The hollow winds begin to blow,
The clouds look black, the glass is low;
The soot falls down, the spaniels sleep,
And spiders from their cobwebs peep.
–Dr. Edward Jenner (1749–1823)
It’s autumn in Custer’s Mill. The morning fog drapes low over the mountains, and the smell of wood smoke hangs in the air. The town is resting up from a busy weekend: the annual Fall Festival. It’s the one day out of the year that the county Health Department turns its head and allows the good folks of Custer’s Mill to share the results of their summer bounty.
Reba Dove’s tomato pie definitely earned five stars from the locals, and Jane Miller’s corn pudding was gobbled up so fast that she had to run home and make another batch. The only culinary offering that raised eyebrows was Laurence George’s raw oyster stew. Even though he was giving away free samples, he still barely made a dent in the huge vat of slimy liquid. Serafina Wimsey’s herb table was busy all day. She offered fresh sprigs of rosemary and lavender tied with lace, freshly potted basil and thyme plants, and an enormous range of essential oils.
The festival was successful for the library too. Their book sale was a popular event, and many folks left with brown paper bags stocked full of winter reading materials. Library volunteers Jane Allman and Marguerite White were especially glad to see the book sale items leave the front of the library. In their opinion, the room was too small for the regular library maneuverings, and when you added a couple of tables filled with books to the space, it made shelving materials even more cramped and awkward.
All in all, it was a good day, and the citizens of Custer’s Mill deserve a lazy Monday morning. But soon, Hoyt Miller will finish his last drop of coffee and head to the town office, Nanette Steele will lumber out to the barn to feed her bleating goats, and the big yellow school bus will carry Kate Preston off to the elementary school. Another week is about to unfold in the small town of Custer’s Mill.