I know the perfect place to settle to read for a bit, a secluded stand of trees on a hill that overlooks the road that finally comes from Bree. Thereís a tree there thatís perfect for reading. Itís comfortable to lean against and out of sight of the main road a bit. If Gandalf comes this way today, Iíll hear him and be able to meet him, as I have often done before. He always seems to be singing coming through the Shire. I asked him about it once and he said that the Shire made his heart light and he couldnít help himself.
Itís a peaceful spot. Sometimes I wish there were more excitement to shake things up a bit, but I have the feeling that with Uncle Bilboís party there will be excitement, enough and to spare. So Iíll take my quiet now.
As I make myself comfortable, I realize with a smile that already thereís a stalk of long grass between my teeth. Uncle Bilbo would roll his eyes if he saw it. He would always ask, ďWhy have you got Ďthatí in your mouth where a pipe should be?Ē At first, I was much taken aback; I wanted so much to please. Slowly, I came to realize that he was curious about my habit since he loves his pipe so. Finally, I was able to explain that my Da started me on it. I wanted to smoke like he did. I made such a fuss about it he tried to distract me with a stalk of grass, but I would have none of it until he put down his pipe and chewed a stalk with me. Wasnít long before he spent more time chewing on grass than the end of his pipe. It pleased me enormously. As I grew older I discovered I did like an occasional smoke, but it required more effort than I was willing to put in when I was out and about. I too often forgot the pipe or the weed. The grass was ready available any time I wanted it. Besides, I never really could master the art of blowing smoke rings the way Uncle Bilbo did. It sort of took the fun out of it.
Opening Redbeardís scrapbook I find myself thumbing through the pages. Looking for what? Iíll know when I find it. Whatís this? A bit about Brandy Hall. Now this brings back memories.