Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Best Card Ever

I received a card from my grandmother's best friend from high school, congratulating myself on my upcoming nuptials. My grandparents met on a double date, a BLIND date, with this woman, Joann, and her then-boyfriend, Harold. Harold passed away this last year, and I wound up never getting around to sending a letter, for which I've continually felt terrible about. In my letter back, I talked about that and what I miss about Harold, and that my partner and I will visit her the next time we're in the area.

Anyhow, here is the letter:
Dear [Dea],
My original thought was to send you one of those hearts and flowers cards wishing you a life full of joys and happiness.
But both of us know life is not like that, you've matured enough (and seen enough) to know there is more to marriage than that. It's a challenge and a willingness to change from "me" to "use" and it takes time!
Time and the strength to see past arguments and bad times but it's all a season of growth and well [worth] working for!
I wish you and your fiance a love strong enough and the wisdom to be partners through life together.
I'm sorry I was not able to attend your party, it seems that after the long winter we had, everybody has been eager to go-go-go and do things (of course at this age you want to "go" as long as you are able!).
The problem is reservations have to be made, and paid for, weeks in advance so unfortunately we are unable to change our minds to do other things we would enjoy even more!
Jo Ann

My sister and I grew up visiting with Harold and Jo Ann every time we would visit Grandma and Grandpa. Jo Ann, Grandma, my sister and I would visit the dollar store and spend $10 on anything we wanted (I usually got little knicknacks and figurines), we would go back to Harold and Jo Ann's house and play cards, or dominoes, and we would usually go out to eat. And watch Grandpa and Harold play the game of "who gets the pleasure of paying for dinner?" It is one of my favorite games to watch. People trying to pull their wallets out at lightning speed, trying to "bribe" the waitstaff, it's always fun.

Jo Ann and Harold had two sons, I believe, and their grandchildren lived on the west coast. So they rarely go the chance to do grandparent-y things. Harold fixed up old cars. We went for a ride in a Model T once when I was a kid. It was freezing cold, and they only had isinglass for windows, which is similar to vinyl.
I can still see the layout of their perfectly maintained house and garden. Jo Ann used an expanding hat rack in her kitchen to store her every day mugs. I remember that I bought one of them at the dollar store on one of our visits because I thought that was the best idea ever. Completely forgetting the fact that I was in elementary school and didn't have a kitchen with mugs that needed a home.

I love these people very much, and I appreciate the card more than anything else I've ever received. I appreciate the lack of bullshit, and the acknowledgement of such. I appreciate the love inherent in its words. Thank you, Jo Ann.

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