Late Summer

Aug 29, 2022 by Rose O'Keefe

One scorching, hot afternoon, I read through Walter Edmonds’ The Matchlock Gun. It was a short book, suitable for reading out loud, that told of actual people,  Dutch settlers in 1757, living on contested lands around Albany colony. It had authentic details like an explanation of the area’s history, and a Dutch nursery song, with its English translation. That the reader learned the outcome of the drama before it began didn’t lessen the tension. This was a  cleverly told story of a Spanish gun that was too heavy to lift, but saved the day for this colonial family. I also liked the feel of this 1980 edition that won the 1942 Newbery Award.

The award winner for 1943, Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray, was set in the English countryside in 1294. It reminded me of an earlier Newbery winner, The Dark Frigate, that also followed a boy's struggles in not-so-merry old  England. Adam Quartermayne was a scrawny, likable fellow with a wonderful dog, Nick. He was antsy with boredom in a medieval school as he awaited his minstrel father’s return in spring. After the father’s delayed return, father, son and dog set off on their rounds only to get separated. Adam endured one mishap after another at the height of festival season between London and Westminster. The setting and details of everyday life among a wide range of rich and poor, average and exceptional people were fascinating.

Call me compulsive. The other day, I counted the number of articles in the sports section of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Not including the statistics, there were 17 of which two were about women – Serena Williams, predictably, and two WNBA teams that were meeting up again. It’s so easy to put myself down for being a fuss-pot biddy of a certain age. No. I enjoy reading about women – golfers, sailors, hikers, mountain climbers, aviators. I like what I like.

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