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Saluda News & Notations 

Not in July or any month
have I had the pleasure — if it is a pleasure —
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

I am more likely to be found
in a quiet room like this one —
a painting of a woman on the wall,

bowl of tangerines on the table —
trying to manufacture the sensation
of fishing on the Susquehanna…” 

 

~ Billy Collins, excerpt from “Fishing on the Susquehanna in July”
 

 

July in her red, white and blue calico skirt totes a ripe watermelon under her arm and a melting ice cream cone dripping along the blackberry-lined sidewalk as she heads to Coon Dog Day. 

 

The old Fred Neil song sung by Harry Nilsson from “Midnight Cowboy” plays on the endless phonograph in my head as I thumb through several au courant magazines, babying sick River Dog. He rests as I hover nearby. Anyone who has ever had a sick child or pet knows how this is. You’re close by on watch duty, being oh-so-quiet as they rest, mindful of every breath.  

 

Lowering the magazine on my lap, I gaze at these old walls with color and art along with many memories of good dogs and a good little boy, a life lived, all loved very much over the years.  

 

Dear Reader, if you’re trying to sell a house, the advice is to paint everything neutral. All those slick pages show picture-perfect rooms in shades of palest gray, blue, neutrals, and designer-approved shades wearing fancy-schmancy names (with fancy prices to match). $110 for a gallon of paint?! Give me a break, folks. What’s in there? Gold? Precious gems? It’s a gallon of PAINT for goodness sake.  

 

The song starts again circling in my head: “Everybody’s talking at me, I don’t hear a word they’re saying, only the echoes of my mind…”  

 

So let the magazines talk. Honestly, I still like that buttery-yellow in the living room that sings of morning sunshine. The tender warm-hearted pink in the dining room that comes alive when brushed by sunrise, glows on summer nights. The mismatched plaster wall paint/patching that the best of European houses often wear, showing centuries of life.  

 

Everyone’s talking at me in those slick magazines, but I don’t hear a thing they say. I’m listening to River’s breath.