Mary Burton’s last time on the annual Big Hill Ditch Walk sponsored by the native plant society in her small town had been three years before at age 92.
She hasn’t been up to it since then.
“No news from here,” she wrote a friend, “except to say I now have to expect some attention from the medics. Some months ago I had a small ulcer develop on my right leg. That was put right but now the left leg needs some attention.”
Mary has always been fiercely independent and dreads the thought of an army of well-wishers descending while she sits largely immobile.
“I want you all to forget about any plans for visiting,” she wrote. “This is about the dullest, dreariest place. Also, I cannot offer you or others the care or comfort here I would like. I will be quite happy to talk on the phone, but better to exchange letters.
“There is far more all around Northern California for you to see. So, I repeat, no trips to the wonders of this backwoods hamlet.”
And with a sigh she put down her pen and looked through the living room window at the beautiful view from her rural home.