Their farm buildings were demolished. A large barn is gone; a hay shed gone, barbed wire fences, all gone. They stopped farming after their last child went to college. All that are left of any outbuildings are, a double garage plus two chicken coups, now housing nine feral cats. In Pauline’s clowder of felines, her orange tabbies were most friendly, yet they still ran when we got too close to pet them. My friend Rita tried to feed them canned tuna to gain their trust. She made little trails of tuna leading to her feet. Two days later, they were still enjoying canned tuna with no human contact. She’s such a pushover.
Their house was built in 1941. They didn’t move in until 1960. One guest bedroom was supposedly haunted. However, I remember sleeping well in that bedroom. If you ask a ghost politely to leave you alone they will. I swear I smelled Frankincense or Myrrh in that bedroom at night. It was interesting that a poster of a 1980’s Snap-On Tools pin-up girl hung next to a picture of Jesus on one bedroom wall.
Pauline’s basement was filled with talking cookie jars. One jar was ocean blue with a surfer gliding across it shooting a curl while “Surf City” played when you opened its top. Another jar, was a pig dressed in a cop suit that squeeled, “Hold it right there, put that cookie back,” as you attempted to open it. My friend Rita giggled like a little kid as we both opened each jar to listen. Soon after, we were hungry for cookies, big time, that night so we went upstairs at 10 p.m. to make a batch of snickerdoodles.
I walked with my friends along an old farm path near one of their property lines one evening. A most engaging, deliciously sweet aroma wafted across my nose. I had never smelled such purity. Tony told me it was Sweet Clover. My God, I could not live without breathing that scent each day of our visit. I plucked a few sprigs to place in my book I had picked up at a local thrift shop to read as we drove across North Dakota.
Pauline said she hated trees. She liked to see as far across her property as possible in all directions. There was one big tree outside their dining room window that she wanted gone. She didn’t like to smell evergreen when she opened a nearby window in summer. Tony wouldn’t do it. That was one thing on this Earth he wouldn’t do for Pauline was cut down that beautiful old spruce tree.