We have survived the holidays (they were actually lovely). But this year they required (administrative) flexibility of the sort generally associated with yogis and exotic dancers. Welcome to life in the time of COVID, and do let me know if any of this sounds familiar.
Every year–until 2020–we have traded off Christmas holiday dinner with my sister-in-law and her family in Sebastop0l. This always involves a certain amount of negotiation in terms of what will be served and who will bring what. As the dietary requirements of the family are, um, complex (various allergies, food sensitivities, and at least one part-time vegan in the mix) this is really where the negotiation part comes in. But my sister-in-law and I are old hands at this, and dinner–at whichever household plays host–is always festive and delicious.
Okay, we’re living in a moment when politics are… a fraught subject. I listened the other night as my 25-year-old daughter and my husband–who are not actually on opposite sides of the fence–had a 45-minute conversationfightdiscussion exchange about something. My daughter has admirable patience when talking with people of opinions that do not march with hers. With her parents (whose politics are not far from hers at all), well the word “scolding” comes to mind. But we are her parents, so there’s that.
The fraughtness of politics within families sometimes has less to do with opinions than with family dynamics. This is one reason why I almost never talk politics (or religion) with my brother. He and I are so far apart on the political spectrum that it’s hard to believe we share any DNA at all. Continue reading “Politics in Families”…
In looking for something else, I came upon an envelope I had taken from my father’s desk when I was clearing out his house. It contains the record of my father’s brief fight with the Wilson Chemical Company on my behalf.
Let me explain: when I was about eight, my brother and I came into a trove of comic books–more than a thousand, previously owned my the son of my mother’s best friend. And in the back of these comic books were ads of all sorts: X-ray specs! make money selling seeds! 150 Civil War soldiers for 99 cents! These ads were crammed full of pictures, with–very often–the words FREE! and GIVEN! in large type.
When I was making the sketchbook for my brother I recalled, as I hadn’t in years, that my father always carried four or five 3 x 5 file cards in his breast pocket–unlined, often in an assortment of colors–with his fountain pen, available for quick sketches or notes. In the way of kids, I assumed that all fathers carried file cards and a fountain pen with them in case inspiration struck. I’m not even sure when I realized that this was not so.
My father also carried a Swiss Army knife. Not one of those 20-blade knuckledusters, but a plain six-blade knife that was employed all around the house and all around the Barn (my parents’ colorful converted-barn dwelling in the Berkshire hills) for a variety of uses–tightening screws, opening bottles, widening belt holes. But most particularly for slicing apples. The front “yard” at the Barn was an orchard of old apple trees (okay, with two Bosc pears and a two peach-tree-come-latelys which were annually nibbled by the deer before they could produce fruit). Continue reading “What’s In Your Pocket?”…