Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Hellebores and Daniel Boone
Even though it's winter, there are a few things blooming in the garden. The hellebore, above, is once again going gangbusters. We also have a little clump of snowdrops and I saw a budding crocus yesterday morning.
I also found a sad-looking ficus tree sitting on the curb across the street. The poor thing only has about six leaves left. I tried to leave it there but I just felt so bad for it. Now it's next to the back window in our living room. We'll see if it revives.
When I wrote about my goal to read all the books that had won Newbery medals, I think I mentioned that our library was missing only one -- "Daniel Boone," by James Daugherty, which won in 1940 and is apparently no longer in print. Well, a few weeks ago I found a copy online, and bought it for about £30 with the intention of giving it to the library.
It arrived on Monday, in a bedraggled plastic covering -- a book formerly housed in an elementary school library in Connecticut. It even still has the old pocket for a checkout card in the back, and a sheet of date stamps ranging from 1963 to 2000. But even though it's already spent at least 40 years in a library, it's basically in good shape. We took the old plastic cover off and put a new one on, preserving the paper dust jacket underneath, and voila -- it looks great! God only knows what it's going to say inside. I wonder if it contains a lot of politically incorrect language about Native Americans. I'll let you know when I get around to reading it.
It's funny how Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett (who I always get confused) and other such heroes of westward expansion used to be such prominent figures in American pop culture, and now I never hear about them. I suppose the whole subject of manifest destiny is seen in a new light these days -- and rightfully so -- whereas decades ago, Westerns were still big at the movies and every kid played Cowboys and Indians. Our cultural perspective changes over time, doesn't it?