Jan. 28, 43
Im sorry about that last letter not getting off sooner. It was rather thoughtless. The letter to Skipper was even slower. Words on such occasions are so inadequate that what might seem like a typical letter of condolence would in my opinion be worse than nothing, but I suppose that isnt true at the receiving end. It may therefore be better to consider that what one says doesnt matter so much rather than feel one shouldnt say anything unless or until one can express it more or less properly. A compromise then would be the logical thing, and both effort and practice should produce results even if one should not try to develop a standard form. Any close person would of course require very special treatment in words. Yes, telegrams I suppose are to be expected too, but with so few words they must be almost harder to formulate. Faith, incidentally, was kind enough to write me a sweet letter.
Bon voyage to Henry, though he may never have occasion to leave this country. Yes, ground crew should be right up his alley, and I hope he volunteers for same and gets it. I wouldnt know what the chances of getting what one asks for with a draftee these days are, but how many men on the ground is it that it takes to put a plane in the air? If he doesnt have the bad luck of having to get a lot of training in southern swampy country where malaria and other things are prevalent, he should be able to get into really fine physical shape, and he certainly should have some interesting and valuable experiences.
The Golden Treasury did arrive and also the swell hankies, which Im most grateful for, but forgot to acknowledge. The wrist watch, by the way, has behaved well, and seems to be ideal.
Bad weather has been a little more prevalent here of late, but there has been little in the way of real cold. The redbud trees, both in the woods and in front of peoples homes, are in bloom, but as you doubtless know, Cercis canadensis is a tree that blossoms before the leaves come out. Red maples, in the swamps, on the other hand, are fast getting their new leaves, which are, however, still small and red. Sweet gums still have many of their old leaves, and some still show Autumn color. Hickories and the deciduous oaks are still quite bare, or in the case of some of the oaks, still have their old leaves. Magnolias and live oaks make up for the hickories and the sweet gums in the hardwood hammocks, in fact, outnumber them, but the swamp hardwoods, except for some of their smaller trees, are primarily deciduous, tupelos, cypress and again sweet gums being the commonest trees. The poorer soil oaks, that often alternate with the pines, are deciduous and of the red oak group. Palmettos, the commonest shrubs, are of course evergreens. They are often thick under pine stands, the hammocks having a greater variety of shrubs and also [briars?].
My knowledge of the local flora is pitiful and even embarrassing. There are even good-sized trees I cant identify, but I intend to write to the state university very soon for advice on books. Small, the standard, is probably too large and expensive if not actually unobtainable. The title is something like Flora of the Southeast.1
My last day off was spent mostly at the Reids in Atlantic Beach, where I rode my bike from town and left it. Next week I hope to ride it to St. Augustine, a little over 30 miles, and may try the beach.
Love to all,