We were walking about the grounds of Meadowbrook Hall yesterday. It was an overcast day, cool and windy. There was a large marquee up for a wedding reception, and there was a bridal party inside in the sun room having photos taken.
Meadowbrook was the house of Matilda Dodge Wilson and Alfred Wilson, and most of its grounds are now Oakland University campus and golf course and various buildings.
Danny Dodge was the son of the Wilsons, and we walked about the cabin that had been built for him. I suppose that is where he went to spend some time as a young man. We had gone through his bedroom in the past when we had gone into the Hall itself.
There is always a sense of tragedy. Danny died young, in his 20's.
We had always heard down hereabouts that he had drowned in Lake Michigan soon after his wedding to a girl of whom his mother did not approve. The girl, Lorraine, was from Manitoulin Island, which is in Lake Huron. They were married at Meadowbrook Hall in 1938.
But while we were in Empire this summer, we read a long magazine article on him that said that at the time he was playing with dynamite... literally, when some went off, severely injuring and burning him and some pals foolish enough to get drunk and play with dynamite in a cabin somewhere on Lake Huron.
Danny Dodge drowned, but he was also burned and injured. His drowning may have been a way to escape the pain.
I was thinking of his death as we walked. There was a lot of death this year.
Yet, it was also a remarkable year for growing things. My mother said early on that she had never seen the trees so lush and green as this year, 2013. (Of course, she also said that she had never really paid attention to trees before now; she turned 92 this year.)
The trees were incredible. The blueberries were everywhere and in great lots. The peaches were plentiful and tasty. The red bartlett pears are phenomenal. I actually was shocked, used as I am to bland produce over the last 30 years. I asked where these pears had come from, and how had they gotten by quality control where all remains of taste are wrung from them before going lout on the shelves.
The apple cider that I drank yesterday even had a bouquet, as if it were a rare wine. There are currents and undercurrents of taste within the cider!
Today I am going to put my father's roses to bed for the winter.
This year, they, too, made a great flourish of display, petaled pennants filling the stems growing everywhere. The old rambling rose I let grow through the old burning bush; the burning bush supported it's luxuriant growth, and when it bloomed, it was a fireball of reds that filled an area about 9 feet by 12 feet, all held up by the burning bush, which now in the autumn is itself beginning to glow red.