A streak ends…

An unbroken streak of letters to Ellen and Reid – 180-plus weeks by my rough count – was snapped last Monday.  There is no letter from last week to share with you today (although another has been plucked from the archives).  There just wasn’t enough time to get it all done.  I’m sure current events will allow me to more than make up for it.  The three of us have a lot to talk about.

You know what will be at the heart of the matter.  Already we reminisce about their grandparents.  Before the most recent downturn, I asked my dad to again refresh my memory about our relatives, his WWII forced landing in a B-17, and other historical points worth archiving.

This episode could be something of a teaching moment for us.  Our trio would be well served to agree to some sort of plan as push comes to shove when our own brand of inevitability happens at some point down the road.  As my brother and I have noted over and over again in recent days, the worst time to make a decision is when you have to.

There may well be other lasting conversational (and emotional) residue when a natural conclusion comes to pass at some point in the relatively near future.  Ellen and Reid have experienced familial death before – some years ago when their other grandfather suddenly passed away – but this will be an opportunity for us to grapple with the slow decline of health on several different levels.  As the kids are older now, our grief-focused conversations can be more expressive and matter-of-fact.  We will move through all of this in due time.


Here is a old-ish letter to Ellen.

July 14, 2004


Sort of an up and down week here.  The one constant has been the heat, and there’s been plenty of it.  Around 90˚ most days.  Good for corn and tomatoes, they say.  Well, I ain’t got any corn planted and my neighbor has plenty of tomatoes, so the heat can skedaddle on out of here’n.

Too bad about Bill _______.  Glad we weren’t up there, in a way.  I think he was pretty down about what his kids were up to, and maybe that contributed to it.  We’ll never know.  He was an okay guy.

Reid continues to amaze with his ability to get out of bed on his own in the morning.  He had to be at work – at work – at 6:00 this morning and when I popped in at 5:30 to rouse him, his light was already on (the light was on but nobody was home – he was still dozing).  He’s making some good cash this summer.  He’ll deserve a few weeks off in Wyoming or Colorado or wherever he and his posse are headed.

Well now, it sounds like you’re off on the right foot in your teaching career.  Always dicey to meet with the parents.  All they want to know is if you’re going to be nice to their child and know what you’re doing.  Parents are the key.  By the time you’ll get this, you’ll have several days of classroom work under your belt.  Hopefully, you won’t be changing diapers.

Man, we’ll be on the way soon with a boatload of stuff.  There’s quite a lot of nice stuff around the garage for you.  We got rid of the trundle bed this morning.  Kind of surprised the trash folks took both mattresses and the metal springs away.  Really, I thought there was some family that could’ve used it.  It’ll be nice to have the garage back.  We look like a bunch of Okies with the stuff jammed in there.

The Scooter moments have lapsed away entirely.  Poor guy.

How’s this for idiocy: every day I’ve been laying my Harley jacket in the hot sun to help it fade.  Sometimes I sprinkle a little water on it from the sprinkler can to speed the aging process, but the neighbors that see me do it must think the guy is wacko.

Both your mom and I are in a mad dash to get physically fit for Wyoming.  The weight isn’t too bad and I’ve been walking the golf course and toting my clubs, so that’s a start.  Your mother is never out of shape so she’s almost ready to go.  She may head up to the lake one more time when Reid and his posse stop up there in the next couple of weeks.

This is pretty much the last call for items you want us to haul over.  If there’s anything you think of at the 11th hour, call us.  We’ve got most of the kitchen stuff you need.  Maybe as a surprise, you and Afton should cook us a special dinner in your new kitchen.  Wouldn’t that be a real culinary surprise.


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