Wednesday, August 20, 2008


We returned yesterday afternoon.

The very minute we were dropped at home, my father and I jumped in the car and went to retrieve the dog. The dog went berserk when he saw us—he literally ran in circles and jumped endlessly all over us—and it took us thirty minutes to settle him down enough so that we could bring him home.

When he arrived home, he went berserk a second time, running in circles around the back yard and jumping all over my mother, my brother, Josh and Josh’s sister for a full twenty minutes.

He’s quite a guy.

I think he may have been glad to be back home!

This morning we took Josh’s sister to the airport for her flight home. She arrived home safely late this afternoon. Her parents were immensely pleased to see her for the first time in three weeks and two days. Alas, they will not have her at home for long—early next week, they will take her away for her freshman year of college.

This afternoon Josh and I made a couple of trips to the Post Office to mail boxes of belongings to Boston. The boxes contained cookware and dinnerware, linens and bath cloths, a computer, and other things we will need in Boston. All of the things belong to my brother—the boxes contained his belongings from Denver, which we packed over Memorial Day weekend and shipped to Minneapolis, where they have remained, unopened, ever since. We simply placed new shipping labels on the boxes and forwarded them to the East. This had been planned back in early May in order to make his move to Minneapolis and our move to Boston as simple as possible. My brother recently assumed our apartment and its belongings, and Josh and I will now assume his belongings, at least for the next three years. Two complicated cross-country moves involving three persons, accomplished by shipping a single set of household effects: I think that was a pretty efficient way to handle things.

Tomorrow night we will give my mother a delayed birthday dinner. Her birthday occurred while we were in Britain. We gave her a lovely dinner that night, but tomorrow tonight we will officially mark the occasion.

We shall give her a dinner of avocado-tomato salad, chicken breasts baked in a cream sauce, wild rice, glazed carrots, steamed broccoli, butternut squash and a cranberry-apple salad. For her birthday cake, she will get a seven-layer chocolate cake, made with several different kinds of chocolate. Each layer is slightly different, and each of the layers has a unique filling. The cake takes hours to prepare, but the end result is well worth the effort. Before we cut the cake, we will give my mother her birthday gifts.

We will give my mother the best possible birthday celebration. For her, the evening will be tinged with sadness, because Josh and I will head East the very next morning.

We plan to leave at 3:00 a.m., because we will drive straight through to New York without stopping. If there are no hitches, we should arrive in New York around midnight local time the same night. If there are hitches, we will arrive considerably later.

My middle brother will accompany us. This will give us three persons to share the driving burden. We will take our own food with us in order that we need stop only for fuel. We will gather food for the trip tomorrow afternoon and evening: sandwiches, snacks, fruit, cookies and juices. We will prepare thermoses of milk and coffee early Friday morning. We also have our listening organized for the trip: music of Kurt Weill, which my brother especially likes; and an unabridged book on tape, John Lukacs’s classic 1991 study, “The Duel—10 May To 31 July 1940: The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill And Hitler”. Between the Kurt Weill music discs and the John Lukacs book discs, we should be amply entertained not only all the way to New York but over much of the subsequent week as well.

We three will spend Saturday and Sunday in New York, visiting with my older brother and his family (who themselves recently returned from London). On Monday morning, we will drive up to Boston. My middle brother will accompany Josh and me to Massachusetts—he will spend our first week in Boston with us. He will help us clean our apartment (and paint it, if necessary), help us unpack the boxes we shipped today, and assist us in locating second-hand furniture that will get Josh and me through the next three years. It will be good to have his companionship and assistance.

We hope to have everything in our new apartment arranged no later than next Saturday.

Over Labor Day weekend, my parents will fly to New York to visit with my older brother and his family. On that Sunday, they all plan to drive up from New York to Boston to see for themselves where Josh and I will be living. When they return to New York late Sunday afternoon or early Sunday evening, they will take my middle brother back with them, and Josh and I will be on our own.

We will be on our own, but we will not be alone.

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

--W. S. Merwin

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Andrew...

    Just a quick hello from down here.

    We'll talk when I get back.

    In the meantime, here is where you can keep track of my mini South American sojourn:

    Take care,