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Ohio Noons

The elms and the maple trees seem to be touching me with breaths softer than rains. . . . My thoughts stray north to Sandusky where the beach is still warm although the leaves are beginning to turn in the woods near Port Clinton and outside Frenchtown my sister's baby suns herself in the clothes basket while my sister hangs out tent dresses and orange towels. My mother, who teaches third grade geography, pauses to look at gold on the willows behind the school, and my aunts are sweeping the front walks with strokes like goldenrod. I remember that it was on a day as quiet as this that General Morgan crossed the river over the hills south of us, and how, on such a noon Lucy Hayes, Rud's old camp hat shielding her eyes, sat outside the kitchen in Fremont and tossed bread to the pigeons fluttering in haloes. I remember the peach tree which grew because my grandmother buried a peach seed with the garbage, how the little tree burgeoned with peaches which my grandmother gave away to the truck drivers, the ten-cent store clerks, and the upstairs neighbors! (I will write to my mother: "memories become prayers at lunch time.")

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