, the only way I can keep it under control has been to give up a lot of things. I can never undertake any real work—even yard work—without wondering if I’ll be able to handle it.

“You read my mind on Donald Trump. And Clinton. if it turns out to be him versus her, I probably will not vote…”

She might be as megalomaniacal as “The Donald,” but I don’t think she’s capable of doing any idiot thing, and I certainly don’t think she is bluster without substance like Obama. I sure would hate to listen to her voice even more as president than as secretary of state though.

“I don't think I've ever known such an open person, so courageous to expose his deepest thoughts and feelings.”

Thank you, but I don’t see it as a risky endeavor because I’m just not that delicate. It’s not that I don’t care what people think, but that I’m mostly able to separate their thoughts from my realities. It’s only when a person believes that he’s responsible for how other people feel that he’s at much risk.

Uthman Saheed said...

On America Politics, as an African who lives in Africa, I have no role to play other than that of an observer, whatever goes up and down over there, I trust CNN and Aljazeera to bring it to our notice (Just like the yesterday Trump's campaign been cancelled).

What makes me panic is that, should Americans elect a wrong candidate, Africans would surely have a taste of it's bad omen.

I hope you've seen the doctor to treat your hand and how are you feeling now?

I wished I can have great connections of books over time like you do, but most of those good books/resources could be highly expensive to buy here, most especially in a period when 1 US dollar is equivalent to 300 naira in Nigeria presently.

I hope you are doing great?

Snowbrush said...

“I hope you've seen the doctor to treat your hand and how are you feeling now?”

The best the doctor could do was to tell me to try to keep the nail on until it falls off by itself instead of getting ripped off (I tried tape, but it works just as well to wear a glove, plus I’ve cut the nail so short that it’s only about half its normal length). It should grow back, but nothing is to stop it from doing through the same thing endlessly.

“I wished I can have great connections of books over time like you do, but most of those good books/resources could be highly expensive to buy here”

It was once that way in America, but now books are cheap and plentiful. Libraries sell unwanted copies, charity-run thrift stores sell books, and, of course, there’s the Internet and walk-in book stores. Even supermarkets and stores like Walmart sell books. Americans take being a wealthy nation for granted, and falsely assume that we deserve what we have (many Americans think we’re favored by God). Of course, we’re over a trillion dollars in debt, so deeply in depth that I don’t suppose we’ll ever be out of debt. If a person lived as this nation lives, people would think him extremely reckless and irresponsible.

“I hope you are doing great?”

Thank you, but it’s a period of pain and discouragement. Things aren’t always this bad, and when they are this bad, it’s very hard to figure out why. I can but try to make the best of it.

Emma Springfield said...

Anything yellow will brighten even the darkest of days. You have such a nice collection of literature. It must be a sight to see.

E. Rosewater said...

Neuroplasticity. You're probably too old and set in your ways to explore neuroplasticity and how your brain has become hard wired to focus on pain but it might be worth a shot.

When is see the word "fentanyl" alarm bells go off. You should explore any and every option that gets you away from narcotics like fentanyl. Your neural pathways will soon be past the point of no return if you don't get off that stuff soon.

How's the cat?

Snowbrush said...

“Anything yellow will brighten even the darkest of days.”

I wish could wear yellow, but it just makes me look like I have hepatitis.

“You're probably too old and set in your ways to explore neuroplasticity”

Since I don’t know you, I don’t know whether to take this as humor or as bald-faced bigotry against those who are older than yourself, age being one of the things that even the politically correct can still openly discriminate against with a good conscience. I also possess other reasons for which you might consider me unworthy—I’m white, male, and atheist; hold many unpopular ethical and political views; and I spent most of my life in Mississippi. But wait, you too are white and male (assuming that your blog is believable), so I guess we can check those off.

“You should explore any and every option that gets you away from narcotics like fentanyl.”

I’ve dealt with pain for a lot of years now, and have pretty much given up hope of ever not needing narcotics. I don’t know what research you might be referring to, but my understanding of pain is that the longer it continues—with or without drugs—the less hope there is that it will ever cease. I suspect that this is one of the things that you have reference to in your recommendation that I undertake a study of neuroplasticity.

All Consuming said...

Look how late I am getting here tsk. I too love daffys, especially the English ones which are very tiny and often paler than the larger ones. We have some coming up in the garden at the moment and they always raise a smile with me. I think I need to read some of Margaret's books, so I can link into this love of yours, my mind isn't holding words well again, so I haven't been able to read anything longer than a page or two, but it comes and goes.

Poor Brewsky, I hope he doesn't need surgery, often bladder issues can be dealt with by diet and medication so fingers crossed there. And I remember the pictures of your poor thumb. Very gross, and very, very sore looking, along with the pain and tiredness I feel for you so much sweetie, lots of love from across the sea, Michelle Xx

Snowbrush said...

“I too love daffys, especially the English ones which are very tiny and often paler than the larger ones.”

I’ve never heard them called that, so I’m wondering if it’s something that’s commonly heard in England or even a word that you just made up.

“I haven't been able to read anything longer than a page or two, but it comes and goes.”

Maybe her short stories then. You might want to go to her page on Wikipedia and scroll down to short stories, which is near the bottom. I have no idea how it is in England, but here, it’s as cheap or cheaper to buy really old books by her than xeroxed new ones. I’m just finishing her second autobiography (Golden Yesterdays—written when she was in her eighties), and there is much about her visit to England around the year 1890, so I naturally thought of you (not that I don’t think of you a few times everyday without any such stimulus). Her first novel had come out not long before (John Ward, Preacher—1888), and was pirated by six English publishers (a practice common on both sides of the Atlantic) and published legally by another. Anyway, the infamy of the book here and its somewhat better reception there enabled her to meet many famous people in England and to have many experiences that would have been denied to ordinary people. It also meant that she spent a lot of time at formal dinners, lawn parties, visiting various people in their homes, and presenting a “purse” to some princess, although she passed on meeting the queen (to her later regret).

By the way, a reciprocal copyright agreement was signed between England and America around 1893 (it could have been ’92, but I don’t think it was ’94), which means that all of her numerous later books were printed legally over there. I only mention it because I bought an old book by one of your’s (“Robert Elsmere” by Mrs. Humphrey Ward), and suspected its physically inferior quality to mean that it was an American rip-off—in fact, it’s so bad that I can’t bring myself to read the book's contents. I therefore resolved to make an effort to avoid making that mistake again.

Elephant's Child said...

They are daffys here too - though that may be my English mama's heritage. Daffys and daffydowndillies.

Snowbrush said...

“They are daffys here too - though that may be my English mama's heritage. Daffys and daffydowndillies.”

That would be in Australia for those who don’t know. I had no idea what an English daffodil was (and I still don’t), but when I went to Wikipedia, I encountered the word “daffadowndilly” (that’s how they spelled the word—the ignorant bastards; what do they know?) for the first time. Peggy and I recently discovered that we were both vague on what a jonquil was, so I looked it up also, and found that it differs from what I would call a standard issue daffodil in that it blooms in heads (of up to five white or yellow flowers) instead of singly and has a scent.

Elephant's Child said...

I think I only ever heard daffydowndillies rather than saw it in writing so the ignorant bastards *might* have a point.
Sadly some daffodils have multiple heads, and quite a few are scented now. This LINK isn't bad though I can't imagine confusing daffys with buttercups.

Snowbrush said...

“I think I only ever heard daffydowndillies rather than saw it in writing…”

I visited the link—thanks. This discussion represents the limitations of common names in that they’re non-specific and regional. Even with scientific names, the ones used by nurseries are not always the same as the ones used by botanists. This is partly because, while botanical names often change, nurseries go on employing the old names. Another common name used here quite a bit is “paperwhites,” although I have no idea if the word refers to all white “daffodils” are just some. This leaves me in the position of not always knowing what to call my favorite flower. I agree with you that the interbreeding by nursery-men has gone crazy, and the result is often as godawful ugly as many of the things that breeders do with dogs. More from Wikipedia’s long article:

“Various common names including daffodil, daffadowndilly, narcissus, and jonquil are used to describe all or some members of the genus….The name "daffodil" is derived from "affodell", a variant of asphodel…From at least the 16th century, "Daffadown Dilly", "daffadown dilly", and "daffydowndilly" have appeared as alternative names.”

billy pilgrim said...

If saying old and set in your ways is bald-face bigotry, i'm at a loss for words, but that could be a good thing. Being at a loss for words prevents me from further irritating you. Does your sensitivity increase or decrease depending upon your dosage of fentanyl?

It was not an attempt at humor, nor was it meant as insult. It was merely an observation. My apologies.

rhymeswithplague said...

I was going to mention jonquils, but thanks for already doing the research. Coming from Texas, though, to me March has always been bluebonnet time. But I have learned to love Georgia's jonquils and daffodils and forsythia and pear blossoms and cherry blossoms and peach blossoms and azalea bushes and tulip trees (magnolia salangiana) and dogwoods and redbuds and mimosas and ....

Snowbrush said...

“If saying old and set in your ways is bald-face bigotry, i'm at a loss for words”

Even had the writer said such a thing, it would equate with combining the words female and hysterical, but what he actually did was to suggest that it was a waste of his time to share information with me, this based solely upon my age rather than anything he knows about me, because he doesn’t know me. I quote:

“You're probably too old and set in your ways to explore neuroplasticity…but it might be worth a shot.

To dismiss someone in such a way is to breathtakingly stupid. The difference between telling an old person that, because he is old, he is probably “set in his ways,” and telling a black person that, because he is black, he is probably ignorant is that there are educational achievement statistics to support the latter, while, so far as I know, there is no such data to support the former. Still, would this make it a kind, or rational assumption to make about a given black individual?

And what else does Rosewater believe about me based entirely upon my age—that I’m not as smart as he, that I’m less deserving of a job, that my ideas are less worthy of consideration, that I’m a political conservative, that I keep repeating myself, that all I want to talk about are the “good old days”? Where does it end? You’re from Canada, so should I assume that I know things about you based upon your nationality? You’re also white and male, so would it be fair to offer that you’re probably imperialistic, racist, and sexist? The fact that I’m having to offer reasons why bigotry is not okay suggests how acceptable ageism remains. Perhaps when you’re tempted to pretend that you what someone is like based upon his age, you could insert the word black or female into what you were about to say, and then decide it’s kind and fair to say it.

All Consuming said...

"or even a word that you just made up." - This is an outrage and I am calling my solicitor as we speak.

Hahahahaha. English daffys are small, soooo small they don't look like 'normal ones' at all, which we also have, and many people over here think English ones are your bog standard large daffodils. I don't mean 'bog standard myself of course, for they are a delight, and I shall be taking a photograph for you or ours anon with something for scale so you can see 'em.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Snowbrush,

I am greatly impressed by Deland's study, very spacious and cozy. In the modern days how many people can have such luxury. She must have been very wealthy.

I don't see any daffodils in my place. I am sure I am missing something fabulous.

I hope Brewsky get well fast.

Some motorists always appear to be in a rush but actually they are not. They get a sadistic pleasure by bullying others.

I hope you will become fit and active as fast as possible. As we grow older we can't expect to be completely healthy but as long as we do our chores, we should be happy.

I am fascinated at the huge collection of books you have. Books are the best friends we can have.Surely you must have invested a fabulous amount of money.

I was a member of a reference library a few years back. Now i stopped going there because it is far away from my home.

It is a great idea to donate your books to a university.

Wonderful post. I enjoyed reading it.

Snowbrush said...

“She must have been very wealthy.”

My darling Joseph, what can I say to you but that I love you. For you and me to put one another through what we do, and still come out friends is unparalleled in my experience. I can but attribute it, on my part, to the belief that your heart is in the right place even if your words are not. I find it impossible to reach you, yet I won’t go away. That much has been settled. My next post will be based upon my frustration with you, by the way, but I have no thought of being anything but fair to you, and I hope I will succeed in your eyes. Again, you’re a remarkable man, but then I am too, and that’s why we remain friends.

As for Deland’s wealth, she and her husband had money at time and were broke at times. He was a person of uncompromising integrity, and it sometimes cost him serious financial loss in the world of business, but he would get back on his feet, and when he did, the couple would have more money than before and would spend it more lavishly than before. Then there came the time when she was making more money than he (from her books), and she remained well-off for the rest of her life (he died in 1917, and she in 1945). As for the photo, one of the things he did was to remodel houses and then sell them, so the two of them would sometimes move into one of those houses if they liked it better than their current house. After his death, she left Boston for Kennebunkport, Maine, and there she remained until her death. She never liked city life, and was very much a lover of nature, so Maine suited her better.