I've nearly finished the book the first time through and I'll admit my throat tightened and my eyes watered profusely exactly once so far. I wonder if that happened to you and in the same place. I'll find out soon enough.
In the mean time I've been thinking about tobacco farming. If you've read any of Wendell's interviews or articles you know a lot more about this issue than I do.
But I don't really think about tobacco farming as an issue. To me it's a romantic idea of immigrants, beautiful barns, community and hard work. (And hobbits, but that's not really what we're talking about here. Although, I have a firm belief that just like in musicology where all discussions eventually lead to Beethoven, all book discussions eventually include Tolkien. And all homeschooling discussions eventually center upon math curricula. Someone really ought to study this.)
We have a history of tobacco farming here in southern Wisconsin. Sterling North grew up near Edgerton and mentioned helping with the tobacco harvest in the middle of the night in his book, Rascal. It has always intrigued me that they were so dependent on just the right kind of weather for harvesting--foggy and moist for several days so the leaves could be stored just so. And everybody was needed for the harvest. Tobacco farming must be one of the most intricate and challenging forms of agriculture you could ever try.
Driving the country roads around Edgerton and Fort Atkinson you can still see old tobacco barns and sometimes even a small field where someone is still growing tobacco. It's a beautiful plant, and its history in this country is a tangent too large for just a weekend. But I'm thinking about it anyway because the folks in Port William are growing it.
I tried growing it last summer in my garden. The flowers looked just like this and attracted hummingbirds.
That was a gratuitous mentioning of summer.
I'll leave you with a gratuitous picture of a stone fence in Kentucky, perhaps one of the most romantic images of rural life there could be, at least for me.
I've always wanted a stone fence. Hannah has one.