Ben married Jen Crouse in April in a what was nearly an elopement it was so sparsely attended because of Covid: couple, pastor, witness. They later had a reception in New Hampshire. Early in their courtship she had referred to an opossum quickly crossing the lawn as a “sprightly trundler.” That phrase convinced David, “We have got to get her into this family. Never was woman born who fits Ben so well. Sprightly Trundler!” She is a children’s librarian – that checked a lot of boxes for us – and drinks tea like Tracy. They are redoing many portions of his house that has endured his gentle but oblivious ownership by for years. Her eye is better than his. Meaning, she notices things that need to be done.
You Are Now Free To Go About the Country. But Not Norway.
It was nice to dash out to Houston and then Anchorage in May to see the new daughter-in-law Jen and John-Adrian and Jocie’s newest daughter, Bella, and for all of them to come to NH in August for the reception and camping. But Chris and Maria are still under heavy restriction in Tromso, thus out of reach. We have zoomed the whole family with regularity, so actually see them more this year than in previous years. Not the same, though, as you all know. He is still working with fancy cars and she is working fulltime and grad school. They are hopeful about being able to travel come spring. Both the older two Alaska girls like to run, and Aurora especially to run and run and run more. I see cross-country in her future. Quinn turned six and is at that highly quotable stage. So, adding her in, plus Jen, we have more fascinating conversationalists. Just what this family needed. We spent 30 minutes on our last zoom offering up ridiculous names for the new cats in Texas. Kyle was in Massachusetts and re-enlisted in the Army Reserve for a year’s deployment to El Paso, though that looks unlikely now. He has been taking training and certifications in the EMT/Medic/Firefighter categories, which he finds suits him well, even though the specific niche isn’t clear. He keeps his head in emergencies.
We are reunioned out. In October we went to William & Mary’s, which not only had two sets of classes because of Covid, but also the postponed convocation of the class of 2020 and the dedication of a new building. Thousands of people we don’t know and don’t care about
cluttering up the landscape. We had not been for decades. We did buy Colonial Williamsburg souvenirs and stayed with old friends on Cape Charles. Our advice: the formal events are not that fascinating. Much better is relying on the informal networks of classmates inviting each other, getting to see people we had genuinely missed seeing. Then in October we had a memorial service for Swede Nelson, a long-time choir member, which brought in musicians and singers we knew from the 80s and 90s. Then in October we had David’s 50th High School reunion and even a small reunion of Math and Chemistry guys from Manville dorm at St Paul’s 1970.
Tell Me a Story
Now that we are in just-about full retirement, we have moved on to the august-sounding Final Arrangements. We bought a plot and have ordered a bench in a section of Pine Grove that used to be entirely Greek. We have long since recorded preferences for memorial services. Caskets are up next, it seems. I have toyed with the idea of having “Tell Me A Story” engraved on the bench, because it does fit both of us. We haven’t done it, though.
At this rate we will be finished Christmas 2024, her junior year of High School
I am reading Lord of the Rings aloud to Emily, as I did to her father multiple times when he was growing up. Accessibility is more difficult when one is not in the same house. We finished Book One and “Flight to the Ford” this summer and I asked Emily if she remembered when we had started. “Week Six at Pilgrim Pines.” (Precise child.) That was a year ago. I calculated that at this rate I will be finishing up Christmas of 2024, her junior year of high school. A friend looked at me seriously and said, “And then you’ll have to start on Sarah.” I did the math. That project would not finish until Sarah was off to college. So, I have to up my rate of reading to both, and start in on The Hobbit with Sarah straight away. I have forgotten many of the voices I used to use, and am less good at them.
Not To Be Used As A Scooter
As we started composing this, we were both in the second half of recoveries of planned surgeries, but now both have covid. So, it’s all recovery, all day now. Tracy had a little wheeled platform with emphatic directions “Not to be used as a scooter!” But how could you not? It looks like a great scooter. The brakes ain’t much, though. Her foot is better, my sight is better. We should be okay.