Spring Thaw and Mardi Gras

Dearest Rachel –

It seems blasphemous to say it, but sometimes, I’m convinced that the Proverbs I read every morning ought to start with the phrase ‘as a general rule…’ Considering that the man who was inspired to write them was also later inspired to write Ecclesiastes, which, while not directly contradicting some of his earlier work (which often suggested that hard work and righteous living would result in earthly blessings), offered caveats and noted exceptions to the general rules he’d previously propounded, I don’t think it’s completely out of line to do so. Consider the following:

Without ·leadership [guidance] a ·nation [people] falls,
but ·lots of good advice [L an abundance of counselors] will ·save it [bring victory; Eccl. 9:13–15].

Proverbs 11:14, Expanded Bible

Indisputably, this is excellent advice – even if one discounts the authority of its being scripture – both on the macro and micro levels. The consensus of wise friends around one can keep one from making mistakes, and indeed, lead to a prosperous and pleasant future.

But what if there’s no consensus? That is, at this point, something I’m dealing with, something that sticks in my craw. For the moment, I don’t really want to go into details. This is in part due to the fact that most of my counselors read these letters, and will recognize their advice (and my opinion of them), but also in part because it may yet be too soon to have an opinion on them, especially given the fact that I can’t act on any suggestions one way or another for the remainder of the month (which you’ll note has just started). All of my weekends are spoken for; if I’m not in the booth, I am out of town – indeed, out of country. So I can’t move one way or another just yet.

Sometime before I go, I probably should remind you of your Finnish reindeer coat, as there’s probably a parable in there somewhere. But for the moment, I think today’s letter might as well just talk about little things going on, rather than this big picture of which I’m only seeing a few points, as opposed to the entire Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatté.

So, what are the little things that have been going on?

Well, for one, I had to eat my words about the weather last week. Sure, the day they predicted the blizzard, nothing happened, but by the following day, everything was blanketed, and I had to fill up the tank on the snow thrower in order to be able to leave for the office (one of these days, I need to show Daniel how to run this thing, but as I generally need to clear the way first thing in the morning, and he doesn’t do ‘first thing in the morning,’ that will have to wait. Sorry, honey, but you trained him well, and it isn’t as if he needs a paying job any more than I do). It’s just one more reminder of how difficult it is to forecast the weather here in the Chicago area.

Of course, that was a week and a half ago, a virtual eternity in meteorological terms. Today, the few remaining patches of snow on people’s lawns only exist where mountains were created from depositing the excess in the first place. It may not say so on the calendar (and winter may yet come back for a curtain call or two yet), but spring is just about upon us; the worst of winter is melting away.

This includes the almost total elimination of certain other undesirable aspects of winter, which we’ve come to know as cold and flu season. Add Covid to that list going forward, at this point – and who knows, maybe within a year or two, it might even lose the capital letter, just like how no one uses ‘influenza’s full name anymore – it’s been determined that it’s just something we’re going to have to live with, but at least, the ‘season’ is over. Interesting timing, though… the day before Softserve Joe stands before his assembled multitudes, they drop the mandates, so he can take the credit (again – he’d already declared ‘independence’ from Covid back in July. Guess everyone’s entitled to their ‘Mission Accomplished’ moments).

For all that I rag on Team Covid for the mask-and-vaxx mandates, I have to admit, the relaxation of the rules can’t come soon enough. I only hope it holds – I seem to have misplaced my proof-of-vaccination card, and what with my travel plans coming up, the last thing I need is for those physical papers to be required, now that I can’t locate them. If you were still here, you’d know where it was, even if it was buried in a pile on the dining room table, but I can’t find it in a relatively clean house. I’ve texted Kris about whether she remembers seeing it, as Wednesday seems to be the last I recall seeing it, but I’m not sure it will turn up in time. Of course, if it turns out that the rules are actually about to be relaxed, it may wind up being a moot point, for which I’d be thoroughly grateful.

Yesterday, I had an interesting email conversation with a complete stranger who thought she knew me. Let me explain: you probably recall that I have been getting email for some guy who shares my name (apparently, his email address is only different from mine insofar as his lacks the dot separating my given name from my surname – for whatever reason, though, Gmail disregards that, and sends the mail sent to the dotless address to me in any event). This other guy received a follow-up message from a foundation administrator from what I assume to be his alma mater; said administrator would be in his area in Tuscon, AZ in a month or so from now, and she was writing to meet with him at that time. Normally, I just discard these emails, as they clearly don’t pertain to me. However, yesterday, she sent a follow up to the original, as he hadn’t responded to her earlier missive. I’m starting to wonder if this fellow is even getting any emails to his inbox, or if they’re all going to me.

At any rate, I thought it best to inform her of the situation, and the fact that her letters might very well not be reaching their intended destination. Unfortunately, I’d no way for her to actually reach my namesake, but at least she could be aware that the email address she was using wasn’t working as expected. She was grateful and apologetic (though I made it clear that the latter wasn’t necessary – it certainly wasn’t her fault that the mail wasn’t being routed correctly. As I said to her, I’m more annoyed with the countless advertisements I get from the effects of his wife’s shopping habits), even offering me the chance to become an alumni of her university, to which I politely declined.

Although, in retrospect… there used to be a great deal of joking about those co-eds who attended college for an ‘Mrs.’ degree (including, according to your mom, yourself)… maybe that’s a line worth pursuing…?

Anyway, today is hopefully going to be a busy and productive day. Yesterday being the end of the month, I’d like to be able to start working on closing out February for both the camp and the church. I’ve also got to let our (and yes, I think I can use ‘our’ in this case, as I need to file for us as a married couple – since we were for three weeks of last year – as well as for your estate, to say nothing of Daniel separately) tax preparers know that I haven’t forgotten them, I just haven’t received all the paperwork I need in order to complete everything.

But slightly more urgently, before the end of the day, I’ve got to get out to Don’s Dock again. You might remember my comments a couple weeks back about how even Daniel might appreciate some of their Mardi Gras-themed offerings, such as alligator bites (or even a po’boy, but that would be a challenge to keep warm on the trip from Des Plaines to home). We were actually going to get something from them last night, on our way to church for Sparks (we’ve gotten in the habit of leaving the house a little after four, picking something up en route, and eating at one of the tables set up in the church lobby; we practically have a specific pair of seats we stake out once we arrive), but as we pulled into the parking lot, we realized we were the only ones there. I’ve known this from occasional previous visits, but I keep forgetting that they’re closed on Mondays nowadays. So, I’ve got to head out early this afternoon, stop for groceries beforehand (to pick up the accessories for a proper po’boy – including lettuce, which would probably serve as a whole additional letter in itself, and you know why), and then drive down and back to pick everything up we might want for the next few such meals. Hopefully, we can enjoy everything together, without him getting too dramatic over the ‘fishy’ (or rather, shell-fishy) nature of the stuff I intend to get for myself.

So I’ve actually got an agenda for the day, unlike most days. Here’s hoping I can accomplish it – and I don’t wind up dealing with a huge line in the process.

So wish me luck, honey… I’m going to need it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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