Last month the dad turned 60 and since the sisters and I couldn’t afford the cottage on the lake we know he and the mom would really like, we went the nostalgia route.
We brainstormed names and then contacted friends, family, old friends, old colleagues, church buddies, anyone for whom we had or found and email address or could feasibly stalk online, and sent emails or snail mail letters requesting that each recipient take the time to send a memory of the dad and the time each person had known him.
With letters and emails and even some pictures from a 1975 fishing trip rolling in, the sisters and I decided that everything should be collected in a manner that gave a nod to the dad’s military service. The finished product, with each memory in its own envelope, turned out just how we were hoping.
While I neither built the box nor carved the eagles, I did stain the box, stamp the envelopes with years (the seventies were a nightmare), stain one eagle and paint the other with a pen, stuff the envelopes with the husband’s help, and even put little clear no-scratch feet on the bottom of the box because I know the dad and his precise care of the flat surfaces in their house, upon which this box would not be allowed to rest without the proper, well, footwear.
The envelopes are stamped fifty-two through twenty twelve, with all memories tucked in at random, with a few exceptions. The memories from his girls I put into the years we were born, and we started with a memory from his oldest sister about the day the dad was born then ended with a letter from the mom.
It took a while to read them all, and the family spent a great evening on the back patio, eating, listening to the dad’s letters, and blinking really fast. Happy 60th birthday, Dad!
Today could be full of adventure. Our a/c is broken–the fan blows and blows and the tepid, sticky air moves around but that’s it–and it should be in the 90s, I’m walking a new client this afternoon and then later I’m off to yet another interview with the good congressman. His office emailed last week and asked if I would be free this week to meet again with the good congressman and with Mrs. Good Congressman, who is in town.
But of course! said I although in fact I detest it when bosses want you to meet their wives before hiring you (or not). There seems to be a particular stripe of hiring boss who goes this route, and for the record, I have never known a male interviewee who had to meet the wife, and I have never known a female boss to bring her husband in to cross-examine potential employees. In my head I call it the tart test. I don’t know if it’s more offensive to pass or fail.
In the meantime, grocery lists, laundry, and thank you notes. The sisters threw a baby shower for me over the weekend! Another post, another time.