November 16, 1912
My dear Friend,—
At last I can write you as I want to. I am afraid you think I am going to wait until the “bairns” are grown up before writing to my friends, but indeed I shall not. I fully intend to “gather roses while I may.” Since God has given me two blessings, children and friends, I shall enjoy them both as I go along.
I must tell you why I have not written as I should have done. All summer long my eyes were so strained and painful that I had to let all reading and writing go. And I have suffered terribly with my back. But now I am able to be about again, do most of my own work, and my eyes are much better. So now I shall not treat you so badly again. If you could only know how kind every one is to me, you would know that even ill health has its compensations out here. Dear Mrs. Louderer, with her goose-grease, her bread, and her delicious “kuchens.” Mrs. O’Shaughnessy, with her cheery ways, her tireless friendship, and willing, capable hands. Gavotte even, with his tidbits of game and fish. Dear little Cora Belle came often to see me, sometimes bringing me a little of Grandpa’s latest cure, which I received on faith, for, of course, I could not really swallow any of it. Zebbie’s nephew, Parker Carter, came out, spent the summer with him, and they have now gone back to Yell County, leaving Gavotte in charge again.
Gavotte had a most interesting and prosperous summer. He was commissioned by a wealthy Easterner to procure some fossils. I had had such a confined summer that Clyde took me out to Gavotte’s camp as soon as I was able to sit up and be driven. We found him away over in the bad lands camped in a fine little grove. He is a charming man to visit at any time, and we found him in a particularly happy mood. He had just begun to quarry a gigantic find; he had piles of specimens; he had packed and shipped some rare specimens of fossil plants, but his “beeg find” came later and he was jubilant. To dig fossils successfully requires great care and knowledge, but it is a work in which Gavotte excels. He is a splendid cook. I almost believe he could make a Johnny Reb like codfish, and that night we had a delicious supper and all the time listening to a learned discourse about prehistoric things. I enjoyed the meal and I enjoyed the talk, but I could not sleep peacefully for being chased in my dreams by pterodactyls, dinosaurs, and iguanodons, besides a great many horrible creatures whose names I have forgotten. Of course, when the ground begins to freeze and snow comes, fossil-mining is done for until summer comes, so Gavotte tends the critters and traps this winter. I shall not get to go to the mountains this winter. The babies are too small, but there is always some happy and interesting thing happening, and I shall have two pleasures each time, my own enjoyment, and getting to tell you of them.