The Letter

My friend, Lisanne, (better known as The Bathtub Junkie!)  has begun a new venture of selling notecards with her photos featured on them! Wishing you the BEST, Lisanne! To kick off her new “store” on Etsy, she offered a giveaway at her blog: http://bathtubjunkie.net/?p=1063  

Lisanne asked that folks write an entry on their blog regarding letter-writing.  And, when I thought about letter-writing, I immediately thought of my maternal grandmother. My grandmother was fabulous at writing….

                                                   The Last Letter

Several years ago, my mother called me to say that my maternal grandmother, Nellie Kester, had passed away.  It was a sad day, as I loved my grandparents so much. (my grandfather had passed away about four years before my grandmother)

Quite some time after Grandma’s death, my mother received a letter written by her. We found out that the police had taken the letter when my grandmother was found dead in her home. They looked the letter over to make sure there was no mention of foul play or suicide regarding her death.

Grandma was found “asleep” in her chair shortly after midnight. One of my cousins lived nearby and found her.  Grandma had written a very lengthy letter to Mom on December 5; the letter sat around for a long time, not getting sent, so on December 23, she wrote an addendum to the letter….

I had never read Grandma’s letter to Mom before, and as I read it the other day, I smiled as I could almost hear her voice as I read. Grandma talked about her washing machine, dryer, lawn mower….she chatted on about my cousin taking her to the emergency room and she found out she had the flu. She talked about things so casually and made mention that she was 87 1/2 years old!

One of the most outstanding characteristics of Grandma’s writing is that her writing at 87 1/2 was amazingly legible! All of her writing was easy to read….she had crossed out a word or two, but it took no special deciphering to read each carefully written word.

My grandparents had moved to northern Florida years before, and because the nights could be chilly, they had a woodstove placed in their house to provide some dry heat.  The night that my grandmother passed away, she had loaded the stove and sat down in her chair and died shortly thereafter.  The death certificate stated that she was found at 12:20 am.

My mom was the oldest of four children and it seemed so awesome that Mom would be the recipient of Grandma’s last letter. So profound.  Grandma loved writing so much and my mother must treasure that last letter, even though it contains no pertinent information implying her impending death, nor mentions anything “outstanding”.

A simple life, lived simply, and a rather uneventful death, alone and quietly passing from this world….

Mom had brought Grandma’s last letter, as well as a death certificate from the state of Florida, for me to see.

As an aside, I laughed as I looked at the death certificate…..having grown up in a very Swedish town where  everyone’s last name seemed to end in “son”,  I was somewhat surprised to learn that my grandmother’s mother’s maiden name was “Anderson”! I am not certain, but knowing that Grandma was of Danish bloodlines, perhaps one of my relatives misspelled that name….it might actually have been “Andersen”.

Misfit? Unfit?

I realize that I am short.  It seems like most nine-year-olds are at least as tall as I am. But, I can live with that.  It is just the way it is. However…..

This summer, Mark wanted to buy helmets for the family so we can work with the kids on the small ATV, teaching them safety, how to cross over a log, how to go up a hill…all that “stuff”.

We went to a local helmet shop and tried on helmets. The kids found ones that fit their heads almost immediately.  The helmets were moderately priced, too.  Great.  Then it came time to find one for me.

The general rule for helmet wearing is that it must fit tightly to one’s head with no “slop”…IE, the helmet should not be able to lift up and roll left and right on your head. Well, the style helmet that Michelle could wear in an extra-small was too big on my head. As the girl worked with me, she took me back into the store and (finally….after trying on about 6 or 7 different styles) found one that stayed on my head properly. Bottom line is, it was about $30 more than the helmets the kids picked out. Ugh.  We still need to purchase helmets…

So, now we got these terrific portable kayaks. They are more fun than anything on a hot summer  day! There is always a breeze on the lake and it is just such good exercise and fun, paddling!

State law requires boaters to wear a life vest and in all honesty, I think it is a terrific idea. Especially when paddling with youngsters or teens. You never know if you might get dunked, even though the stability of our little inflatables is fantastic. There is always a “chance”….

We purchased some vests for Michelle and me at a sporting goods store. We were told that if we wore them, they were no longer returnable. Hmm….and how can one assess how the vest will work if it isn’t “tried”? 

The kids paddled two or three times more than I have and their vests worked great.  When we went out the other day, as I was paddling about, the vest I was wearing (non-returnable) worked its way up my body as I paddled. I had to keep stopping and pulling the thing down!  As we  paddled, the vest would ride up my torso, eventually rising up above my shoulders and acting as muffling noise-cancelling earmuffs! Yeah, funny….Mark didn’t think it was funny, though, as when I came back, he could pull the vest on my shoulders right over my head! And, that vest was cinched on so tightly, I could not have wiithstood any more pressure!

When we got home, Mark called the manufacturer of the vest. They told him NOT to have me wear it again, and that we should return it to the store. Mark told them the store policy and the person there said it MUST be returned. It is dangerous to wear a vest that doesn’t fit properly.  So, last evening, I took it back.

As we were looking around at a wholesale club later, Mark spotted some life vests. We went over and checked them out….They are made for water-skiing and have a similar shape as the paddling vests. These, though, are made of neoprene. Mark told me to slip one on. I did. The thing didn’t move on my body.  I even sat on the floor and made paddling movements. It stayed right where it should! So, I now am sporting a pretty aquamarine vest with white stars on it. Quite the diversion from the nylon paddling vests. Since it is a ski vest, it has large armholes for free movement….that is important. So, I cannot wait to try it out!

 So, whaddayouthink? Misfit? Or, just plain UNfit?