The sound of the hammer and saw came to my ear the other day when I drove into the yard from town. Walking down through the wet grass, following the sound I came to the hog house. Even before I got there I heard them laughing and talking. Putting my head through the small window I found them, father and son, making a pen for a sow and her new babies. They immediately became eager that I should know how the room was to be apportioned, and began explaining. I hardly heard them for I could not help thinking, as I watched them, that they were having as much fun, or more, than if they were playing golf together.
And how I enjoy our only daughter! Singing as she makes cookies, swearing me to secrecy as she concocts some delicacy with which to surprise the boys, asking me riddles as we make the beds! "I never knew," once she looked up from her dusting to exclaim, "how much work there was just keeping a house clean." I am glad that she has this opportunity to learn. That opportunity was available in town, I know, but there it was such a tug to keep her with me against the enticements that her friends offered.
As to our neighbors! We have been invited places. "And we really must go and get acquainted," we keep insisting. Yet when evening comes--no, not because we are too tired, but because we are too deliciously content to stay at home--we resolve to go next time. So we sink into deep chairs around our own fireside. While I read Heidi, or one of the Alcott books, to the whole family, my youngest son and daughter, squatted before the fire, sew on the family buttons. Only the crackle of hemlock breaks into the story, or the sudden excitement caused by the rescue of a spark that has jumped over the fire screen.
Perhaps this is selfish. I only know I'm jealously eager for an opportunity, for a little while, to get acquainted with my family. The pity is to me that so many parents are unaware of the fun they can have with--or give to--their children just in companionship.