Today was Sunday so we got up bright and early and got ourselves off to church and Sunday School. I am not sure whether I gain in being in church for an hour all the grace I lose in getting us ready. Also, I got madder than hops at David Napier, the minister. I may be way off (and Peggy White tells me I am, since Napier tried to get in and was turned down) but he certainly gave me the impression that he was very confused and bewildered and hoped that some good would come of it all after the war, but that he "was contributing to the war effort indirectly" but could not go off and slaughter his fellow men. I got madder than the Devil because I don't think the Chaplains go in because they like blood but because they want to help the men --- who have no choice as to whether or not they want to kill --- keep an even keel if possible and come back and "make some good out of it all."

Apparently, they [the U.S. Army] went right smack through the Odenwald. Just north of the Neckar valley, I imagine. It levels off a bit there, but it still seems like tough going to me. I can just see snipers in those little castles we explored that day you grabbed at me and frightened me out of three years growth.

I suppose you heard that the Fleet Post Office in San Francisco burned. It was caused I understand by two of your letters and three of mine getting in there at the same time. It caused a short circuit

The news is good. I could skin Kaltenborn though. You should have heard the eulogy he gave Mussolini tonight and how sorry he was that he had to be sacrificed as the head of the troubled nation he had led so many years. As though it was all the Italians' fault and Mussolini was just the goat. Kaltenborn had interviewed him many times, he didn't let us miss, and he thought he was a great and sincere man. And that most Italians said he had done a lot for his country. Trash! So was Hitler and so did Hitler. But they can't get rid of the rats quick enough for me.

We have sun for the first time in a coon's age. I woke up this morning about six thirty with the feeling that all was not as usual. I stuck my head up from the mound of covers and the sun spit right in my eye.

I heard on the radio tonight that Henry Kaiser intends to make houses after the war. Prefabricated ones that you put a ninety dollar down payment on and pay thirty dollars a month after that. He has a good idea, but I'm sure glad we got one of this kind instead. I'd much rather have mice and a few things like that to cope with than have all the electrical gadgets gang up on me at once. Some musician with a touch of humor should write a Sorcerer's Apprentice with modern household aids going haywire and attacking their users. I guess when they do go haywire you just end up without a house.

One of the most disgusting things about the peace was the mob in Nova Scotia going wild and breaking in store windows and doing all sorts of damage and even killing a couple of people in their madness. Is that what the war is being fought for? I'm getting as sour as Tupper [a female faculty member], and you better get home quick to sweeten my disposition a little. When I have more to keep me occupied mentally as well as physically I'll be in better equilibrium.

The radio is playing the Daphnis and Chloe Suite via the Cleveland Orchestra and I like our recording much better. It has more expression and is slower. It is so nice to like your own records more, when really it is just a case of knowing them better.

We have a couple of big shells around here --- about seven inches long and a beautiful pink inside. I didn't think much about them and used one for a doorstop in the hall. Yesterday Langworthy came in, leaned down and picked it up and put it to his mouth and blew a blast on it like Triton himself. I was lifted from the couch and let down again on your hassock. Ursula was delighted. We both tried it and all I could get were some measly squeaks and farts that were laughable.

Then I went across the street [in Canisteo] and told Williams he could bring me the other two pieces of furniture anytime he came up this way... He is the fellow I told you about who is town clerk, undertaker, runs a furniture and antique business and takes care of two horses besides. He is seventy-five years old. Looks like a bit of parchment stretched over a nail, but he has a gleam in his eye.

Yes, it decided to rain again. I was not surprised. I have come to expect it and also last night I could hear the brakeman sneeze and blow his nose as the train went through Alfred Station. David seems to be much better... Nell Parry asked what was the matter with him and I said he had a stomach ulcer. She was horrified and wanted to know why so I told her it was because I beat him and yell at him so much and make him nervous. I hope to goodness she doesn't believe me.

Didn't you ever open a coconut before? I'm a little surprised. We used to do it at George School for excitement. The system is to poke a hole in the little depressions in one end. They are quite soft. They also look like a monkey's face. You let the milk run out and drink it. Then you take the empty coconut and wham it down on the John floor till it breaks open. Really quite simple. You all eat the coconut and get your gums sore chewing the rest of it from the shell where it was stubborn about coming out, and then finally you all take bicarbonate.

I got a bang out of the Song of Solomon recently --- last year, as a matter of fact. I thought it was wonderfully naughty, but there is a lot of naughty stuff in the Bible, as far as that goes. Your anthology probably did not have the interlinear explanation that our Bible contains. It tries very lamely to make out the whole thing to be in praise of the Church. Of all things! I was sort of tickled at the time and thought of a black sheep in a proud family and of their excuses for him because, being proud, they wouldn't disown him. In fact, I don't quite see why it wasn't expurgated. Maybe there be those who can read it and sincerely see praise of the Church and nothing naughty about it at all.

[Roland had written: "Some of it goes into the minutest detail: 'Thy navel is like a round goblet, wherein no mingled wine is wanting.' But then he goes on after a few lines to this highly questionable compliment: 'Thy nose is like the tower of Lebanon which looks toward Damascus.' What if I told you you have a chin like the Flatiron Building? Oh, well, perhaps I don't understand."]

I chuckled about the "nose" too, as I remember. It reminded me a little of yours.

The other night at your birthday party something happened that tickled me no end; We were talking intellectual and Ray said something about who was Manassa's brother and while Davey was thinking I said "Ephraim" just as quick as a wink. Boy, did I impress the assembled multitude with my knowledge of the Old Testament. I didn't let on that it was the only thing I knew practically, and now they think I'm a shark. Particularly Napier, who is an Old Testament scholar, and he had to stop and think.

It seems I wrote your parents a little description of the time I put the toad in your bath water. They seem still to be rolling around the lawn at Swiftwater over it. I think the joke is on you, but your mother says she thinks you are probably glad to be out there because she can see you have no peace while you are at home.

The new woman sat next to me at the table and somehow must have decided I was a bit of a card. She would watch me like Charles Harder does and as soon as I would say something she would go off into gales of laughter. She was beginning to make me thoroughly self-conscious. She was a good enough gal though. The most bashful member of our group, and a very mousy person, has had her husband gone for a very long time and all of a sudden is definitely pregnant. It does beat hell who gets around and who doesn't. Also who wants to and who doesn't.

Yesterday Ann Scholes and I played some tennis for about an hour. My serve was much better than usual. I had fun and except for my feet, it was very successful. I played about the same sort of game Ann did and I think I can hold my own with the Napiers and Tom, too, from the way Ann talked. The sneakers did very poorly since they were too old and popped out in new places all the time. I stopped all the time between games to apply more adhesive tape to sore toes, but it got worse.... It just seemed to me it would be more tractable if I turned the bench saw on with the sander on it and applied my foot to it. The equivalent of many miles of hiking left-footed.

I suppose you saw the thing in the Reader's Digest about the army major who was caught chasing a screaming girl in a negligee down the corridor of a hotel late at night. The major was completely bare and the girl was most unwilling. He was brought up for a court martial and was about to be dishonorably discharged, but was finally acquitted when his lawyer quoted in his defense the regulation that you didn't have to be in uniform if you were otherwise suitably dressed for the sport in which you were engaging.

Yesterday I ran into Tom and besides not understanding why I didn't want to play tennis (with the amount of work I have to do!) He told me my hair looked terrible, which it did, but it was none of his business. And then he tried to tell me there was no such thing as a soul. I know he was baiting me just to see what would happen, but it got me a bit mad.

So I just told him that I didn't know or care if he had one, but that I was dead certain that I had what, by my own definition, was a soul. This was all much nicer than it sounded, and he thought I was very funny. I thought he was very stubborn, and I just wanted to see you get a crack at him.

I went in and bought myself a Forum ticket this morning... On February 20 is Richard Wright. He wrote Native Son and more recently Black Boy. I read the first of them and it sticks in my back teeth as the filthiest book I have ever read. He is a negro.

I don't understand why it is that when a book is to be written to liberate the negroes a bit from their present subtle oppressions that it must be so filthy. On March 20 is the Roth String Quartet and on May 1 is Blair Bolles. I believe he is a commentator or maybe a press correspondent. I feel offhand that he sounds like a physic for horses.

Our carrots are out of this world. They are about three inches in diameter at the top and about eight inches long. You can't get them unless the ground is very wet because the tops just break off. And when you do pull one out, the ground says "Ouch, dammit!"

A program last night said that us wives must not be too anxious about our husbands coming home because it undermines your morale and makes you feel inadequate and gives the impression that you think we think maybe you don't want to come home. However, they reassured us that you do still wish to come home. Now isn't that nice! This program was indubitably written by the same fellow --- or woman --- who writes the articles about how to treat your returning neurotic service man. I am taking it all to heart very carefully and intend to indulge your every whim, but at the same time I will peek at you from behind the draperies and write down what you say in your sleep.

He [Sigmund Spaeth] makes remarks of which this is typical: "This is Chopin's Mazurka Opus 13 in So and So's listing Opus 17" as if the popular listener gives a damn. It seems like a little gilding by throwing numbers at you to make you feel you are being intellectual. Yup, this 1812 Overture does not compare with our recording. Earlier, they played Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and it was excellent. I sit and read and knit. I finished Two Years Before the Mast, a yellow sweater for me and a pair of maroon mittens for David. With the Fifth Symphony thrown in, that is not at all bad. I was sorry to finish Two Years. It was good reading though I don't know a top royal from a side jib, if those two combinations of unfamiliar words even exist. It was very exciting though, and I know you'll enjoy it.

You know, when you get into a new subject you develop a whole new vocabulary and enrich by a bit the old vocabulary with new meanings. So it is with reading about goats. I have discovered what "passing the buck" really means, for instance. Also they talk about "kidding" all the time, which is definitely not pulling your leg. Also it is sort of funny how a bunch of specialists get so interested in their subject that they don't see how funny they are being. When you take what is supposed to be a representative photograph of a goat from behind and below so that about all you see is a huge udder, two teats, two legs and a white tail going skyward, that's ludicrous. It could have three heads on the other end, but would they photograph that? No --- the production end is what counts.

I found the same thing in the magazines about horses that Sisson was lending me there for a while. They get so interested that they are perfectly serious when they dedicated one number to "the matrons" and wrote a long harangue about brood mares. Also I kept one issue around for quite a while because two of the ads were a perfect scream. Much funnier than the Garbage Man's Lament. One advertised the Ace Tail Brace --- "Why should your show horse fail to make first place because of a tired tail??? Use our ace tail brace and put him up in the winning braces." Also there was one for false tails made up special for your horse which is a winner except for a frowsy tail. Guaranteed not to come off at the crucial moment. It just made me suspect that there are frauds in horse dealing too. Imagine!

I'm afraid right now I am most pessimistic. It seems all the news holds is reports of international bickerings and news of developing greater fighter planes and larger bombs and better atom bombs. I may be obtuse, but it doesn't sound like peace to me for a minute. I don't know what in the devil they are thinking of! It seems to me we have gone through enough of it...

So I'm in no mood to talk about increasing our family just at this point. Better approach me later on when things look up again. I'm not interested in raising any more soldiers, nor am I the least bit interested in raising up any Navy wives either, thank you! But maybe a little change in the present dark clouds will change this frame of mind, and I didn't really mean to be as definite about it as I sounded above. But, like you, I think it would be nice to wait a year or so and sort of take life easy for a while after you come back and be able to relax and enjoy it.

They just played Night Ride and Sunrise by Sibelius. I'm afraid if I get to be a hundred I can never get to love it.

I am set against summer school as much as ever. The short time we are permitted in this life does not admit any extra teaching. Maybe I'm just a born loafer, but I don't think so. I don't want to die rich, nor tired, but I want to have had as much fun in my little scope as I can possibly have and as many experiences as we can decently crowd into it and still get the full flavor and enjoyment from each thing we do. Then I'll die happy. Providing we can live together to be about eighty-six (we'll go dancing when we are eighty-five and it is 2000 AD) and then just both curl up, snuggle nice and warn and die together. Then I'll be the smiliest happiest ghost that ever haunted a chicken coop.

I'm sorry the mail blew away. [Typhoon on Okinawa] Sorry that a lot of other stuff blew away too and perhaps some men with it who have wives waiting like I am.

I still say that I don't want another war nor do I want my children to have it. Nor you, either. And I don't think life will be quite so wonderful with the bitter taste in the back of my mouth that there will be another war and that we are just marking time and let us gather rosebuds while we may. I'm not getting critical or anything like that. I'm just scared. It isn't the strikes or our own internal affairs that bother me. But what does bother me is the old distrust of Russia coming out stronger than ever. It is still a terrific insult to call someone a communist and a congressman can still get plenty of backing by tossing out the old bone about not letting those Reds buffalo us.

And what about China? Oh nuts.

Your Mother gave me the letters you wrote them about our trip west not so long ago and I have just read them. It doesn't seem just right to me that you should have told them that I spit on the next states [as we entered them] and act as though you sat there with your window shut and glum and drymouthed yourself. You spat spattier than I did. I had Ursula doing it on the way home too. I have covered a lot of states now.

Then after I did the exercises designed to give me snake hips and bristling muscles (I thought you didn't like your women muscular?) I did that exercise you invented. The one where you join hands and push and pull alternately. I did it with all my strength and manifestation of great love for you. And what happened? My right arm is stronger than my left and I pulled the left off at the elbow. I have it here on the desk beside me and the reason my typing is so bad is that I am using only my right arm.

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