Dear Winn – 22 June 2017

Dear Winn,

Well, some folks celebrated the dickens out of yesterday, it being the summer solstice. For me it was simply Wednesday although I must admit the day did feel like it went on forever and ever. But hey, congratulations to us on making it to another summer! Ready or not, here we go, I guess.

Sarah had her wisdom teeth removed several weeks ago, and Will is up to bat today. We figured while they were both home for the summer and we had a bit of extra money that it was probably wise to carpe the diem. I remember when I had mine removed, and in the wake of the surgery putting tea bags back in those empty sockets, a strange cocktail of coppery blood and Lipton vivid in my taste memory even now. I don’t recall much beyond that, other than I obviously survived the ordeal and am alive today celebrating another summer. I am Will’s designated driver and I promised him I wouldn’t take video of his performance coming out of anesthesia as it seems so popular for parents to do these days and then broadcast it on social media. Such a promise comes from my golden “do unto others” training as a boy. Abbey has decided to tag along however, and I cannot promise she won’t capture the Kodak moments on her iPhone because that’s what kids today do.

I hope your family celebrated you on Father’s Day for the king you are. We had a good day here until about 7:30pm when for some reason everything slid off the rails. I hate it when that happens but sometimes it does, even on Father’s Day. I did receive the new Jim Harrison book – A Really Big Lunch as a gift. Its a collection of essays and articles, a few I’ve seen and read before, a few I have not. They’re all classic Harrison, full of food and wine and lust for living. There are also photographs that grace several chapter starts, many of the pictures I’d not seen before. There is one in particular of Jim and his brother as boys, and their mother is standing behind them. I’m not sure why but the first sight of it brought tears to my eyes, its such a tender scene. Harrison writes his mother was always saying, “What if everyone was like you?”

I also received a bookmark from Abbey. She’d just returned from a trip to New York with our church. They saw all the sights plus wove service moments into the mix, the kind of mission trips progressive purists poop on these days. Whatever, she had a great time and absolutely loved New York. While wondering around the Statue of Liberty gift shop, she found a metal bookmark, one of the cut-out types with a scene of Lady Liberty and the harbor and the rebuilt Tower. She bought that for me, man, a super thoughtful gift, the kind of gift she and her siblings will find among my belongings after I’m gone, a gift I will hold onto until the end because it means so much to me, as does she. I love the kitsch of life. No doubt Marie Kondo would swear if I’d just tidy up a bit my life would magically change for better. But I don’t know, I’m pretty happy for the most part hanging on to the stuff of this earth. Still, she might persist, “Well what if everyone was like you?”

A couple of late freezes and snow storms did a number on our lilacs. Barring some miracle they won’t bloom this year. But our cinquefoil is going great guns and our roses are just about to climax and bloom all over everything. I often sit on our stoop after dinner and just soak in all that jubilance, knowing that like the summer it’ll be gone soon as the days now grow shorter. You know this too, right, pal? So pay attention to the rose buds while you may…

Coraggio.

John

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