Tag Archives: San Francisco

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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A bad hair day…


As letters go, today was the equivalent of a bad hair day.  It was a tangled unkempt mess.  Mom didn’t get my best effort.  I took the day off.

For the first time in a long time, I didn’t bring anything to the writing table.  No pizzazz, no new information.  No nothing.  (I can just hear some of you now: “So, how’s today different from any other time?”)

My mind could very well be elsewhere.  I think I’m a little preoccupied with things.  You can chalk that up chiefly to temporary work and my ongoing effort to find a full-time situation.  As it is, I’m at the bank through the end of the year.  At least I made it past Christmas.

So here is today’s tangled unkempt mess.  Sorry, mom.  I’ll do better next time.

——————

November 5, 2010

Mom: You are not much warmer than we are down here.  The weather experts say our low on Saturday is supposed to be in the 20s.  That will send the locals shivering to the store to buy their woolies and gloves.  It has been much colder here the last couple of days.  Even I have resorted to wearing a hat to the office.  Even when it’s in the 50s some folks bundle up like they live in Nome, Alaska or some place like that.  I planted some pansies in the window box out front and they are supposed to be cold hardy.  I guess they will get their first real test.  The tomato plant is kaput.

The leaves are finally starting to drop bit by bit.  Because it was so dry down here this summer the color is not quite what people would like to see.  Most of the trees consist of varying states of brown leaves and the leaves are falling fast.  This weekend’s cold snap will make it go a little bit quicker.  It will make the Bermuda grass go dormant very quickly and none of the golfers will like that.  What I find when it turns cold is that my house, like many others down here, aren’t insulated worth a hoot.  It gets cold very quickly.  I’ve not yet turned on the furnace but it too is about to get its first test.

There have been some people looking at the unit next door to me.  It’s been on the market for more than two years, and it would be good to get some people in there for a change.  On my little block there are about eight or nine units for sale.  That’s how bad the housing market is down in Charlotte.  Things just aren’t selling very well.  From everything I read things seem to be a little better in the Midwest.

Your brother Henry sent me a nice letter and I sent him one back the other morning.  He doesn’t use a computer like I do to write letters.  Instead, he writes it all out by hand.  It was nice to get and he seems to be doing pretty well.  He said he calls you every week and he’s awfully concerned with how you’re doing.  His hearing isn’t too good these days but he seems to be getting along.  If you’re going to live in a town, Portland wouldn’t be the worst place to live.

I was disappointed in the elections.  The candidates seemed to be particularly vicious this year.  No one is civil to each other anymore.  It’s attack, attack, attack.  And you can’t tell when someone is telling the full story or not let alone the truth.  I voted but very few of my candidates were elected.  Voters seem to have a pretty short memory, and there’s too much TV and Internet advertising for my liking.

Ellen and Reid are doing fine.  Reid was in San Francisco last week and went to the first birthday of little Annie, Andy and Steph’s little one.  She’s your great granddaughter and a real cutie.  Reid said he had a good time as he always does.

Well, it’s off to the grocery store tonight.  Doesn’t that sound exciting?

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