In December 1905 Jim Hogg, convalescing at Varner Plantation, was feeling better and looking forward to Christmas. He wrote to Ima:
My dear Ima,
I am continuing to improve under the skillful treatment of your Brother Will and our servant Richard Davis. The former gives me the medicine and “squirts” my throat, and the latter gives me alternate alcohol and turpentine massage scrubbing and baths before breakfast. Riding, walking and eating constitute my past-time and recreation. We have killed a lot of fat hogs, and you know I have never been willing to stand by and see the spare-ribs, back-bones, sausages, chitlings and sauce, spoil. Will looks as rosy red and saucy as a beer-soaked Dutchman! He is in his element here doctoring the “Old Man” and riding out among the stock—and writing “back-spelled” postal cards and cheap-material letters. Next in order of importance is your maid, Mary, who is willing as ever. Birdie is the same good cook and is taking good care of the smoke-house, and the chickens and turkeys. Mr. and Mrs. Owens are very nice and agreeable. They occupy the upstairs over the dining room and kitchen. Napoleon is as fine and beautiful as ever. He seemed disappointed when he found you did not come with me. The trap-horses and saddle horses are in excellent condition. The dogs are all in good condition and are ready for the “boys” next Christmas. . . .
We have plenty of hogs, sheep and beef, turkeys, geese and chickens, and milk and butter, and sweet and Irish potatoes, and turnips, radishes, etc., to do during the holidays and all the “boys” must have a big time when you come.
I am proud of the record I heard Mike is making and I hope you may help Tom on to the same point.
With love to everybody,
Affectionately your Pa,
J. S. Hogg