Letters from Al, 1966-67 ~ February 22, 2017

Dear Alsie,

The box of your letters home from ‘Nam sits on the closet floor between storage boxes of yarn on the right and oil painting materials on the left. Remember your tackle box, the mustard gold one with double stacked trays where you kept fishing lures, worm threaders, nail clippers — the essentials of casting and catching? That box holds tubes of oil paint, has done for these 28 years (29 in November) since that damned blood clot dropped you.

I kept that box of letters at the foot of the bed for several months after I stopped writing to you, telling myself I would continue, I would complete the project I’d set for myself, I would answer them all — from the now — from these decades of what was once our future. On some level, I wanted to prove you wrong. I wanted to show you I could go the distance, not leave a work short of what it could be. You were, to my way of thinking, absolutely on the money 90% of the time. And I appreciated your honesty. (So easy to write — but did I?) (Being the ghost that you are, you’ve probably noted the long pause before the words began spilling again.)

Here’s the thing: This letter is not in response to one of yours. This letter is to share the news with you that one of my efforts has been published. This letter is to let you know that a publisher believed I had gone the distance, not left the work short.

I’m full of misgivings. Can’t stop wondering what you would think, what you would say. I did so love your straightforward, pragmatic, left brain way of looking at things — so opposite from me. I miss you, you lovely, lovely man.

Ok. So after another longish pause and getting my eyes dry and refocusing, what do I hear? I hear you doing your Donald Duck impression, spraying my misgivings with saliva, making me smile.

xo,
lynnsie

p.s. The True Life Adventures of Irene in White Tights is the name of the book, published by Waterstreet Press. I add this just in case the afterlife has a library.

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12 Comments

  1. And I would add to the ‘spraying’. Your thoughts, your words, your lovely Irene; is your premier novel.Your first born .She is beautiful, she is brilliant and she will not only pass first grade… go to high school.. but more than likely be offered a scholarship to Harvard.. or Yale or even Stanford.. where ever she chooses. Sending you love and best thoughts… hey.. see you on the NY Times Best Seller List.. Brava !!

    Reply

  2. I am proud of you Aunt Lynn. I can’t wait to read Irene…I can picture the tackle box too…so many of my greatest childhood memories are with you, Uncle Al, and the whole gang in Cottonwood. Love you❤️

    Reply

    1. Still waiting for the print edition to come out …. any day now, I think. So far digital availability on kindle, nook, and apple products … still, I’m impatient to hold the “book” in my hands. (Wish I knew who my “Anonymous” responders are … but named or nameless, I love hearing from you.

      Reply

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