Simmering in Summer...

Back. But only for a moment. If there’s one thing I like about all of you, it’s that no explanations are ever needed. Suffice it to say I’ve missed you more than you can imagine. No time for sentimentality, however – I have a job to do.

“If you’re worried about the plots that are on the back of the burners, we’ve got you covered.”

“Thank you, Ann, I never worry about that. After all these years, I know the basics are always taken care of quite nicely. Our calendar – or should I say, lack of it – must be put on hold for the first time in our partnership. You see, I’ve been out and about in the world, again, and walking up and down in it. The place is in a terrible state. The thing is, I am convinced that life as we know it is shortly to become a thing of the past.

“The very subject I’ve been trying to get you to look at for months.”

I know that, Professor, and I should probably beg your pardon for not taking those comments more seriously. At any rate, it has suddenly become imperative for me to finish whatever I’m responsible for as soon as possible, as the opportunity may suddenly evaporate.

“Good lord, where does that leave me? My contribution – at the very least – is nothing but shear entertainment. What good is that in a time of crisis?”

A very good thing, Lilly, if you want to know the truth of the matter. People in crisis are always in need of a few moments of escape now and again. And to be perfectly honest, there aren’t half enough of them to be found during hard times. So, I’d say you better go right on with that humorous survival manual of yours. It might come in handy after all. Ooops… I have to run. Don’t know when I’ll make it back, but I can assure you it is my utmost priority. Meanwhile, I appreciate you all holding down the fort. By the way, where are the cousins?

“Off hob-knobing with some agent who’s taken a bit of an interest in them. Been quiet as a tomb around the laboratory without them, I can assure you.”

I’ll leave them to you, then, Professor.

“As always.”

What’s happening on the farm today: Being away for so long, I have no idea but I’ve heard rumors. The weather’s gone completely crazy and it’s been raining cats and dogs all summer. There’s a nest of snakes in the barn and one on the back porch of the house, too. The local coyotes have killed every last one of the Peabodys. Bad omens any way you look at them!

Value status: Recent events have made it necessary to change the judgment criteria. In the future, things might have to be put to a vote for reevaluation.

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