The other night I reached over, as I do every night, to turn off the lamp on my bedside table. I stopped to look, really see, the “pasta” lamp and remember all the holidays I am indebted for, all the adventures a fantastic pair of in-laws, GrandDon and Polly (GrandMiizzy).
One Christmas it was all about wine cork trivets that he made for everyone. That lead to “wallpapering” the small hallway off the kitchen with used wine corks, meticulously placed and glued. Another year it was the gallon, wine-jug lamps he made, sea glass collected every summer at their beach house and smooth stones filled some, others were filled with colored pasta.
There were other projects that didn’t involve wine. We built fences and barn doors, constructed ferret cages of grand proportions and fixed leaky faucets. Grand Don’s Job Jar sat on the kitchen counter filled with ragged slips of paper. When he and GrandMizzy drove up from Philadelphia, the trunk of their Honda was carefully packed with tools in anticipation of the work to be done. Mizzy would haul out her watercolor paints and take Hanni and Lex off for art lessons, while he and Jeff tackled the odd jobs in the jar.
At the end of the day, his tools were carefully stowed. After a shower and shave, he would sit with his “snow-cone” cocktail and entertain the girls as Jeff and Mizzy cooked up a feast.
The first card this year, the very first recognition of my birthday, was a card from Don and Polly. I know from the writing, Don is now doing all the fulfillment of correspondence, according to Polly’s careful and concise calendar. The writing is strong, not shaky as hers has been the past few years. Yet, the card was reminiscent of her watercolor paintings; poppies in this case, in my favorite hue of orange. How lucky am I to have these wonderful connections? How lucky that Polly has Don, the “sometimes curmudgeon” of days gone by, to pick up the slack and do what she has always done, is driven to continue, to send birthdays card in a world of emails and FaceBook. I thank you for all the memories and those that continue forward.