Halloween is better in barely-sweater weather! We trick-or-treated with ease this year, following at least six or seven seasons of brutality. I'm not exaggerating --- our Alaskan bones are solid and our blood runs thick when necessary, but what a joy not to muster all that. Our mental scrapbooks are filled with literal blizzards, three layers of snow gear over top of costumes, wailing toddlers, breaking into relay sprints to shuttle the wounded back to safety, heroic Godfathers, worried Grandmas, stocking footed crazy kids on a mission, and finally the coziness of a waiting fireplace. Our crew met up with dear friends who have a well-plotted course and a festive neighborhood. Their house is like a beacon of stability and holiday rhythm to our family --- greeting us this time with a truly pretty display (partially pictured below) that made me sigh with gratitude. The spirit of November.
We recently found a camera's memory card that had a bunch of photos taken by our then-seven-year-old daughter; mostly Still Life compositions of her own feet, Barbie dolls, and obscure corners of familiar places. Among the series were a few that made me squeal. That's my handsome, funny, beloved baby brother in a pile of some of our kids. Yesterday was his birthday --- and since I've removed my humble omniscience from Facebook (a continual source of agitation, fixation and frustration for me, not to mention the data-mining creepiness) I was relegated to using the phone to send our best wishes. He didn't answer. And then his voicemail wasn't working, so I squinted into the sun with confusion for a while, and called our Daddy instead. It's odd to be on the one hand a real objector to these modern whizzing dynamos, and on the other hand almost dragged under their tow without thinking. It's a little like the time the automatic door at Fred Meyer hesitated for a nanosecond (I need ciabatta rolls and have no yeast! I need them now! Rachael Ray told me to put this mashup on ciabatta!) and in that stilted flash, I pictured my entire family starving to death because of my domestic mismanagement and the glowing, unreachable grocery wares being locked away from me. The door opened when I jumped in front of the sensor, and the Messy Giuseppes were salvaged. I just don't think I'd have lasted long in the Pioneer days. This much I know: my destruction along the trail or in the covered wagon would be that much sweeter if I could be assured of the taunting and companionship of my brother.
We love Uncle Troy.
If God grants me forty more years on Earth, it feels like someday I'll treasure blurry, bouncing photos of our parenthood over any of the poised ones.
"Remember, Lord, the shortness of my life and how frail you have made the sons of men. What man can live and never see death? Who can save himself from the grasp of the grave?"
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