Love Letters to Friends, As Well As Very Important Musings on Earth Shattering Matters:
Thread Count, Powerlifts, Quilting, Karaoke, Lemon Cookies, and Graphomania

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Conways, Winding Ways, and Saints in the Snow: A Reflection on Family

…. being a celebration of a lovely lady, my Aunt Nene, on the anniversary of her birth.

When I was a wee lass, writing letters (versus emails or texts) was still A Thing, and I loved to get letters but was not really an international peer pen-pal sort of girl.  Instead, I wrote letters to my mom's sister, Aunt Nene, and  every one started in the same imaginative way:
"Dear Aunt Nene:
How are you?  I am fine."
…after which I would blather on about whatever scintillating news an 8-year old might have, likely tales of sibling woe or an epic retelling of the appropriation of a paint-by-numbers kit (mostly unused!) from the neighbor's garage sale or some such.  

Nene, being a charitable sort and also spectacular with children, would obligingly reply:
"Dear Astrid:
How are you?  I am also fine."
Sometimes these would be handwritten notes in Nene's characteristic loopy, not quite cursive printing; and sometimes they would be manufactured on an old-school typewriter with many an exclamation point and lined- or X'd-out erratum, from a machine dating definitely back to pre-correction-tape days.  I think this may have been around the time Nene was writing for her local newspaper and so that was probably the tool of her trade, but whatever the source, I adored those letters, and the lady who sent them, and I still do.

Nene turned 80 last year - and a couple years before that she could be found showing a little leg before jumping off of her younger brother's boat into the Mighty Mississippi with her nieces' children:

Two too-canny Conways can can-can.  Can you?  Lookit those pointed toes!  Ha chachachacha!

Here is a woman who is always ready to

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Life: A Quilting Lesson

…being a dispatch from The Unsolicited Advice Lady for a nephew on a new adventure.

I first met my nephew JB when he was about 9, I think - my brother El Jefe brought his new lady friend (now wife, Cairo) and her sons to dinner to meet the fam, which I'm sure was about as horrifying a thing as could be imagined, for a lad of 9….especially given it was MY family, boisterous as we are, and especially for a young dude as reserved and adult as JB was at that age.  He sat quietly observing the chaos that is the Reflux family en masse; leaned against his mom, with preternaturally wise old eyes in his little boy face, and made the best of it.  That dinner has now lasted about 15 years, lucky kid.

In the ensuing years, despite sporadic, holidays-and-birthdays level contact, I was delighted to witness JB growing into