The Greatest Summer
That summer the wildflowers bloomed in a glorious array of colours and the girls went out to the fields and came back with armfuls of lilies and lady’s bedstraw, and put cornflowers behind their ears and made chains of daisies. The ducks waddled up and down the stone path with noisy chatter and the cats lay on the windowsills and dozed, purry and soft and warm in the afternoon sun.
That summer Tom Gardner married Sally Herbert, Mrs Salisbury’s little blue-eyed baby cut his first tooth with great to-do, and the Orville children borrowed Jim Clove’s old canoe to go out on the river and came home half drowned and very humble, to tell their anxious mother that they had capsized, and the boat had gone round the bend and was on its way to the next town. The rain came and went, the wind played in the leaves, and the old men sat in the shade to drink wine and smoke as they had always done.
And that summer Peter came home from the war, and the golden sunlight felt just the same as he had remembered it, and he knew that he was free.