Category Archives: Writing to friends

Texting = de Quervain’s Syndrome…


The little nodule on Bob's wrist is a sign his knotted-up tendons have rebelled against his rampant use of phone technology.

My friend Bob in Des Moines goes under the knife soon for an entirely self-inflicted, and typically painful, ailment known as de Quervain’s Syndrome (aka washerwoman’s syndrome or mother’s wrist).  Basically, it’s a repetitive motion injury.  It was first identified in 1895 by a guy named Fritz, and Mr. de Quervain had no idea his observations would apply to more than scrubbing floors and lifting babies.

Seems Bob has texted way, way, way more than a wrist can handle.  Look up the textbook definition of repetitive motion injury and you’ll see Bob’s name.  Bob is a tech guy’s techie.  He knows his way around an iPhone better than anyone alive.  That includes the developers.  Just as the rest of us are trying to figure out how to direct dial, Bob pushes the boundaries of tech-knowledge.  In Coeur d’Alene he drove us nuts with continual and usually unsolicited demonstrations of “apps” that ranged from a circular rotating compass to guide our way if we got lost to a hand-held seismograph that recorded his heart beat or jolts when the SUV hit bumps in the road.  We rode Bob hard (the derision was good natured) about his addiction to technology.  Bob’s loss is the hand surgeon’s gain.

Let it be said that unless I begin to sit awkwardly at my laptop keyboard, I should manage to avoid de Quervain’s Syndrome or a similar overuse ailment.  I suppose correct posture and proper ergonomic design of a keyboard are a saving graces to letters.  Bob will recover soon enough to rejoin the ranks of texters, although I hope he’ll subscribe to whatever  “app” will make it easier on his thumbs.

——————

Here’s today’s letter to my mother.  A seven minute exercise from start to finish.  Things are improving for her medication-wise.  I hope this letter adds a minute or two of brightness to her day.

September 24, 2010

Mom: Officially it’s supposed to be fall right now but the weather guy says today will be another day in the 90s.  Your first frost can’t be far behind and we still worry about sun screen and tee shirts.  There are now drought conditions in some parts of the Carolinas.  I have a little drought situation in my own neck of the woods; the plants in my window boxes are goners since they had stopped flowering and I stopped watering them.  I’ll replant something in their place.

Was on the porch the other day when I noticed that my parsley plant was awfully scrawny and didn’t have many leaves.  On closer inspection, it was filled with a yellow and black banded caterpillar of some sort.  They had munched the plant to nearly nothing.  So I picked them off and squished them.  But in an idle moment I wondered what they were so I looked up North Carolina caterpillars on the Internet.  It seems these were destined to turn into Swallowtail butterflies, and here I’d just assassinated about 20 of them.  If I’d known that I would’ve let them live.  Incredibly, the background on the worms said they preferred plants in the parsley family.  Well, they found mine to their liking.

Was in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho last weekend with some friends from Des Moines.  These were guys I’ve known a long time, and it reminded me how I’ve not been able to see old friends for quite some time.  So it was good in that regard.  We played golf and had a great time eating and laughing (drinking wine a little bit, too).  We played a course where they had an island green you had to take a boat to reach.  The kicker was if you hit the green on your first shot you got a certificate.  I plunked my ball in the water the first day but got a certificate on the second day.  It wasn’t a gimmee in that it played about 165 yards both days.  Nice course, and it was in the mountains which I have missed.  Flew over some familiar mountains in Wyoming.  That was fun to see.

Ellen goes to Des Moines this weekend for some event.  Reid told me last night he wants a new computer but this time he’s going to build one.  How the heck do you build a computer?  He’s already got a jazzy laptop but he says that’s not powerful enough for all the stuff he wants to do.  Don’t ask me what he wants to do but he needs a mega-computer to do it.  Good for him.  He had a good review at his ad agency job this week.  That made his week.

Not much going on in these parts.  Probably take the bike out for a spin this weekend.  Likely will head to South Carolina for the day Saturday.  The forecast is for rain on Sunday which is sorely needed around here.  Of course, the big news is I leave for Grand Island in a couple of weeks and will see you very soon.  Just make sure the ice cream shops are still open, and I’m sure we’ll find a good joint for a burger and a beer.

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Filed under Contact, Friends, Technology, Writing to friends

Along came Coeur d’Alene…


Dave, Bob and Dave afloat on Lake Coeur d'Alene. The tourist season had come and gone so it was the perfect time to visit. Next time: Pinehurst.

The real world took a breather last weekend.  Along came Coeur d’Alene.

Pure and simple, it was a junket.  A guy’s weekend.  Golf, food and wine.  You could reverse the order and still get the same results.  It was the better part of four days with the impact of seven.

It was my first time around old (figuratively, not literally) friends in quite some time.   Ellen and Reid knew of my misgivings about taking time away from my current predicament, but any apprehension dissolved quickly amid the camaraderie.  It was good to be there and to be with my boys.

The chief culprit/chief planner was Jane, Dave’s bride.  In her next life she will be an event planner to royalty and/or presidents.  A few weeks ago I posted the letter sent to her and Dave where I caved to her persistent invitation (effectively abetted by Bob’s equally persistent battering).  I don’t know where the renewed contacts with these guys will lead, but they will lead somewhere.

——————

Housekeeping: this is the final week of three-day-a-week posts.  I’ll scale back to Tuesday-Friday postings.  I reserve the right down the road to return to the thrice weekly regiment as time allows.  As they say when interminable corporate conference calls end mercifully early, I’ll give you some time back.

—————-

But it is Wednesday, as it always is at midweek.  Here’s a prior message to my two young adults.

October 4

EB/Reid:

Whew, feels good to be back home again.  That’s enough driving and sitting around hotels for a little while.  Grandma and Grandpa were so glad to see you guys, although they were a little disappointed in your appetites.  I built you guys up as having bottomless pits when it came to food, but the best you could do was appetizers.  They enjoyed seeing you.

The house painters are here this week, both inside and out.  We’re debating colors right now and already it’s clear that my choices will lose.  Your mom was talking to Amy F______ last night as I got home from my walk, and they were conspiring with other paint selections.  Heck, it doesn’t matter all that much.  Just get the damn thing done.

Alas, the raspberries have come to an end.  We had raspberries every morning for weeks, not many, but enough for cereal.  But we still have plenty of tomatoes for BLTs.  Now that’s eatin’.

Too bad Iowa State got worked by Nebraska.  The papers here were all over the overtime loss.  It just goes to show that the Big Red is back, sort of.  Reid, have a good time in Lincoln.  Just don’t let us see your name on the police blotters.

It’s too bad that Afton is packing up for Grand Rapids.  Tough deal losing your job that way, but the Internet is a touchy thing with a lot of employers, especially on their time and on their PCs.  I hope you come out of this with another good roommate.  You guys have learned more out of college than you learned in it.

Very hot yesterday and today.   90+.   But it will be down in the 30’s by Thursday and Friday so it seems fall is about to come and go very quickly.  Pittsburgh sure was pretty but the downtown is on the dead side.  It was a steel town for a long time, but all those mills are long gone.

The one guarantee I can make this weekend is that I will be out of here on Sunday.  Your mom and Molly H______ are hosting a wedding shower here for Lynn G________’s son Aaron, and thankfully my services won’t be needed.  However, it’s been made abundantly clear that the lawn will be mowed, the weeds killed, and sidewalk edges trimmed and the mulch renewed at the front door.  Other than that, there’s not much to do.  I think I’ll ride down to Missouri since I’ve never ridden in that state.  That will lift my state count to 12.

Got a fair amount of work to do this week for ___________, ___________, ______________.  Mostly writing stuff.  Did you see the article in the Pittsburgh paper about your Grandpa’s reunion?  I can’t believe the editor’s there took a flyer on me and allowed me to write it.

Well, I’m off to the salt mines right now.  Give us a call if you need anything.  Except money.

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A friend in the nick of time…


Ellen in particular sends lots of photos via her phone. Loveable Henry appears to have become a Minnesota Twins fan, as is Ellen's hubby Tim.

Ever have one of those times in life when you badly, sorely, really needed a friend?  I’ve had my share of welcome friends recently; Betsy, Ferg, Bob, Felicia, Ann, Linda, John, Pam, Pete.  You know the type; supportive, empathetic, helpful.

Then along comes Jane.  Jane lives in Des Moines and I referenced she and her husband Dave a couple of posts ago.  We go way back.  28 years will have to suffice for way back.  Without getting into excruciating detail, Jane was a friend in the nick of time.

In a few weeks, I will be afforded the opportunity to rekindle the relationship in person.  It’s been five long years since we’ve last seen each other, and it’s high time for a reunion.  I couldn’t let this entire situation pass without some sort of correspondence.  On top of that, they know Ellen and Reid very well;  a here’s-what-the-kids-are-doing-now update is way, way, way overdue.  It doesn’t take much to get my motor running when it comes to letters.  Just point me in the right direction and I’ll take things from there.

Here is that letter.

August 30, 2010

Jane/Dave: This has been one hell of a forgettable summer and I’ve looked for some ray of light.  You two are apparently it, and just in time.

I have been woefully out of contact with virtually everyone from Des Moines except for F_________ and a little bit with Greg K_______.  The guilty party pops up in my mirror every morning.  From the sound of things, things haven’t changed up there markedly.  For some reason I was under the assumption that you guys had jettisoned DSM entirely for sunny FLA-USA.  But the weather pages of the paper did not paint a pretty winter picture of Des Moines this past season so no one would have held it against you had you pulled up stakes entirely.

As for North Carolina, my stake seems to be a little further in the ground as time goes by.  It’s a nice enough place.  Charlotte is a good town and it was at its zenith when I moved down here in ’06.  Wine and decadence for everyone.  Those were pretty heady times for the ‘burg, and it’s been in something of a free-fall since then.  The actual timing of the free fall can be directly pegged to my purchase of a townhome at the very tippy-top of the market.  Someone has to buy at full price.  Things have fallen downhill like a rock since then.  If you looked at a map, which you have utterly no reason to do, I would be in what locals like to call ‘South Park’.  My commute to the downtown (which is called Uptown for some flimsy reason) is about 20 minutes.  Not bad by these standards.  I like it here and like where I live.

But here is the real news.  Ellen (now 27) is by all appearances very happily married up in St. Paul.  She just landed her first teaching gig (2nd grade) after a long, long time searching and applying.  She just persevered.  She and her hubby, Tim (who works at _______) live in a little bungalow not far from the main East-West drag in St. Paul.  They love it although I persistently rub it in deeply in, say, in January, when it’s -31 there and 64F here.  I have to get in my digs sometime.  She was working at a property management firm which paid well but it wasn’t her dream.  Now she gets to live it.  _____________, St. Paul, MN  55105-2409.

On the other hand, Reid (25) is fully acclimated to Chicago where none of us see him leaving anytime soon.  He’s some sort of web/pixel/digital ad campaign geek at a big ad agency there.  I don’t fully understand what he does and he’s grown tired of telling me.  He’s dating a young woman from Des Moines, Jackie, and perhaps that hastened him moving just this week to a studio apartment.  He likes Chicago a lot although we have to wean him from being a Cubs fan.

Kathy has pretty much become a Californian with her new guy.  I plead ignorance on any of the details because I don’t butt in or ask, but from what I glean from the kids and others, it’s a good situation for her, too.  Her house in Clive will go on the market soon and should stand a fair chance of selling.

My father passed away at the end of June, and a few weeks later my job at the bank passed along, too.  This will be one summer that can’t move out of the way fast enough.  That’s why your pending trip is so exciting.  I may be bothered by dropping off people’s radar screens back there, but there’s nothing like rekindling old relationships, as long as we can keep the news out of the newspapers.  I owe you in more ways than one.  See you soon.

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Carpe diem or carpe hebdomas?…


Skeptics think I would never hang up my clubs. But there they are and there they'll stay for the time being.

We didn’t speak much Latin in the Presbyterian household I grew up in as a kid.

My command of romance languages has historically been sketchy (care to glance at my report cards?) so I don’t know if there is a ‘seize the week’ equivalent to carpe diem (carpe hebdomas perhaps?  The loose Latin translation is seven days but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it).

But here’s a very coarse interpretation for letter writers everywhere: get off your keester and send someone a letter.

I was just on the phone to my friend Jane in Des Moines and she groused how she and her husband Dave are out of touch with everyone including those who still live there let alone us expats.  Unbeknownst to her, she opened the door for me.  Jane and Dave are perfect letter recipient candidates; long time friends, people who I care about, people who want to know the exploits of Ellen and Reid.  The phone call whetted the appetite but left a void that a letter can rush in to fill like so much sea water.  Jane has no clue a letter is on the way but trust me, it’s already in the works.  You will see it sooner than later, a week or two, perhaps.

I may have a habit of lounging on my tidy rear end, but I know when its time to let my fingers carry the load.

———————-

We’ve gone back a fair number of years for this note sent to Ellen during her first year of teaching in Indianapolis.

July 28, 2004

Cakes:

So now you’re in your new digs and all is hunky-dory.  I can’t believe we unloaded everything in one evening and – more or less – got it all situated before we left.  That’s so cool.  But I was sweating like a sailor at a free dance (to quote your Uncle Ralph) by the time we had everything inside.  I hope to ride the bike to Indy sometime in September, so keep a laundry list of smallish stuff I can tote in my saddlebags.  I’m still uncomfortable with the lighting at the rear of the place.  As the landlord if I can install a motion detector.  I’ll pay for it.

It was so nice of the Timster to make the trip down.  He’s a pretty good guy and his idea of an iPod was a great idea.  But I saw in the paper this morning that all sorts of people have experienced hearing losses because they use their iPods too much.  Heck, I lost my hearing the old fashioned way by jacking the car stereo up too loud.

Reid is on his way back from his concert extravaganza and his trip to the lake.  He’ll be exhausted.  We don’t want to know about everything that went on up there.  The less we know the better.  As long as it didn’t include drugs, we’re okay with it.  If his weiner of a car makes it back, it will be a small victory.  We paid through the nose to have that thing prepped for the trip.  Heck, we probably shelled out more than the car is worth, easily.  Next on the selling block: the van.  It’s served its purpose (to move you and your bro’ and all your stuff) and now is the time to get rid of it.  Your mom wants something sportier but she’ll have to fight through me to get an SUV.  I’ll have none of it.

That sure was a nice surprise party Tim and Afton hosted for you.  Hope you were suitably surprised by it.  Man, what a scorcher.  Good thing the pool was part of it because you guys would’ve wilted like flowers without a way to cool off.  There were a fair number of tenants who seemed to be using the pool, too.

Going to take the bike out tonight to Porky’s while your mom goes out to dinner with the girls.  All they’ll do is bash men.  Same as you and Afton do.  I like to see all the other Harleys.  The reason lots of people go there is bike envy.  They think theirs is the best, although I don’t think there are a ton of other Heritage Softails that are better’n mine.  Once the front forks are chromed, watch out baby!  It will be the best Hog around.

Tom and Michelle ________ called us at the last minute last night to go to the ValAire for The Little River Band.  We couldn’t place their music, but once we heard it, we knew who they were.  It was an older crowd and people were really bopping and a-rolling.  At $10 a throw, that’s pretty good entertainment.  You know when the band is bald that they’ve been around a while.  30 years, to be exact.

Well, back to the salt mines.  I like your classroom newsletter, but I’d shift it a bit away from “…I had the kids…” to more of a “…this week the kids really liked…”  See you sooner than later!

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Joys and concerns…


To conclude each Sunday service at my church, Caldwell Memorial Presbyterian, there is time set aside for ‘Joys and Concerns.’   Parishoners stand and one by one clear their minds in front of God and other witnesses.  What they talk about is all over the map; prayers for those who are ailing, wishes for safe travel for relatives, thanks for some random kindness, help to find a job, etc.

My weekly letters perform much the same function.  Joys range from thankfulness to being Ellen and Reid’s dad to watching some unidentified bird flit among the branches of trees in the green belt behind the house.  My concerns shift from our collective pursuit to land meaningful work to the string of events you saw unfold these past few months.

There is one other concern to share.  What was lost has now been found: namely last week’s letter, dated July 5, to the kids.  But a post or two ago I mentioned that my dad’s passing was a chance to reconnect to others who reentered my life at that trying time.   In that vein, here is a note to my good buddy Bob back in Des Moines.  Excuse the coarse language.  The momentarily lost letter to Ellen and Reid is pasted below the letter to Bob.

———————-

July 7, 2010

Bob: It’s been a hell of a stretch these past few months but thanks for your email the other day.  That tended to make things much easier.  I’m not in a bad spot right now.  The real crusher was all the events that led up to his passing.  That’s where the anxiety and exhaustion set in.  I’ve slept like a rock these past few nights although it’s not a sleep inducer I’d recommend to anyone.  Got by pretty well although there were the usual family gymnastics if you know what I mean.

So I’m back in the fold now, trying to prove my worth and stay put.   Haven’t followed Meredith very much except for the stock pages.

Hey, your photos from Oregon were cool.  No wonder folks want to come from far and wide to play there.  You lucky stiffs.  No one comes down to Carolina to play – and given the scorching heat we’ve had since June 1, I wouldn’t either.  It’s been a broiler coupled with incredible humidity.  Omaha felt arid by comparison.

Have ridden a lot this spring and summer, in part because I’ve got a bona fide girl friend who exists to ride.  We’ve been all over the Carolinas collecting dealer pins.  Average day trip has been about 225.  Bike just passed 40,000 miles.  Probably time for a Road King.  Told Reid the current bike is his if he meets certain stipulations (license and rider class, can’t live in Chicago, etc.).  So we’ll see if he lives up to his end of the bargain.  Not a lot of Harleys down here by comparison, but the roadways make for incredible riding.  Hardly a straight road anywhere.  But when it’s hot it is a beast.  Makes Sturgis seem like a refrigerator.

My golf is just plain shitty.  My swing is so long as to replicate Charles Barkley’s.  Just God-awful in all respects.  Plus, I’m playing maybe once a week (what with all the bike riding) and the courses are okay but not anywhere near conditioned as you are used to “up North.”  Haven’t enjoyed it nearly as much as I did way back when.

But I am enjoying the blog.  It’s the one creative outlet that’s still in my control.  Just went past 75 posts since January, and according to Reid, that’s a good amount.  Not a whole hell of a lot of subscribers (19) but there seem to be about 20-30 page views a day.  Topped out in the mid-70s during dad’s final days.  It almost felt like a long running serial at that point.  Reid has semi-promised to help me with the design and the promotion (the fine points of which are totally over my head).  It has me thinking about re-tooling the book in its entirety away from the college-centric approach to more of a general correspondence situation.  As always, your thoughts are welcomed and listened to.

Well, time to move on (as opposed to moving onward and upward).  Say hi to Val, and hopefully I’ll get my sorry ass up there sooner than later.

——————-

July 5, 2010

Reid/Ellen: Whooee, now is the time for hard earned, unfortunately, down time.  You guys deserve it.  I am really proud of how you dealt with everything about the entire situation; your own grief, the relatives, the events and the circumstances.  Your grandfather would’ve patted you both on the back.

It’s okay to be in a bit of a fog.  The stress is not just caused by your grandfather’s passing; it is everything that led up to it for the past few months.  The late night calls from nurses, the increasingly dire reports, putting their house on the market and organizing their material possessions, keeping relatives and friends informed about him and your grandmother.  It is all just extraordinarily tiring but it simply is the process.

Now we have to move on to the care of your grandmother.  She knows and processes more than people would like to believe, and this is extraordinarily hard for her.  She really handled herself well at both services – and much of that owes to you Ellen at the visitation, and you Reid for insisting on helping her escape the Glen for a meal in a real restaurant.  That was so good for her. She just came through those tough days in fine style.  She has a whole new set of emotions that are in front of her, and it causes both pain and confusion.  At the Chicago airport I got a call from the nurses’ desk at the Glen; they’d read her Friday letter and she had turned very sad and wanted to talk to one of her sons.  Reid, it’s heartbreaking that she did not recall on her own that she’d seen us and gone to dinner. It’s important for people to see her and visit her.  That’s why she lit up when her friends came up to console her and say hello.  I called the Glen back and told them that anytime she was upset and wanted a friendly voice, they have my number.  Any time and however often she wants to talk.  That calls aren’t long, but it’s important to her.

There’s no timetable on her next move.  Like you, Reid, hers’ is not a cut-and-dried situation.  She has friends and relationships there, even if some of them are with the staff.  I’m kind of conflicted although I see my brother’s point about having her close to her most local relative.  I don’t know how often her friends would truly be able to see her, and your uncle will see her most days and be there for her other needs.  My guess is that once the house sells and the dust has settled, that’s when she will head West.  The upheaval in itself would not be good but I suppose she would get used to it.  I did think it was hilarious when she described the other women chasing the one available elderly gentleman.  Not much gets by her.

The other big rock is the dispersion of all their stuff.  I wish you would be there because I think things are going to get cherry picked in your absence.  That’s just the way it is and not much of it is worth fighting over.  For me, the glass covered roasting pan (you guys don’t know of it) is about all I want.  Ellen, some fine bone china will be coming your way at some point.  I don’t necessarily need it and it is really a beautiful pattern.  I’m glad to see it passed along to you.  I’m kind of with you Reid in that the memories may be enough.  There’s not a lot of worldly goods that I treasure beyond some of the photographs.  There are lots of archival, never used post cards from the late 1800’s that are worth some serious money, along with what is essentially a 1917 copy of ‘Goodnight Moon’ that is in incredible shape.  Who knows what will happen to those.

But it’s not about the stuff, it’s about what remains in our minds and in our relatives.  I was distressed to see my Uncle Henry slide; he’s a great, great man and loves your grandmother dearly.  It was thrilling to find a lot of photographs with him, his sister and your grandfather in the shots.  His predicament is just the progression of life.  But he’s got a solid family behind him.  It was good to see everyone; cousin Eric and the others.  Like I told the Glen, I’m just a call away for you two.

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A transition from grief…


Today’s letter to mom is on its way to Omaha.  It made me sigh to leave my father’s name off the envelope and salutation line.  But it’s okay.  He’d want me to keep her – he called her ‘Babe’ to the very end – up to speed on life and family.  No real change there.  I mastered the mundane a long time ago.

I suppose now is as good a time as any to begin to softly ease her transition from grief to the rest of life.  Nurses will read to her the short updates about her grandkids, how the embarrassingly small tomatoes are finally ready to be picked at long last, and sultry Southern temperatures and soggy humidity that make me whine like an alley cat.  Maybe this will distract her from the thoughts I know she is having.  If it lifts her spirits and suppresses whatever loneliness she feels for even a moment, so much the better.  Watch out mom, letters are comin’.

On a secondary note, there is a silver lining to what has transpired.  You know who your friends are when long lost buddies and classmates, relatives and local pals appear out of the woodwork at precisely the right time.  I’m in the process of atoning for years of self-caused relational neglect.  It allows me to mine an entirely new vein of opportunities for notes and letters.  But more on that later.

———————–

July 9, 2010

Mom: As of this writing Ellen is still plugging away at finding a new job.  She’s tired of the property management thing and really wants to get back to teaching.  She was turned down for an ideal job last week but cousin Tim may have a line on something similar.  She tries to keep her chin up and so far has done a good job of that.  Keep your fingers crossed for the kid.  She’s working hard at it.  With her hubby Tim landing a new job at 3M, it’s kind of a safety net for her.  She can take her time.

Reid is getting along pretty well in Chicago.  He seems to be having a good time but in a town like that how could you not?  His job seems fairly stabile (knock on wood) right now and that’s a switch from earlier this year.  He has a girl friend although I don’t know much about her other than her name is Jackie.  I’m apparently on a need to know basis so I don’t need to know.  She’s originally from Des Moines.  That is the sum total of my knowledge.  So what else is new?

Tried to call the other day but they had you in some fun activity.  That’s pretty cool.  I really like the Glen and it seems to like you.  Your room is bright and airy and the food is way better than what I’m gobbling up these days.  At least you eat three squares a day.  That’s better than a lot of us can say.

My tomatoes are, in a word, disappointing.  I keep them moist but none of them are any bigger than a tennis ball.  Maybe I’m not feeding them enough.  But they do taste good.  The variety is Better Boy.  The heat has just been incredibly oppressive here and don’t get me started on the humidity.  Just beastly in any sense of the word.  I honestly can’t shower enough in the day.  Took my noon hour walk today and was damp when I returned to my desk.

I’m going to try golfing again this weekend with my singles group.  I am somewhat apprehensive about how I’ll hit it after a few weeks off, but a beer at the end of the round will be reward enough for me.  It’s going to be very hot.  Down here a person really ought to play in the morning but afternoon times work for the group because we have some slow players.  Maybe they’re waiting on me and my lousy shots.  I’ve got a trip to Pinehurst lined up with some guys from the office toward the end of the summer.  That should be fun.

Well, I’d better get back to work lest they think I’m goofing off (hope they’re not watching too closely).  Really miss seeing you but I’ll get back up there soon enough.  Be good and also be nice to the staff.  Hey, they’re the ones who bring you ice cream.

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