Friday, May 11, 2007

Silence is Golden

Mother's Day is almost here, and it's a busy time of year for us. Jesse shares his birthday with his mother, which is on the 15th, and we foolishly decided to get married on the 11th. (Happy Anniversary Jess!) Between our siblings and extended family, we have nine birthdays and two anniversaries in the month of May. Throw in Mother's Day, and May starts to feel a little like Christmas.

But I love this time of year. Fall has always been my favorite season, but this year living in the country I'm starting to change my opinion. The air smells like lilacs and apple blossoms, birds are everywhere, and I'm starting to learn their calls. And my absolute favorite flower only blossoms at this time of year. I love cowslips, otherwise known as marsh marigolds. I love the bright yellow blooming on the side of the road and in some places completely carpeting the ground. One of the reasons I love them best is that you have to work to pick them. If someone brings you a handful of cowslips, chances are their feet are wet and they had to slip and slide down a creekbank and then climb back up to get them for you. There's nothing quite like a handful of cowslips from a child.

I've also been watching the calves jump and frolic in the fields. They are so sweet chasing butterflies while not straying too far from their mamas. I'm no fan of cows, in fact I almost hate them, but their antics bring a little more joy to spring. If you're wondering why I hate cows, it traces back to my early childhood. My mom was an Avon lady when I was 3 years old, and whenever she would go into the house to sell cosmetics to the woman of the house, someone, usually the older children, would always take me out to the barn to see the calves. (I think I saw the inside of nearly every barn in a five-mile radius). At one home, it was winter, and I was wearing my big puffy coat and red mittens on a string that laced through the sleeves so I couldn't lose them. I was of course taken into the barn to see the calves. If you've ever petted a calf, you know that they love to lick and suck at your fingers. One overly friendly calf licked the mitten right off of my hand and then swallowed it. Because it was attached to the string, I couldn't get away and thought that it was trying to eat me. This explains why I could never be a vegetarian: I hate cows.

Silence is Golden by Jeanne M. Dams is the fourth lackluster title in the Hilda Johansson series. Hilda, the Swedish maid for the Studebaker family in South Bend, Indiana, is back to solve another mystery, this one involving her younger brother Erik. Hilda's mother, two sisters, and brother have finally come from Sweden, and while she is thrilled that her family is finally together, her relationship with Irish Catholic Patrick Cavanaugh is suffering. Her Protestant family wants nothing to do with his and vice versa. In the midst of this, Erik's friend Fritz goes missing and then when found has been abused in the worst way. Erik may have information as to who the assailant was, but he's afraid to tell. I've truly enjoyed the previous entries in this series, but this one fails to deliver. Much of the story is based around Erik, but he's unlikable and so can't carry the story. Hilda abuses the trust of her employers repeatedly and is at risk of becoming prideful. Unfortunately the mystery isn't that mysterious, the only thing carrying me through to the end of the story was who was going to get to beat Erik. Don't bother reading til the end: nobody does.

Five years ago today, Jess and I were standing in church saying our vows and the minister was handing me tissues. In that time, we've moved three times, Jess has had three jobs, I quit mine, we had our beautiful girl, and I'm grateful for every moment we've had together.