Laetitia decided that the day’s tour would be in Kings Canyon National Park, but on the way the group made a brief stop in Salinas, John Steinbeck’s hometown. There they visited the 1897 turreted Victorian house where Steinbeck was born in 1902.
As Laetitia’s luck would have it, another novelist wannabe joined the tour. Laetitia dreaded having budding writers on her tours, since they often asked her for writing tips. She had no novel-writing experience and could offer no useful advice, but there was nothing she could do about the writers joining the tour. Anyone could join or leave a Mind’s Eye Limerick Tour at any time.
The writer, whose chosen nom de plume was “Tom Joad,” wanted to write romance novels with a religious bent. He enjoyed Steinbeck’s novels, especially those derived from biblical themes, such as East of Eden. Fortunately, what he had written was not long, so Laetitia agreed to read it. “Tom Joad” had chosen “Rose of Sharon” as the name of the story’s female protagonist, a name no doubt derived from the character of the same name in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. A sample of his writing read:
“Hoping to woo Rose of Sharon with a text from Solomon, Hiram passed over Ecclesiastes with its ‘Life’s a bitch, then you die’ theme, rejected ‘Thy belly is like a heap of wheat’ from The Song of Songs as a line Peter Paul Rubens might have used to court a traditionally-built operatic soprano, and abandoned the whole biblical idea when he discovered in Proverbs that the king who had 700 wives and 300 concubines confessed, ‘I know not the way of a man with a maid.’“
Laetitia commented, “I think you need a new start. It looks like you’ve painted yourself into a corner.”
It was a glorious sunny day. Laetitia and her group went hiking in the redwood forests of Kings Canyon National Park in the Sierra Mountains. The walk gave the group the sense of being in a cathedral. A young couple, Andy and Maisie from Hesperia, near Los Angeles, was on this day’s tour and provided the limerick of the day. They were joking with another young couple about the first time they had made love. It was outside, and Maisie thought they were going to freeze.
When Andy, who lived in Hesperia
Seduced Maisie behind the wisteria
The ground was so cold
That she loudly did scold
“‘Tis like making love in Siberia.”