Jon and I just got back from taking Mary Kellogg out for her birthday. Mary is one of those admirable women. After seeing her I always think “That’s how I want to be when I’m her age.” (She’s 82 today) She lives alone in an old farm house on a quiet dirt road, volunteers in the community, has lots of friends, is connected to her family, is always up for something new, mows her own lawn, gardens and writes poetry.
Mary has two poetry books, (with a third on the way, we saw some of her new poems at dinner) My Place on Earth and Whistling Woman both with photos by Jon in them. Song At Milking is one of my favorites.
Song At Milking by Mary Kellogg
Dad was a quiet man
especially around the cows
evening chores begin
he pats first cow gently
and settles on the three legged stool
resting his soft farmers hat against her thigh
begins to pull the milk down
silver milk bucket resonates zing zing on metal
I am watching from the doorstep, feet flat on cement
warm moist scent of hay and cows wrap around me
cows wait stoically
grinding hay and grain in sliding motion
I like it here I start to whistle
Dad says Whistling women and crowing hens
are no good for mice and men
smiling he says, My mother used to sing.
She had a beautiful voice
The neighbors loved to hear her singing in the garden
Did you ever sing? I ask
Used to, sometimes.
Will you sing a song for me?
He begins, Yankee Doodle went to town riding on a pony
put a feather in his cap and called it macaroni
Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee Doodle dandy
mind the music and the dance and with the girls be handy
in bubble of mirth I whistle Dad’s tune up the step
and out the door
Mary’s books are available at Battenkill Books