The call…


Ellen and Henry attempt to play in a few feet of snow in the backyard. I'm glad it's their backyard and not mine.

The call came about 2:15 local time Thursday afternoon.

The caller asked a few questions which seemed rhetorical to me at the moment.  To paraphrase the two most important; “Would you like to stay on full-time” and “are you willing to start right away?”  The only possible answers: yes and yes.

So I am back among the working.  This really has been one hell of a year.  They don’t make roller coasters with mega-sized ups-and-downs to rival 2010.

To be honest about it, my response once we hung up the phone from the 3 or 4 minute one-sided conversation was a lot more muted than I thought it might be.  Pretty much quiet and reflective.  But I am beyond thankful.

So you can guess how next Monday’s letter might read.  As it is, here is last Monday’s.

The call moved me from Scrooge-mode to put up the tree. Not many presents beneath it, but I've already opened the big one, so to speak.

——————–

December 13, 2010

Ellen/Reid: I feel your pain about the mounds of snow and icebox cold up in those parts but I’m glad the feeling is from a distance.  That’s why planes do a brisk business to shuttle folks south out of the MSP and O’Hare airports to far warmer climes.  People pay good money for the privilege to escape the sensation of shivering.

I guess that makes my decision to stay down here all that much easier.  The longer I’m down here the more it feels like home, and while I will purposefully head to the Midwest to see friends I miss very much, this appears to be where my line in the sand is drawn.  My circle of friends is widening bit by bit so the long stretches of isolation I felt early on are fading away.  My singles golf group was and is a big help, and so is my domestic situation.  I think had I elected to stay purposefully alone in the near and intermediate future then the Midwest certainly was an option.  But as things changed it’s changed me, too.

In some ways I am afraid of another move, another uprooting which literally had me in a state of shock for the first couple of years.  The thought occurred to me yesterday that the four and a half years here really feels like 20.  It really does.  It’s just hard to recall all that has occurred because so much has occurred.  It’s been not dissimilar from what both of you have had, you in Indy and St. Paul, Ellen, and Reid, you at a couple of addresses in Chicago.  I guess it’s just getting on with things and moving ahead.  I don’t think I was ever in a real funk down here, beyond wondering what my role and function was at the bank, so – knock on wood – my heads been on relatively straight.  Most days.

There are still things I’m not terribly comfortable with down here, the politics and attitudes and such, but then again you can insulate yourself from most of that as you carve out your own little world.  That’s what I seem to have done so far.

If there’s been anything I’ve learned, however, it’s ‘never assume anything.’  I had a J-school teacher years ago who mentioned that truism over and over and over again until it almost became predictable.  But it was true then and it’s still true now.  The best laid plans can go awry in a heartbeat.  Planning itself isn’t overrated but assuming that plans never change sure is.  So where any of us will be in five years is far from assured.  I guess life is about rolling with the punches.

But I do like my little house.  It has become so familiar and is pretty cozy, the lousy way they insulate homes down here notwithstanding.  As you know I’m not nuts about trudging up three floors but so far the legs have held up.  I’m nesting a little bit more in that after three tries and great expense I finally constructed a workable bird feeder, actually a tray with a screened bottom and metal roof, that brings nature to the window sill outside the kitchen.  No birds have yet to feed at the table, but hopefully they will get the drift soon enough.  It’s those little touches, however rudimentary, that make me feel better about the place.  Now, if I can just get it paid off…

I will keep you updated on the doings here at the bank.  There is a sliver of hope but as you saw in the fifth paragraph, it doesn’t pay to ever assume anything.  But if something does shake loose watch your phones for an urgent text message, or two.  I’m glad you liked, or at least professed to like, what passed for Christmas presents this year.  At least it wasn’t a couple of lumps of coal.  Come to think of it perhaps you could have used some anthracite for heat.

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