I love reading Gladys; she has such a conversational tone. She makes me giggle unexpectedly when she describes the antics of her cockers and her Irish setter. She's a farm wife at heart. I read a few pages at a time slowly, savoring them as Julia did battle with waves. I marveled at how her slender body dove deep into the base of a mighty wall of water, as if she'd tricked it and eluded its fury. Then my eyes would drift back to Gladys and her garden, her descriptions of summer, her neighbors, her Siamese cat.
Her life seems so packed with flavor to me, as if every minute of every day were a treat, and I know it's only because she's a writer. I'm sad that Gladys is dead now, because her voice still resonates, so very alive. She described to me a meal she ate, the corn boiled in milk at dusk while she converses with her friend Jill. They debate the seven wonders of the world while waiting impatiently for the charcoal to heat. Gladys sucked the sweet juices from life, from beauty, from nature, from friendship. What is the point though? She's dead. So is Jill. So are the cockers and Irish.
I sometimes ponder about the food eaten by people soon to die. Isn't it rather a waste to put steak and potatoes and asparagus into a belly that won't digest it? The last meal of a death-row inmate, the chilly milkshake half-enjoyed before a fatal car wreck. The final unwanted nursing home meal of a dementia patient. What a sad use for something as noble as food! Why do we eat? Why do we live? Why do we keep plugging away at gardening and dog-tending and writing, as Gladys did, when death is the voice telling us all, "Hurry and finish up. Turn out the light. It's time!"
|a good shelling day at the beach.|
|two lettered olive shells|