Thursday, May 1, 2014


Dear J,

I hope I wrote to you about all the fine books, all sizes, you mailed here earlier in the spring? I think we're all trying to forget the past winter, even though many spring days still feel like winter. Really it was just Vermont being Vermont.

One of the surest signs of spring was seeing the lumber order arrive up the frozen rutted driveway hill road, a bright and sparkling affair. Then lugging it all on the shoulder up the woods road to the faraway cottage 5 at a time. Build all day for 7 days straight. I got lucky, because the winter broke that week — peepers came out, the river charged, firewood left its mean-streak and became footloose and friendly, we've kept burning daily but it's no longer about holding off from freezing to death.

At the same time we worked away on all the new Longhouse book titles, which are stacking up winter-into-spring as a fancy handful. Soon enough I'll be sending these to you.

We're now in book sale season which means rising at 3AM to drive long distances to a dark and desolate region, pitch black, to set our cardboard box down into a forming line of book dealers (who arrive the day before with their boxes) so we have a halfway decent chance of getting our eyes onto some books when the sale begins 4 hours later. Now, we try to find some place open in a college town where we can get warm. Maybe a drug store, how about the hotel lobby, or the bakery, where we see movement behind the windows and two young workers decide to keep the door unlocked. Only ghosts could be walking in. Sure enough, we walk in.

The other day we visited Layla and Carson and Jocelyn. The young and scrappy couple are at their wits end with zero money. It all goes to nasty bills. Everyone is fine but dead tired with no sleep due to baby love . . . who sleeps little through the night, just like Carson was at the same age. We understand, nod, show them we lived that way once and here we are still alive. They will survive. We took a long hike through the woods of their region (Newfane) on hilly back road and Carson pushed Layla in a newly minted gift stroller from a relative and Susan and I tagged along taking care of his big dog "Pilot." That hike did a world of good for us all. Up through spread quiet farmland with ancient homes — some old mansions, some old shacks — very Vermont egalitarian. Jocelyn couldn't come; she'd been stuck all day at home, maybe for a few days, and tonight she was hired to cater a party with others for extra bucks and tips. Anyway it takes.

Just like you've been living. We're all but a raccoon out on the ice
stay well, Bob 

drawing © bob arnold