Gift Basket from a Secret Admirer?

Dear Diary,

Every morning, promptly at 4:35 AM, the Mockingbird, who nests in the old Spanish chestnut tree beside my window, awakens me with her song.

 I’m not sure why she chose such an hour to start singing. Maybe she is awakened by the dream of a long-lost love, and she’s singing a mournful tune, or perhaps it’s because hatchlings are stirring beneath her.

Whatever makes her sing,  it’s not a bad way to be awakened. The hour, however, is awful.

I like to get up at 6 AM. Not an hour and a half before.

 My father used to call them racket birds because they would make too much racket at all hours.

I believe in other parts of the world, there is another nocturnal singing bird called a nightingale. The name nightingale sounds so much prettier than Mockingbird.

Whatever you call it,  the bird wouldn’t be quiet, so I had to get up and start my day.

As I padded my way into the kitchen, I noticed the fire in the old woodstove had gone out, so I had to stoke and put fresh kindling on to get it going again. Once the stove was hot, I could warm the kettle for my morning tea. I was grateful to have some leaves from the fragrant Darjeeling tea Mrs. Hunnycutt gave me two weeks ago after her trip to California.

As I settled down to drink my tea, I read over Mrs. Hunnycutt’s pamphlets from her visit. They were lectures from a man named Neville Goddard. I enjoyed his writing and ideas, although the concept was foreign. But I am determined to learn from him.

 Mrs. Hunnycutt says she’s applied many of his principles and has found great success in many areas of her life because of them.

After dressing, I gathered the milk pail to walk out to the barn and milk the cow. When I opened the door, I was greeted by a little basket hanging on the door knob. 

I brought the basket into the house and set it down on the kitchen table so that I could examine the contents. What a thrill to receive such a beautiful surprise first thing in the morning, especially after waking up so early.

The basket, newly made from white oak splits and with an unusual pattern, was filled with lilac boughs and pink peony flowers. Down under the flowers, someone tucked little parcels tied with yellow ribbons. I will tell you about every delicious one.

As I carefully untied the first parcel, little lavender-colored candies fell out. They were scented like violets and tasted like violets, too!

I was mesmerized by how delicious they were.

The second parcel contained tiny poppy seed cookies. They had a delicious lemony flavor and were sprinkled with powdered sugar.

The third and largest parcel contained a loaf of brown bread that must have been made with sorghum as it had a distinct flavor.

There were also jars of jelly and butter.

The last jar contained sugar with tiny flecks of dried lavender flowers.

I was thrilled to receive this gift, but there was nothing to indicate who gave it to me.

I hurried to the barn to do my milking, wondering who the gift giver could be the whole time.

The cow sensed my mind was not on the task and tried to slap me back into reality several times with her tail. (I know she was trying to get my attention because she never does that)

After my barn chores were through, I took the milk back to the house and poured it through the cheesecloth because, even though I was careful, I managed to get some flecks of straw in it.

I poured the milk into two pans and set them in the icebox so that I could skim the cream later.

It is getting warm out, and I want to make some strawberry ice cream to share with Bobby Greene after church tomorrow. He works for the Belk Brothers store in Monroe, and Mrs. Hunnycutt said he comes from a nice family in Virginia.

Is my aim to tempt him with treats from a Carolina girls’ kitchen in hopes of a proposal?

We shall see. Bobby is, after all, mighty good-looking and strong too! And those blue eyes of his! Oh! I could get lost for days. 

After my morning chores, I washed up, put on my hat, and walked to Mrs. Efird’s house. I wanted to ask about the mystery basket.

When I arrived at Mrs. Efirds, her darling little boy, Jimmy, met me at the gate. He is a tall little fellow for three and asked me if I wanted to ride on his pony. He was using his mother’s mop for a pony, but after seeing it clogged with all that dirt from his play, I think it’s safe to say that it will forever be a pony.  There is no way Mrs. Efird would let that filthy thing touch her pristine floors!

After I told Mrs.Efird about my morning surprise, she said she couldn’t imagine who would deliver such a lovely gift as the basket.

I shared some violet candies with her and Jimmy and left for Old Man Barbee’s place.

When I arrived at Old Man Barbees’, I found him out in the yard, trying to catch a swarm of honey bees for his been gums. I decided he probably didn’t bring me the basket, and even if he did, he was too busy to talk anyway.

I returned home, deciding to ask around at church tomorrow.

Diary, who could my mystery gift giver be? Was it Mrs. Hunnycut? Or was it Bobby Greene? 

I hope it was Bobby!



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