If you have the patience, interest and fortitude to scroll down about half way into last week’s letter, you’ll read about what Ellen and Reid first heard about by phone. News such as this can’t be plopped into a letter and read cold turkey by the kids. A call was the proper way to announce it. The cat is out of the bag.
Ellen likely had some inkling that something was afoot; Reid, on the other hand, was probably clueless, seeing how he has yet to meet Felicia in more than four years. That’s as much as anything on his old man for not shipping the lad down here. But he’ll get the chance to make her acquaintance at Christmas.
This is far from the first time Felicia has made these pages, and although this photo is far from the best I have (due to technical reasons with my other decrepid PC) you get the picture.
Here’s how the news was broken in last week’s letter:
September 24, 2012
Ellen/Reid: As I plowed through my raisin bran this morning, it occurred to me that I’d better get used to, as you say Ellen, a ‘plant based’ diet. The very idea of switching has been simmering for a little while, and we’ll gravitate that way. It looks as though that will be the new direction and it is a major mind-culinary-food shift for your old man. I shudder at the thought of a freezer full of steaks, brats and hamburger, but we won’t even wait to work our way through those stores. The steaks and the like will go toward the Sunday morning breakfast served to the women’s shelter at Caldwell Pres. They can slice up the steaks and put into the scrambled eggs. At least the beef will go to a good cause and I’m cool with that.
Rather than be a card-carrying vegan, we’ll still eat chicken and shrimp. That’s the best I can promise. At this age, you can’t expect me to give up everything, do you? Anyway, it might boil down to the old adage that ‘the flesh is weak’ and if my resolve against beef is as weak as it is for ice cream, there might be a falling back now and then. Like, when you’re down for Christmas, Reid.
Worse still, however, is the thought of re-inventing the cooking wheel. It was trail-by-fire (or oven) to learn how to cook the normal way with normal foods, and how I have to do it all over again. But that’s okay. Felicia is on board with it. We had black bean burgers at her daughter’s the other night, and they were surprisingly good. Tofu may be another matter entirely. Can’t get my arms all the way around bean curd, or whatever the hell it is. I couldn’t identify tofu if it was the only item on the kitchen counter. I’ve yet to Google for good recipes but that is the next step. Having Felicia around to badger me about what I eat and how often I eat will be a good thing. At least we’ve not made a habit of cooking or heating process foods. Everything has been from scratch. Now, all my stored recipes for beef-this and beef-that will go bye-bye.
Speaking of that, I’m glad you both know the news. It’s been headed that way for a little while, and the next step of living together will be the real acid test. More for Felicia than me. Six plus years of living by your lonesome tends to ingrain, shall we say, some bad household guy-habits (that applies to you, too, Reid), although the cleaning service has stepped up my game in that regard. Actually, things haven’t been too bad in that regard. It will just be a change, that’s all. She’s been by her headstrong self for more than 20 years so this will be a humongous change for her, too. If we don’t slit each other’s throats or sleep in separate rooms after a while and push comes to shove down the road (and the timing is really anyone’s guess, and Felicia knows of most of my checkered past), then my expectation for the grand relationship finale is something equally low key. Pomp and ceremony won’t be needed. But this is a one step at a time thing and we’re just about to take that first step. Her daughter has signed off on it, and so has her son. So we’re in pretty good shape on the approvals. Even Betsy has given us the thumbs up, and that’s saying something. No doubt your uncle will try to talk me back from the ledge, but we’ll take this one speed bump at a time.
Ellen, great photos of Emma in her cold weather garb. I just can’t wait to see her at Thanksgiving. It has been so long. I’m not living up to the grandfather pledge of “seeing the granddaughter as often as is humanly possible.”
No doubt you’ve heard of some impending layoffs at the bank. 16,000 by the end of the year, or so they say. Knock on wood, but I am in acceptable shape. But if that brand of push-comes-to-shove pans out, then I’ll ask Social Security to start sending the checks they want to foist on me. Let the retirement saga start.