One continuous dirge…


Ellen certainly needed a break from recent pressures. She got it during a weekend trip to the Bay area and San Francisco to see her mom.

The past few months of writing feels like one continuous dirge.  Hopefully I’ve earned a hall pass from such heaviness.  The most recent two weeks of letters to Ellen and Reid have been nothing more than opening my pea-brain and letting anything and everything come out.  No effort has been expended to do anything beyond the very plain, very vanilla and very ordinary.

My guess is the kids are ready for a breather.  I say that because in a condolence letter from my friend Steve in Des Moines, he opined on the subject of our own looming mortality, and he wondered if our children “see us as we see our parents?”  My response to him just this morning was “probably not.”   I think people tend to avoid the unpleasantness of looking too far ahead.  We deal with the sadness at hand when that time arrives and not until then.  That’s why insurance types build actuarial tables.  That’s for them to worry about.  We know what lies ahead but that’s just it – it is ahead and not now.

So for the time being it is okay to revert to everyday fare in the notes to the kids.  They’re ready for a break, and I am, too.

————-

October 17, 2011

Ellen/Reid: I really do appreciate the concern of you two, but honestly, everything is fine and it will continue to be fine.  We should have no worries until we start arguing about what food (and how much) is going on the Thanksgiving table.  Ellen, the Boyz will handle nearly all of the “food preparation.”  I put dibs on at least the breakfast portions and am expecting to do dinner duty, too.  Geez, in just over a month we’ll be assembling in St. Paul.

EP, wow, you’ll be back from San Francisco before you get a chance to read this.  That sounds like a fun trip.  Oh, to be a fly on the wall around you two.  Talk about a gab fest, but with very good reason.  Your timing is extra-special good on that little trip.  Your mom knows how to shop and I fear – Tim does, too – that those skills have rubbed off on you.  But that’s half the fun.  Why go if you can’t head into the city?  Duh.

Your uncle’s Dance to raise money for cancer research made YouTube.  Gayle somehow got the link and posted it yesterday.  I talked to him this morning and he said he only made a few minor missteps in his almost three minute routine.  He didn’t win the event – the wife of a doctor who contributed several thousand – took top honors.  There were four amateur dancers entered – all are cancer survivors – and they each teamed with a professional.  But Ralph was pretty pleased with his performance as the others had some pretty significant stumbles during their routines.  He was worried about dropping his dance partner but he was able to hold on.  Ralph and Gayle will be in Europe at the time you get this.  They’re headed to Paris for a week.  I’m not aware they’ve ever been out of the lower 48 except for Joe’s wedding in Mexico.  Good for them to get away.  They’ve deserved it.

I’ve reentered the real world and am feeling pretty good about things.  It’s a pretty big weight off of our collective shoulders.  There have been no ultra-sad moments the last couple of days so that seems like a spot of progress.  Last week I was just exhausted but that seems to be passing by at this moment.  Sleep patterns are returning although I will never be accused of staying up late enough to catch the 11 p.m. news.  I think that grates on Felicia a little bit since I hit the sack much earlier than she is otherwise used to.  She and I went through the big box of photos the other night and it really is a cavalcade of memories.  I tried to explain what she was looking at but didn’t do a very good job.  We as a clan did and have done a poor job of writing pertinent information on the back of photos about identities and circumstances around the shot.  I’ll try to rectify that for the two of you.  The online resources will be available to find out more information about people in the pictures.  At least you’ll have some first and last names and towns where they lived.  That’s better than nothing in terms of getting a head start.

There’s no more news on the job front and I take that as a positive.  We keep getting hammered in the daily press and some of it is deserved but not all of it.  Reid, since you have an account at the bank, you can identify with some of the analysis that says the marketing geeks at the big banks know what they’re doing in that they’ve made other services, such as online bill pay, etc., too convenient and attractive to make the switch.  We can only hope that is true.  I still like what I do, for the most part.  And I’m still working.

Well, let the countdown to T-Day in St. Paul begin.  My estimate is a 10-12 pound bird (I don’t think you need a fresh one or a humanely raised or free range turkey or whatever they call them), a 10 lb. sack of potatoes and some other fixin’s and we’re golden.  That will be good eatin’, followed by good snoozin’.

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