Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jesse Halsey | fragments


Stately and tall they grew that first sweet summer. They were late, purposely late; planted in the deep shadow of the north side of the stone wall that separated the front yard from the garden. Then they were breeders---the latest and the tallest obtainable. Early cottage, later Darwins—all had gone; but these persisted into June, nodding in the cool shadow of the grey stone masonry, their gold accentuated by the greyness.

Half a dozen varieties were there—all yellow save some delicate white [plumeria] albas that mingled with the back row.

Thanksgiving morning, they had planted them.


In to the florists for the third time that week went Johannen. Sick people were numerous. This and that hospital address he looked up. Finally, he wrote a card to M. Hestern—“what was that number 28? 31-yes. 238i. Backlots Pl.” He knew it by heart, that steep hill, couldn’t keep a quiet engine going up, all the neighbors could hear. This florist was on the other side of the village—he wouldn’t guess. He paid his money, wrote the card, went out the back door.

In by the front came elder Green; looked over the flowers, sweet peas—nay daffodils, he didn’t like yellow. The Widdow Hestern did, he didn’t cause she did. He looked around, walked to the desk, paid his five dollars, and saw—the Rev. Johannen card when the florist was waiting on another customer. He peered in the envelope, yes Rev. Johannen. “In remembering May Day 27.” “’27?” Green’s mind went back. He hurried home to his diary. Yes, an X was there. He was sure Reverend Johannen had been there that day when Widdow Hestern had turned him down.

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