Dear Lucile:

If you write me any more about thick steaks, roasted on spits, and Olympia Beer, "the pride of Oregon", I'll be deserting my dog, my students, my grader, and taking a plane hell-bent for the Land of Eternal Spring and Summer where the greening earth is strewn with camelia petals and the birds never cease to sing! Don't do it! I'm too fond of temptation! But I'll tell you what you can do. The next time you and Bower look over the top of

(And the girls go about the streets in pretty cotton dresses, too)
tall mugs of Olympia, stand erect, facing Columbia, brace yourself, take a deep, deep breath, and with a great gust blow the foam at me, saying, as you do so: "John, here's mud in your eye!" (That's the vernacular for [?]!) I'll be rambling around here, innocent as a lamb, when suddenly that chinook wind of gemutlickeit from Eugene will strike me across 2,000 thirsty miles! At first, I'll think it's an attack of the divine afflatus. Then, all at once, I'll realize it's you blowing Olympian foam at me; and for the remainder of that day I'll be gloriously illuminated!

There's another serious matter suggested by your letter. You remark that now and then you fancy yourself walking around Skyrim. Of course you know of the psychic phenomenon described as a "phantasm of the living". Such things certainly do happen. Well, if you continue your ghostly trespasses, one of these days I'll be roaming about the place in a brown study, when, rounding the corner of a hedge, I'll come suddenly upon you! My god! There you'll be, for a split second, natural as life!! Such things do happen; Why don't they happen to me?

You will note that I took care of the serious matters without delay. Now I'm through for the week, and carefree. I certainly will send you my Greek grammar

and my abridged Liddell and Scott lexicon. To think that when I was using them you either were not here yet, or eating mama milk! And I did not know you were on your way! There are patterns, aren't there? Beautiful marvelous patterns! And if there weren't this life would be a heluva mess!

I didn't know that you have an interpretation class. Is it at the University? I'm interested in your plan for choral reading, and I do hope I may hear a reading chorus trained by you. I've thought about your conception of the love lyrics — the spiritual growth in them — their development "like a Beethoven symphony". Have you noted — I'll bet you have — that this motif runs pretty much throughout the poetry? Here and there it breaks forth briefly in passing; but have you read the opening passage of The Song of the Messiah recently> There it takes on a cosmic aspect, and still it has the passion (suggested) of the early "exploratory" love, de-personalized. (That epithet is yours, and it is a corking good one!) That passage even now gets into my blood! And the expressed feeling about the Earth, the ground, is no literary pretense, as you already know.

No, Alice will hardly be able to leave her horses long enough to visit here. I'll run down there as soon as my grade cards are turned in. They all seem to be happy, but I know they often think of Skyrim with a little twinge of longing. And why not?

Sigurd is slowly living down the "radiation sickness" (after 42 super-powerful treatments). He cannot be pronounced free of the incubus short of three years. Poor Sig! But he's no coward. And he is sweet most of the time. He can be so lovably sweet. (Mona does not have to weather these troubles, ad I'm glad for that.) troubles, and I'm glad for that.)

So you do definitely own that lovely house of happiness! Hurrah! I hope it is in keeping with my fate to know the place "all over". Enid and Hiddy are fine, as always.

I I Did I tell you that on May 2 Thomas Hart Benton and I will hold forth on the modernistic trend in the arts? It's a Christian College banquet. He & I see eye to eye, essentially.

Forever and ever, amen!

John N.