Tag Archives: Love

Kindred

3 Jun

 

This is what I remember.

Dave’s Robin, I’m Batman.

The candy store with Aunt Barb.  Pop, candy, gliders and parachutes.

Breaking down just shy of Mackinac.  Fan belt on a Sunday.  Sitting under a tree while Dad waits for the mechanic to get home from church.  Dave curled up in Mom’s lap.  The wind in their hair.

Amy coming home for the first time.  Dad holding her in the air. Her giggles.

Crawling all over me as I try read.

The time she stopped breathing.

David falling off his bike on the way to Quik-Pik.  Scratched watch and scraped hands.  So angry, because now Mom will find out.

A thimble-full of soda, Dad’s popcorn and Carol Burnett.  Sitting in our pajamas, laughing on the floor beside him.

Blood through the hands that rush Amy inside.

“Don’t pick her up! Don’t pick her up!”  But he does.

The cast on her leg.

The weight of it.

The scar that wraps all the way around.

Years later, making her up, pale and bloody.  Walking her to the neighbors.  “I think something’s wrong.”

Scouring the beach with Dave for butts.  Kools.  You get them wet and a number appears.  If it’s smaller than 32, you win.

Smoking corn silk on the back porch with our corn cob pipes.  Earlier attempts at rolling our own had not gone well.  We used toilet paper.  Singed eyebrows, burnt bangs.

Yanking a perch out of the water so hard it flies, wrapping round and round the catwalk.

All the toys under his bed.  Unopened and untouched.

Terry (and David).

The endless games of bedroom basketball.

Chewing with their mouths open, smacking away.

Amy disgusted beyond belief.

Which was the point.

All of us holding out the army surplus parachute when Rod takes off, running like hell as the boat guns it, then sitting down hard as the harness takes his legs out from under him and he bounces across the beach and into the lake for a face full of water before finally, finally lifting to the sky.  Swinging wildly from side to side, he’s almost makes it.

Terry with a golf club.  Just a kid.  But we run for our lives.

Swapping his empty glass for David’s full one.  Repeatedly.  Dave never catching on.

Barb’s funeral and David disappearing.  Karen finding him, walking him through it.

His swim across the lake.  Me rowing beside him.

Our walks through the woods.

Staying with Amy and her roommate when I move to Chicago.  Robbing the same apartment months later when he stiffs her on rent. A camera.  Some cassettes.  Back when cassettes were worth stealing.

Her dating a drummer.  Me pretending it’s OK.

Leaving David at Connolly Station and running back to Moore Street to get the best price on Toblerone, because when you’re in Dublin and you can’t walk, that’s what’s important.

Genoa, lost for a while, then finding the restaurant.  Tasting both pesto and gnocchi for the very first time.

Separating the next day so he can rush back to London to catch his plane home.

Such a long way to go all by himself.

Driving out from Chicago on the weekends.  Breakfast with Dave at the Village Kitchen.  I order the Z:  2 Hot Cakes, 2 eggs, toast, hash browns, and choice of meat.  For a while, those weekends are home.

Canoeing before his wedding.  Salmon racing through shallow water.

The deer I see the morning after.  Standing in the mist.

Moving us to New York.  Getting that couch up the stairs.

Blue blazers, khakis and the walk to Khardomah.

My wife holding up her phone so Amy, too pregnant to fly, can hear the sounds of her little brother getting married.

The closeness.  And the laughter.

Like nothing else.

But the storm’s coming across the lake, and the wind’s whipping the curtains as thunder rolls out of the west.  In the darkness, visible in flashes,  David is asleep in the bed next to me and Amy’s on the cot against the wall.  Terry’s down the hall with Mom and Dad, but the thunder will have to get much louder before I run through the darkness to join them.  Aunt Barb’s by the stairs, Gram’s across the hall and Aunt Pat’s one room farther along.  All of them asleep, but near.  So I cuddle in and close my eyes, and never once imagine it will be any other way.

 

 

 

 

Beloved

22 Mar

 

be·lov·ed
adjective
1.  dearly loved.
synonyms: darling, dear, dearest, precious, adored, much loved, cherished, treasured, prized, highly regarded, admired, esteemed, worshiped, revered, venerated, idolized

 

Morning light

Quiet

A Long run

Cold water on a hot day

Swimming

Laughter

Riding my bike

Wind

Rain

Sun

Back roads

Grasshoppers skimming from weed to weed

The smell of cut grass

My Dad

Small towns

Bakeries

Diners

(With a hard preference for the old rail car variety over the giant, novel-length menu, Jersey variety.)

Trees

Rivers

Being lost

But not that lost

Michigan

And it’s music (Bob Seger)

Grand Haven

Khardomah

Shaving in the sun, window open with a view through the trees.

London

And all it’s boltholes

History.  Near, and brushed against.

And the trains

Withnail and I

The Orkney sky

Radio

Late at night and early in the morning

The BBC

Robert Elms

Open Country

His Finest Hour

Road trips

Motels

And their pools in the afternoon light

Kids

Wild Flowers

Okie Donuts

And kindness

My neighborhood

My friends

The little patch of dirt I call a garden

A slow afternoon in the kitchen

Cooking

With wine

Especially the reds of Italy

(I could go on)

Waking up after a snowstorm with nowhere to go

Soft warm socks

And a good book

Jim Harrison

Michael Palin’s diaries

The music of Gavin Clark.

Time alone

Skating the smooth ice of a frozen lake

The evening sky ablaze

Hope

And People

Family

Mom

Sister

Brothers

Hallie, nearby, as I’m falling asleep

Heath, with his arm across my shoulders

And Amy, who illuminates it all and makes my life shine.

 

Answered

21 Sep

002-3

If ever there was a sun that shines on me,

If ever there was a dream come true,

If ever the truth existed,

It was you

–Martin Sexton*

In the autumn of 1993 the sun shone in Northern Italy as grapes were harvested, gently crushed and slowly allowed to ferment.  Sunlight was captured in a bottle, while half a world away, I met a girl.

I was 30 years old, just back from Europe, and I was alone.  I was not a religious man, but there were prayers.  During those gray fall days, they went something like this:  “Dear God, if I have to choose between having a career as an actor and finding the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, please let me find that person.”

Of course, I still expected both.  But I had begun to sense that maybe all my dreams were not going to come true, and I wanted to make sure my priorities were clear, which was wise.  Because, looking back, it was as if I had walked into the mountains without a map, dropped my compass in the river, lost all my food, and took every wrong turn.  Until I met Amy.  Beautiful, talented, funny and wise, she found me wandering in circles and, together, we found our way home.

Wine is about moments.  Fleeting on their own, together they create an alchemy of weather, skill and time, evolving toward the moment the wine is tasted.  There’s magic in all of this, but there’s a special magic in the sharing.  Wine never tastes as good as it does with Amy.  And tonight, when things settle down; when Hallie’s in her PJs, and Heath’s had his shower, in celebration of our marriage, twenty years ago today, we will open that bottle of wine, a 1993 Barolo, and unleash the sunlight of the autumn we first met.

And we’ll kiss, and I’ll realize, once again, just how lucky I am.  And then I’ll say another, simpler prayer.

“Thank you.”

Let Love

 

* You (My Mind Is Woo) by Martin Sexton

 

Big Magic

22 Sep

Central Park

Falling in love is small magic, a beginners sleight of hand.  With a little time and patience anyone can do it.  Marriage is something more:  A time-release miracle, performed in tandem, naked on a high-wire. Friends and relatives offer a toast as you climb the ladder, and then go their way, leaving the two of you to walk out alone, exposed, your lives in each others’ hands.  And while this is very brave, it’s not yet miraculous,  for alchemy takes time.

Saturday began early, crisp and cool, as we made our preparations for the Buddy Walk, the yearly Central Park gathering of the nicest families I know, and the day we join with friends to celebrate Hallie.  Heath hates this, of course.  He has to leave the house, spend hours outdoors, walk great distances, socialize in a loud communal atmosphere with limited technology, and all because of his little sister.  “Why God?!”  he cries, his hands aloft like a latter-day Tevye, “Why must there be so  much walking?  Why must there even be a Buddy Walk!?” And then he does his best to close out the world, burrowing beneath a sweatshirt, and desperately trying to find something, anything, to do on his tablet.  For Heath, we call this being a good sport.

As we move through the day, the clouds come and go.  Far more social than I, Amy is in constant motion.  She greets, she organizes, she chats.  I hang with Hallie as she gets her nails done (tasteful pink) and her hands painted (“Star,” she says, pointing solemnly to her left hand; “Heart,” she says, pointing to her right.).  Spending the day within a few feet of each other, we barely speak, and as the afternoon winds down, and our friends disperse with hugs and thanks, we make our way home to prepare for her brother Tim’s annual cook out.  More food, more wine, more friends.  A day of love, friendship, good food, and a little too much wine.

Sunday is our anniversary.  No gifts, no dinner, no expectations.  We can barely get off the couch.

Eighteen years ago I knew little of magic.  I just thought I was lucky.  I had met this sweet, funny, beautiful woman, for whom I felt a love stronger than any I’d ever known.  I offered my hand, she took it, and together we climbed the ladder and stepped out onto the wire.

The wonder of a good marriage is that there is no illusion.  It is very, very real.  And very pure, for it’s a miracle you create solely for yourselves, using only what you’ve learned from each other.  A mutual act of strength, humor, joy and grace, performed fully cognizant of how many times you’ve kept each other from falling.  And it’s so much fun.  To this day, nobody makes me laugh like she does.  And the magic just grows with each passing year.

I’ve always had trouble seeing myself.  There are moments of clarity, but most of the time I struggle.  Perceptive with others; I am, to myself, an amiable blur.  But for eighteen years Amy has been my mirror, unrelentingly showing me my best self.  A simple gift of incredible value.  And the biggest magic I know.

 

Amy

 

Winter Rain

5 Mar

Rain

Morning darkness, and the house is at its most gentle, whispering me awake.  Amy has gone upstairs to prepare for her shower while I lie warm beneath the covers, listening for the water, shaken by a dream.

I’m on a ramshackle camping trip, a bunch of us kids unloading gear from our beat up cars and station wagons, carrying it through the grounds of a small carnival to the old houses beyond the fairground.  And somewhere on this journey, it seems, I have made a friend.  She has short dark hair and great big eyes, and although we’ve just met, we’re like puppies in the back seat, leaning into each other, shoulder to shoulder, heads close, laughing, and then going quiet as the miles roll by because nothing has ever felt this good.

Then it begins to rain, and everyone’s a step ahead.

Tents have gone up, a garage floor has been cleared, and while I stand outside, my ratty, unrolled sleeping bag growing heavier by the minute, I realize I have nowhere to go.  She stands at the door of her tent, wringing water from a cloth, and even though she has plenty of room, there’s no way I can ask.  It’s embarrassing just to be standing there.  I move away, into the garage, out of the rain.  But looking around I see all the spaces have been taken.  Busy strangers ignore me as they smooth their pallets across the floor.

And then she’s there, her sleeping bag spread out, and she’s inviting me to join her.

“Really?”

“Yes!” she says, smiling, shaking her head.  I step lightly on the sleeping bag, and we laugh because it’s a little squishy from the rain.

Suddenly my knowledge accelerates, and in a flash, I see everything that’s about to happen . The longing, the intensity, and the unbearable sweetness of this friendship going somewhere I had never thought possible.

And then, for the first time, I remember my kids.  And Amy.  She would know.  And even were I willing to risk that, this young woman clearly has no idea I’m married.  My ring has been lost.  I’d be lying to her as well.

Morning comes.  The rain has stopped.  Friends and neighbors appear.  We share a big box of raisin bran.  It’s the best raisin bran I’ve ever tasted.  Revelatory.  As people pack all around us, I look for her, but she’s nowhere to be found.  Maybe she’s in the car.

The water downshifts to the low hum of the shower, and I have to get up.  Leaving the warmth of the bed for the cool morning air, the anger builds like a cloud in my head.  Tight and sore, my achilles tendons play hell with my balance as I head down the hallway, passing all the stuff we don’t really need.

She took me in out of the rain.

Hand on the rail, I climb the stairs,  squinting and unsure; not yet ready for the light of day.

B&W Rain

When Time Hesitates

20 May

Some days are holy, some days are rough, but that’s alright…

  –-Patti Scialfa

Standing in the kitchen on a rainy Sunday afternoon, Amy smiles as she catches my glance, and asks, “What?”

“Nothing,” I say, and move on, still shy with her after all these years.

It’s her eyes I’m searching, taking a moment to plumb the depths I dance across from day to day.  Because while two children and nearly twenty years together has fostered the illusion that I know this woman, I know that’s not true.  I’ve  amassed a certain amount of knowledge, certainly.  But I don’t kid myself that it’s any more than the tip of the iceberg.

When I read a truly great novel for the first time, I figure I’m lucky  if I get ten percent of what it has to offer.  I read too quickly, my eyes racing faster than my thoughts.  I get the story, but I miss so much.  Rereading helps, but it is only in slowing down, in forcing myself to savor every moment, every thought, that I begin to fully appreciate what’s before me.  This is even more true of Amy, a creation of far greater complexity than any work of art, whose beauty I will never comprehend and whose mysteries will never be fully revealed.  Blending the outrageously comic with the heartbreakingly tender more effectively, and more honestly, than any piece of literature I have ever encountered, she is a wondrous work in progress, her final pages yet to be written, let alone read.

And that is why I’m standing in the kitchen on a rainy Sunday afternoon, while our daughter takes apart the house and my son yells at the computer, as darkness approaches and baths are delayed and the idea of making dinner grows more daunting by the second.  That is why I’m looking into her eyes, trying get behind her smile, and into the warm depths of the twinkle that comes with it.

“What?” she asks, and I’m almost there.

“Nothing,” I say, and move on.  Still shy with her after all these years.

 DSC_0205

Chrysalis

3 Jun

Caterpillars are becoming butterflies.  Five little cocoons hang from the side of a mesh cage in Heath’s bedroom, and we are counting the days until they emerge.

Arriving in the mail in a small plastic cup loaded with enough food to sustain this transformation, the five larvae grew rapidly over the past week before attaching themselves to the lid, assuming the much-anticipated J shape, and, in a matter of hours, encasing themselves in a dense brown shell of their own making.  Having moved them to the larger butterfly cage, we wait. 

Patience is not a word that leaps to mind when I think of my son.  But his imagination, so tightly coiled around all things celestial for the past year,  has begun to expand, and as the school year ends and he moves beyond a teacher who never appreciated all that makes him special, he has begun to relax.  With the addition of a new pair of glasses and a daily squirt of Nasonex, the world is regaining its clarity and my little boy is finding the sweetness and vulnerability he has buried beneath anger for much of the year. 

And his sister senses this. 

Hallie Jake.  We loved the idea of a little girl with such a rakish name, redolent of wise-cracking 1930’s aviatrixes, Amelia Earhart & Kate Hepburn rolled into one.  The kind of woman who could hold her whiskey, throw a good punch, and stand toe to toe with any man.  A woman who was smart, independent and, above all, strong.  Which I have no doubt Hallie will be.  For she is fast becoming a spunky, resilient little girl whose buoyant spirit has become a mainstay in all our lives. 

My own feelings for her are, at times, so fierce as to be bewildering.  

I had heard somewhere that in times past Downs children, considered imbeciles, were often abandoned to orphanages where their heads were shaved and they languished under the minimal care such institutions offered.  What haunted me about this story was the lack of love, horrible for any child, but somehow more so for a child who has a greater struggle to understand.  They must have felt unloveable, as if they deserved their loneliness. 

So in those first confusing hours, when I had no idea what else to do,  I vowed that Hallie would feel loved.  And to this day, when I hold her close as she’s falling asleep, I whisper in her ear, so she’ll never forget, “You are much loved, Hallie Jake.  You are much loved.”  This simple invocation, and the feelings it inspires, has lead to places in my soul I never knew existed.  It’s as if, after living my entire life in a small apartment, I’ve opened a door to discover a palace.

And now, days away from her second birthday, the love she’s received has begun to blossom.  I can see it in her eyes, especially when she looks at Heath: her hero, her brother, and her best friend.

As we move into the early heat of summer, Heath is keeping an eye on his five little charges, waiting for them to begin their gentle struggle toward a new life.  He’s not going to want to let them go.  I can see it coming.  And although I remind him daily that all creatures long to be free and that if he keeps them too long, they will die, I know he doesn’t believes me. 

But, we’ll see how it goes.  That’s a battle for another day. 

In the meantime we await the beating of newfound wings.

 

 

Burgers, Valentines & the Sky

12 Feb

Every Valentine’s day I get Amy a box of truffles from Li-Lac chocolates, which, since it moved from Christopher Street a few years back, is now steps away from my favorite bar.  And so, yesterday afternoon, basking in one of life’s great win-win situations,  I made my annual pilgrimage .  Chocolates for Amy, burger and beers for me.

All the seats at the bar were taken, so I took my beer, grabbed a stool at the window, and settled in, letting the beer, the hum of the surrounding talk, and the stillness of the moment calm me.  I looked out at the red brick houses from centuries past, the Christmas lights twinkling in Li-Lac’s windows, the dishwashers horsing around in the back room of the Italian restaurant across the street, and all the people passing through the slushy old intersection of Eighth Avenue, Jane and West Fourth, deeply focused on the screens of their various devices and oblivious to the gentle glow of the approaching twilight.

Chet Baker’s voice filled the old speakeasy with his world-weary charm.

Let’s get lost

Lost in each other’s arms

Let’s get lost

Let them send out alarms…

The bit of sky visible down Jane Street slid from blue to purple and I thought of my son.  Heath is enthralled with the sky.  He longs to understand it.

“Why is it blue?”

“Why is it purple?”

“Why can’t we see the atmosphere?”

 All questions I struggle to answer, but never seem to satisfy.   For Heath, with his boundless curiosity and seemingly limitless memory, knowledge is all.  Maybe it’s a product of age, or maybe we are just very different people, but I don’t feel that way.  Facts don’t tug at my soul the way they do his.  I don’t need to understand the sky.  I just want to see it, to feel it, and most importantly, to savor it.

Which is also how I feel about love.  Because I don’t understand it.  I do, however, see it, I certainly feel it, and I try my damndest to savor it, all the more so for the knowledge that I owe it all to luck.  Even a cursory review of my dating history shows that I do not deserve it.  In retrospect, my marital forecast during my twenties was for continued turbulence with a strong possibility of loneliness.  A friend of mine actually expressed his belief that I would never marry, feeling I was too immature.  Now, in retrospect he wasn’t much of a friend, but still, this is the kind of confidence I inspired.

And then I met Amy.  Perhaps my five favorite words.

I recently read a quote to the effect that the best way to find love is not to search for it, but instead to work on removing all barriers that keep love from entering your life.  I like this.  I wish someone would have told me this twenty years ago, pointing out some of those barriers along the way.

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day I think I’ll travel back in time and do just that.

Hey you!  Yeh you!  The skinny guy in all that denim with that big mop of hair.  Sit down for minute, I’ve got three things I need to tell you.

Love will not be rushed.

So relax.  Take care of yourself.  Be happy.  Make friends.  Have fun.  Love flees desperation.  Forget love exists.  It will find you when you’re ready.  And for god’s sake quit looking for the perfect person because…

Love laughs at ideals.

Your ideal person does not exist.  You’ve got to let them go.  Because the perfect person is out there, but they are almost certainly not what you expect.  They’re better.  Love has a plan of it’s own, and this is good news because you may know what you want, but (thank you to the Rolling Stones)…

Love knows what you need.

Now this is all assuming that you are in fact looking for love.  Because a lot of people say they’re looking for love, but when it comes right down to it, they’re looking for a transaction, a lightly binding contract in which a person of suitable age, class, education, wealth and appearance will perform the contractually stipulated duties of love in return for the same.  Kids will be born, houses will be bought, retirements will be funded as their bodies grow old and their souls wither and die.  This is not love, this is business.  And I know even less about business than I do about love, so enough said.

Would I have listened to myself?  Probably not.  I’ve always had a wonderful capacity for ignoring good advice.

Chet Baker gave way to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss on the jukebox.  As I finished my burger a young woman sat down next to me and after some time with her Blackberry she looked up and asked if the burgers were good here.  I laughed because this place is always in the running for best burger in the city.  Her question seemed genuine, though, so I said yes, it’s what they’re known for.  Nothing fancy, just a good burger.  She smiled.

I finished my beer, paid the bartender, and as I was leaving I told her I hoped she enjoyed her hamburger, and she smiled again.  It was the gentlest of flirtations, and in a moment it was past.  But as I stood outside on the sidewalk, getting my bearings, I couldn’t help smiling.  And then I began to walk to the train, anxious to get home to the woman, and the family, I love.

 

 

First, Crazy & True

1 May

First love, crazy love and true love.

I had a crush on Kelly from the first time I met her.  Acting class, 9th grade, I must have been fourteen years old.  She was the classic older woman,  being fifteen, and seemed to possess all the knowledge and sophistication which that age implied.  She was out of my league and I knew it.   So we became friends.   Friends amongst friends, actually, as her basement became the de facto clubhouse for a whole group of us, a great place for Doritos and Cokes and Saturday Night Live.  

During Kelly’s first year of college a bunch of us drove down for the weekend.  We laughed, we drank, and Kelly and I took a late night walk.  We sat on the steps of a quiet building and I told her about the death of my father, talking about it for the first time with anyone.  Shortly thereafter we had a date.  I took her home, I said good night and there was a kiss.  A kiss in the cold night air that was so long wished for and yet so utterly surprising that I could feel the thrill of it right down to my toes.  I can feel that kiss to this day.  First love.

The thing about Becky was that she picked me.  Yet another acting class, this one in college.  The teacher divided us into two groups, putting us on opposite sides of the room, and asked us to communicate with someone.  As the exercise began and the resulting noise ensued I realized that a very cute girl with long, dark hair was trying to talk to me!  I couldn’t believe my luck!  Of course, she already had a boyfriend who she’d been dating since she was fourteen and who she just couldn’t break up with because it would kill him!  She also scratched her shoulders until they bled and I once made her so angry that I got up in the middle of the night and hid the scissors.  Oh yeah, and the boyfriend never went away.  But these were all minor impediments.  Our relationship continued its ragged course as we chased each other around the midwest for the better part of nine years.  Thank god she finally decided to hate me.  Crazy love.

Amy was different.  As was I, by that time.  I’d been in the wilderness for a while.  I had turned thirty.  We met, we went out.  She liked me, but I wasn’t sure.  Then I liked her and she wasn’t sure.  

But then she invited me to a play.  It was long and tedious and on our way to a party afterward we got caught in the rain.    As we sat in our damp clothes in a slightly shabby Chicago hotel suite and sipped our drinks, I felt a subtle glow, and from within this quiet moment of contentment I heard myself say “What are we doing?” 

She smiled a rather bewitching smile and asked me what I thought we were doing. 

“I think we’re dating.” I replied. 

And so we were.  We’ve been together ever since and I cannot imagine spending my life with anyone else.  She is, by my definition, true love. 

And from that love has grown a family, and a whole new set of definitions.

My child snuggling into my chest.  First love.

Heath insisting on wearing his underwear backwards and frequently eating his own boogers.  Crazy love. 

The absolute joy I get from making my daughter smile.  True love.

First love, crazy love and true love.  They make me who I am.

 

 

Five Simple Ingredients

22 Aug

Lately when I scoop up my daughter Hallie she has the weight and feel of a good loaf of bread.

I bake bread.  Tired of the dry tasteless quality of even the most expensive store bought loaves, I began baking my own a few years back.  I found that in return for four hours work I could have two warm brown loaves beautiful to look at, wonderful to taste, and so nutritionally real that my body is shocked into a state of physical bliss.    But that’s not all.

There’s the simplicity.  Water, yeast, honey, flour and salt.  With so little to think about, I can focus on quality.  The quality of the ingredients, the quality of my stirring and kneading, and the quality of the time spent doing one thing well.  A luxury in this day and age. 

My son Heath helps.  He actually gets very excited about it, running into the kitchen and dragging his box (an overturned wooden crate) from beneath the kitchen table.  Of course, being three years old, helping involves pouring all dry ingredients into the bowl, stirring in a rather lackluster way, eating as much raw dough as I will allow, and then stirring again in a far more frantic manner until dough flies everywhere and I yell “That’s it! Out! Out! Out of my kitchen!” At which point he gleefully flees the room, laying low until the bread is ready to eat.  It’s our system and we’re fond of it. 

And it works. For I have come to believe over these past few years that the quality of my bread is directly linked to the joy I find in making it.  Rushing the process when tired and cranky always leads to failure.  Dry, misshapen loaves that disintegrate when I try to slice them.  Heath’s assistance, on the other hand, despite the inevitable mayhem, has never failed to produce two solid, resilient and delicious loaves.  It’s the love, you see.  It makes things taste good.

Neither my wife Amy or I have ever been any good with plants.  She adopts them only to fret over their long, sad death.  I occasionally attempt an herb garden, bringing forth small dessicated sprouts which feebly struggle and then die.  And yet, amazingly, Heath seems to flourish effortlessly. 

And now we have Hallie.

With the thin shanks and shrivelled bottom of a ninety year old man she scared us at first, preferring sleep to food, and dropping weight she could ill afford to lose.  But things have changed.  True to her genes, food has become her friend, and she now seems to grow fuller and rounder each day. 

So when I pick her up and hold her close I’m reminded of a fresh loaf of bread.  Warm, sweet and full of love.