A dichotomy was at work within the family in the last week. It turns out both are celebrations of differing times of life.
My uncle, Henry Andersen, a renown Presbyterian minister and one of those uncles that you could really get to like, passed away on Labor Day. This coming weekend his children and other relatives, admirers and past congregants gather in Portland, Oregon to celebrate Hank and all that he meant to whole generations of people.
Then there’s Emma. The celebration around this little wonder started in May and shows no signs of stopping yet.
She giggles at peek-a-boo, tries ever so hard to talk, and is a jolt of household energy (even if she insists on playtime during Ellen’s supposed off-hours between midnight and 5 a.m.).
One dedicated, fruitful life of service draws to a close while another enters the fifth month of her new adventure. Getting on with life, it seems.
Ellen and Reid probably opened envelopes with this letter over the weekend:
September 4, 2012
Ellen/Reid: It’s tough deal with my uncle Henry but in other ways a good thing in that whatever suffering he experienced was over. He was just a plain and simple good guy. Lived his life as he preached it. You would suppose that might make things easier for his family but it never is. He was always fair and decent and we always seemed to get along pretty well. It is amazing how fast things can turn; healthy and vibrant one moment, then the precipitous fall. But Tom said things were peaceful at the end. Henry had been under hospice care for only four days, and in some ways that is a blessing. Even in his state, Henry was insistent on coming down to see both your grandparents in their failing moments. Your uncle and I will go to Portland. I will head out Thursday the 13th. Not sure when Ralph will make it. Probably about that time, too. Mary was an absolute rock through all of this. She handled it very gracefully and was a pillar of strength. I’m glad you both had a chance to experience Henry in the last couple of years.
The Democratic convention is in town. As much as I’d like to get downtown (or Uptown as the locals call it) for some of the action I will more than likely stay at home and watch on TV and read the paper. That’s a little too much activity for this guy not to mention all the security. We walked the golf course yesterday and saw the big military grade helicopters doing their thing very close to the course. Some sort of dress rehearsal. I like that the convention is here; good for the city and state although the GOP’s self-described “attack” troops are in town, too. It’s a good thing they don’t call them “Truth Squads” since that would be stretching it a bit.
Reid, I’d go with your mom’s Calphalon. That is pretty good cookware and will more than get you and Liz by in your squeezed little space. You have to be able to cook and every meal in will save you money and increase your together time by that much more. Food prep is a fairly social time and there’s nothing wrong with that. We rode to breakfast yesterday morning to a little dive across the border in South Carolina, and there was a table of adults and kids a few feet away. Three of the adults and two of the kids were on their mobile devices. It’s whack if you ask me. The art of conversation takes a nose dive when you see that happening – but Felicia and I both check our ‘smart’ phones when we’re out.
I’m going in tonight to an after-hours orthopedic place to get my right elbow checked out. It just hasn’t been right since it got smacked in Wyoming and continues to be puffy and very sore. They may have to drain it. It’s hard to place my elbow on a table, it is that sore. I don’t know what the hell happened. I didn’t realize backpacking was such a contact sport. We went to a post-Bridger reunion the other night with Tom and Richard and it was great seeing all the photos and reliving the perilous moments (i.e. eating overcooked or distinctly non-flavorful food, blisters and other assorted ow-ies, etc.).
Ellen, I love how Emma is displaying her personality. She is going to be a handful. She is working so hard to talk. Once she finds her vocabulary, her babbling will be non-stop so watch out. Nothing wrong with that, however. I’ll have to change my screensaver with one of the new updated shots of her smiling and trying to talk. Wish I could see the little charmer more often.
Okay, enough already. Keep the text messages coming, and the photos, too. Reid, send me some solid dates for Christmas, and I will get your ticket. Just don’t’ expect it to be First Class.