Monthly Archives: December 2012

…a deer had been hit…

No letter was sent to the kids last week.  This letter appeared about this time in their mailboxes in December, 2006.

December 18, 2006

‘Cakes/Reid: Well, it happened again. I know most shopping carts look alike but yeesh, for the second time in nearly as many trips, someone took off with my loaded cart at the local Harris Teeter grocery store where I shop.  My back wasn’t turned for a moment to price the yogurt and cheese, and off it goes.  I can’t figure out what someone wants from a cart loaded to the gills with cereal and apples and lettuce, but for crying out loud don’t you recognize that the stuff wasn’t yours?  I had to get another cart and start all over.  Continue reading


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The S.S. Minnow…

December 17, 2012

Ellen/Reid: Reid, I don’t know as if you’ll have a chance to receive this let alone read it before you fly out for Charlotte, but we’ll keep the string intact.

By now it is hoped you will have figured out where

We did fish and Reid did catch fish.  Not as many as the better times of year, but enough.

We did fish and Reid did catch fish. Not as many as the better times of year, but enough.

to take Tim and Liz, respectively, for the nice dinners.  Ellen, if there’s anything left over you might buy Emma some sort of designer baby food.  Not that there is anything wrong with strained-diluted-tasteless peas and such, but maybe there is something else on the market at Whole (“Paycheck”) Foods.  I’m not up to speed these days on baby food.  Reid, you can spring for a little pricier Continue reading

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Fasten your seat belts…

December 10, 2012

Ellen/Reid: Fasten your seat belts, your dad is about to go ballistic.

I am disappointed, taken aback and steamed beyond belief about the stinky white gunk this morning floating in the otherwise tranquil little stream behind the house.  You should have a photo of this environmental snafu by now.  How the hell can people dump stuff like this down a storm drain?  It’s the same body of water I watch birds wash themselves in, little fish and tadpoles swim around madly to escape herons and where deer stoop for a drink.   I know it’s only a small stream that emerges from a culvert and that you could jump across without a running start but holy smokes, this is my back yard.  In another 400 yards it empties into McMullen Creek and so whatever damage it may cause here will be multiplied down there.

The white goo that seeped into the stream behind the house.  There was no rain to shove it downstream; it looked like this for most of the day.

The white goo that seeped into the stream behind the house. There was no rain to shove it downstream or dilute it; whatever it was stayed this way for most of the day.

It just sickens me that this is how we deem to treat our small chunk of the world.  If Mother Nature has a temper, then it has to be screw ups like this that would set her off.  I sent an email along about the situation with my phone, offered to send an email with a cell phone photo of the white water (and left a voice mail, too), to the pollution control folks at Mecklenburg County but no response so far, which infuriates me.  It is supposed to rain later today, and that will accelerate the problem, literally, by flushing it out of my back yard where it will then become someone else’s problem further down the watershed.  I suppose this is why some of my donations go to the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation.  Excuse the rant but it drives me nuts.

After you’ve just read the first paragraph, don’t drive me any more nuts by getting me anything for Christmas.  Those iPhone Facetimes with Emma, and your trip to CLT, Reid, are all the gifts I need.  Also, I’ve taken to leaving on the Christmas tree lights at night because when I come downstairs about 5:15 in the morning to make coffee and retrieve the paper, its multi-color glow seems pretty welcoming.  A gift-laden tree it’s not, but that’s okay.  By now you should have received just about everything you’re gonna get.

The newspaper delivery lady got $25 as a holiday gift.  I was up Saturday morning (ugh) about 5:30 and her truck was running in the common area.  I scribbled out the check and carried it outside just as she was getting back into her rig.  It wasn’t much, but enough for her to at least get some thanks.  She delivers the paper like clockwork, rain or shine.  I didn’t say, ‘rain or shine or snow’ because we don’t seem to be on the verge of snow.  Saw that you guys got dumped on in the Twin Cities, Ellen.  Too bad.  I played golf in shirt sleeves yesterday, although don’t read that as trying to rub it in.  Ha.

Reid, you will meet Felicia for the first time when you arrive.  She will meet us at Mac’s for some wings as soon as you step off the curb at the airport.  She won’t go with us to Oak Island, and a word to the wise: we will likely get up pretty early in the morning on Saturday to give ourselves a head start on what should be about a four hour drive.  Those cursed fisher-guides still have not returned my calls.  Hell, we ought to rent our own boat.  If by any chances one of them does call, we may get up really early so we can fish about 11:30 or noon for a half-day.  I’ll be so disappointed if we don’t get out on the water, but at least you can say you’ll have driven through Laurenberg, Monroe, Rockingham and countless other eastern NC bergs.  Trust me, you will see how the other half lives.

Okay.  Outta here.  Work to be done.  Unfortunately, no one to pass the buck to.  Happy holidays!


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A Christmas cedar tree…

December 3, 2012

Ellen/Reid: We were all set to put up the tree but we had issues with the lights, too.  As in not having any lights.  Last year I must’ve dumped the whole shebang when a couple of strands went on the blink (or non-blink).  Now we have some new ones but I was too tired last night to muster the energy.  But tonight is the night for tree trimming.  Not much will go beneath it, but at least we will have something relatively festive.  I’ve even though(t) about springing for a natural wreath.  It reminds me of a story years ago when, in the hopes of saving a buck, I drove a beat up old Plymouth Duster into the countryside and cut down a feral cedar tree along a rural road.

Why in the world anyone in their right mind - that is a rhetorical question - would cruise a dustry country road to slice down a dusty cedar as a Christmas tree - is beyond me.  It wasn't back in the early '70s, but it is now.

Why in the world anyone in their right mind – that is a rhetorical question – would cruise a dusty country road to slice down a dusty cedar as a Christmas tree – is beyond me. It wasn’t back in the early ’70s, but it is now.  The solitary gift under the tree?  That is for Reid when he visits.

But the thing was covered in gray road-side dust, enough so that there was no green showing through.  So, I tossed it in the shower and tried to rinse all the dust off, which only perpetuated the dust problem in my apartment and made a mess of the bathtub.  It took forever to dry and it never did smell like aromatic cedar but instead like country mud.  Once it was up, the scruffy un-shapely thing looked awful, so back into the trunk went the now-clean tree, and it was returned – quickly – to the country side.  What an idiot.  I haven’t thought of that story for a long, long time, and probably for good reason.

But in a momentary surrender to the holiday spirit, I did bake bread last night for the first time in many moons, and it was enjoyable as ever for breakfast toast this morning.  It reminded me how much I’ve missed the hearty loaves we used to make when you were kids although I don’t recall you two eating that much of it.  If there was a smidgen of planning here, some of it would go in the freezer to be retained for French toast.  It may move me to whip up a few loaves of breakfast raisin bread this weekend.  That’s my fav.  Why didn’t we bake any of that at Thanksgiving?  Sheer oversight is all that was.

Reid, I am perturbed at the lack of contact from the fishing outfitters in Oak Island.  You’d think someone would want to book a 3 – 4 hour excursion for a couple of hapless landlubbers willing to pay their handsome fees.  I emailed 3 of captains, thinking the first one that responded would get our business.  Maybe it’s too close to Christmas for them, but at least they could have responded in some way.  I’ll keep trying.  Otherwise, we rent stuff on the pier and try our luck at whatever might bite there.  They always show pictures of ‘catches’ but the fading photos have dates like ‘June 9, 2009.’  But it will keep us occupied for a few hours.

More depressing climate news this morning.  Now, the pollution-caused blanket that traps the earth’s heat grew at 3% last year, meaning scientists are underestimating how high – or fast – temperatures will accelerate.  We seem to be killing ourselves but mankind is wholly unwilling to do anything about it.  Such a great gift we’ve been given and we know nothing better than to ruin it.  Don’t get me started on the ‘fiscal cliff.’  The boys and girls in Washington had better learn to play together or they will send us in a long, downward spiral, all for party’s sake.  Its mind blowing to think compromise is a dirty term.  Both sides get the blame although I think things tilt the wrong way a little bit more on the GOP side.  Obama has to get off the fence, too.

Most of my Christmas shopping is done, although there is still time to complete your wish lists.  I need to at least pony up for another item or two for each of you, so move off the snide.  Reid, I may unilaterally get you something else in time for your arrival, and Ellen, what is in that box under your tree won’t be enough.  You gotta help me here.  Throw your dad a bone, okay?


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Settlers of Catan…

November 26, 2012

Ellen/Reid: It’s depressing to know that what you’ve looked forward to for so long has already come and gone.  It was great being with you all in St. Paul.  I wish we could stretch things out a little more so we could squeeze a few more outings and games of Settlers of Catan in there.  There is no reason to believe that my abilities at ‘Settlers’ will improve substantially enough between now and next year for me to be a real factor other than someone who merely takes up valuable space on the game board.  By then Emma will know more than I do.  I would propose Hilton Head next Thanksgiving if that sounds palatable to you all.

Thanks for liking the Thanksgiving meal.  It just solidifies my belief that people will devour anything, and enjoy it, if they are hungry enough.  It also shows that with a can of chicken broth and plenty of flour, you can make enough gravy to satiate an army.  Same with the dressing.

Tim sent this magazine-quality photo of the last surviving piece of pumpkin pie before he de-survived it.

Tim sent this magazine-quality photo of the last surviving piece of apple pie before he un-survived it.

The more, the better.  Ellen, tell Tim his text about the apple pie made my day, although I threatened to let his mother and grandmothers know of his treasonous thoughts.  They might have another set of opinions and perhaps would deal with him a little more harshly.  It’s fun to cook for the crew while you guys are playing Settlers or just hanging out.  That’s what grandfather’s do; cook and stay out of the way.

Emma is certainly the happiest little baby I have ever seen.  She just lights up all day, every day.  That’s a testament to how you and Tim are bringing her along, Ellen.  Just a happy little soul.  Your daily routine reminds me of such times with you two little yo-yos.  But on the whole you two were pretty good kids, too.  That, or I’ve forgotten how cantankerous you two were.

Reid, it is good we are heading to Oak Island for a couple of days around Christmas.  Where we are staying won’t be much to write home or text about, but the water is only as far from your front porch to the nearest corner on Huron Street.  That is the total allure of it.  A pier is maybe 50 yards away, and the town center and the restaurants aren’t that far off, either.  It’s too bad I have to do some paltry work on Monday or otherwise we’d be there for two nights.  Fishing sounds like some fun but no plans have been made as of this writing.

Okay, another stab at pumpkin and apple pies will have to wait for another year.  We hope to have another turkey soon, and that will give me a chance to work the lumps out of the pan gravy.


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