Guilty as charged…


Ellen and Henry try to escape the 102F heat in St. Paul by snoozing on the basement floor

I am a habitual offender when it comes to one of my friend Betsy’s cardinal rules: send thank you notes.  Guilty as charged.

In the spirit of turning over a new leaf, I finally got around to writing my hosts, Stacey and Bruce, who allowed me to stay in their home during my May trip to Des Moines.  As lateness goes, maybe it was still in the 30 day grace period (if such a thing exists) for such niceties.  But if nothing else, it gives me latitude to add Stacey and Bruce to the ever-expanding circle of folks I can write to.

———-

June 1, 2011

Stacey and Bruce: I’ve let a month slip by without sending you guys a proper thank you for allowing me to crash at your home and come and go as I pleased for more nights than should be allowed.   But it sure beat the alternative which would have been some motel on the outskirts of town.  It was a real treat to stay there.

It is remarkable to see how Jack has grown, and I can only imagine how Max and Alex have matured.  Are they getting older or is it just me?  One in China, the other in Philadelphia?  It just doesn’t seem possible.   The next thing you know they’ll be married and you’ll be grandparents, although let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.  One way to look at it is you have enough room to accommodate a visiting brood.

It was great being back in DSM for even a long weekend.  I was telling Jane Hemminger that I miss the old sod and the people there and there’s a lot of truth in that.  When you look at all the factors, Des Moines isn’t faring too badly vis a vis some of the cities down this way.  Real estate is holding its own, the schools are still good, unemployment is in single digits, commute times are manageable.  None of which you can say about North Carolina, let alone South Carolina.  It adds up to a pretty nice picture.  I was really impressed with how things have pulled together in the downtown.  Charlotte should send a contingent up North to see how it’s done.  When I moved here the city was living the high life in all respects, but when things crashed we went down very hard face first.

I sense that Ellen is on a mommy-track.  All of her friends have little ones and I get the suspicion – she’s never mentioned anything to me so my view may be unfounded – that she’ll join them before long.  She seems to be nesting a bit in that they have gutted the kitchen in their older home in St. Paul for a total makeover.  The tear-out is complete but the work has yet to begin and she is still of the Pollyannaish view that it will be completed by the end of June.  Dream on, kid.  I’m hopeful of getting up there before long to view the work-in-progress although I perceive that they just want me to walk their dog and do their yard work for them.  That would be okay.

Reid is another matter all together.  He has gone incommunicado for another long stretch.  When he surfaces will be anyone’s guess.  I think he’s just getting on with things which I suppose is what boys will do.  We’re on a need to know basis and apparently we don’t need to know.  He likes his new agency and his neighborhood, but that was as of three weeks ago so who knows if the landscape has changed.

Well, gotta run.  But thanks again for letting me intrude for nights on end.  It was great to see both of you, and if by chance you ever get down to the Carolinas, you have a place to crash, too, although my guest room is Spartan by your standards.  See you soon.

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