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Posts Tagged ‘healing’

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the experience of using Princess Diana as a minor, but important, character in my first novel, Dance For A Dead Princess. Some readers have understood that I wanted to preserve my own view of Diana in the book. She was a beautiful, naive, young woman, looking for love with an older man after an emotionally barren childhood. But instead of creating a family to nurture, as she wanted to do, she was badly used by her husband, who was chronically and openly unfaithful, and she was abused by the institution of monarchy which her marriage was designed to serve. For the trouble she took to produce two princes and two royal heirs, she was later unfairly labeled unfit and unstable by Charles and his supporters in divorce proceedings.

Some readers are put off by Diana’s presence in Dance For A Dead Princess. In their opinion, even mentioning her is somehow exploiting her memory. But that view is very short sighted because if we don’t mention her, we forget her. And forgetting her is exactly what institutional monarchy wants us to do. Charles, who never made a place for Diana in his life, has filled the place that should have been hers with the woman who destroyed Diana’s marriage. And now the party line is to forget about Diana altogether and to criticize anyone who mentions her favorably as exploitive.

I came across this type of criticism recently when I discovered the work of Peter Settelen, a British actor and voice coach. In 1992 and 1993, Diana hired Settelen to help her improve her public speaking. Tapes of her early speeches demonstrate she had little skill as a speaker at the beginning of her career in public life. But after working with Settelen, she improved dramatically.

When Settelen began to work with Diana, he told her she would have to find her own authentic voice if she wanted to excel at public speaking. To that end, he recorded a series of sessions with her in which she described the events of her life. They are charming and candid, and well worth watching. And they reveal the side of Diana that my fictional character, Nicholas Carey, knew and loved and desperately missed as the novel opens.

Settelen has been criticized, of course, for making the tapes public. He had to go to court and fight to get them back after they were found in Paul Burell’s attic. Earlier, Settelen had been told the tapes had been destroyed.

Settelen candidly admits they were meant to be private teaching tools. But, as he also says, Diana did not know she was going to die; and the opportunity to hear the story of her life in her own words is a powerful way preserve her memory. The tapes Diana made with Settelen are well worth a listen. And listening to them explains why my fictional character Nicholas was driven to preserve Diana’s memory at all costs out of loyalty to his greatest friend.

Here is the YouTube link, the Diana Tapes with Peter Settelen.   What do you think of the tapes?  Did Settelen do the right thing to publish them?

xin_3611013010353612517511 - Copy

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I was reading an article this week on tips for obtaining a literary agent. What struck me was the author’s authoritative insistence that without a “perfect” manuscript, drafted and redrafted and redrafted yet again, a writer is doomed to be ignored and never to be published. If that is true, I am wondering why so many books are out there, indie and traditionally published alike, because I am yet to read a “perfect” one. Have you?

I myself hate the cult of “perfectionism” because it creates a myth that victimizes the rest of us who are just trying to do our best work. Note that “ best work” is not “perfect work.” In between learning that Dance For A Dead Princess had been nominated by Foreward Reviews for its Book of the Year Award in Romance and learning Dance was the sole Finalist for the Beverly Hills Book Award in Romance, I got an e-mail one morning informing me my “review was ready” from a indie author book review service I had contacted ages ago. I scrolled down and read absolutely the nastiest, snarkiest review of my book imaginable. No, let me rephrase that. The nastiest, snarkiest review of any book imaginable. Apparently I’d unwittingly fallen into the hands of the High Priestess of Perfection. So while munching my slightly underdone egg and overdone toast, and drinking a less than perfectly brewed cup of coffee (but happy to have a warm breakfast anyway), I learned that the High Priestess found my plot “contrived,” thought the use of the diary to tell the inner story was “the oldest literary cliche” out there, and was just outraged because the word “lame” got into the text without an accent over the e. Oh, whoops, my eternal bad. High Priestess said nothing about my ability to draw a reader vividly into a scene. (A New York editor had given me that accolade years ago.) High Priestess had nothing to say about all the readers on GoodReads and Amazon who had stayed up at night to find out what happened. And, of course, she had no idea what the judges at Foreward thought of Dance for A Dead Princess. No, she was dead set in her opinion that Dance wasn’t perfect and therefore not worthy of anyone’s time of day.

Well, I agreed with her. If perfect is your bag, Dance is not for you. But, then, neither are the rest of the books out there. Wonder if High Priestess has given that much thought?

Fortunately, I’ve been a writer long enough to know what I do well, and where I can improve. I listen to honest reader feedback. I learn. I grow. But I have not one single aspiration to be Perfect. My heart was broken enough times on that wheel growing up, and I have no intention of the punched-in-the-gut feeling that comes from hours and hours of working and hoping for that “Perfect” accolade, only to find all effort wasted because the accent mark didn’t find its home over the “e.”

I think it is useless and wrong to preach the religion of “Perfectionism.” One Christmas I went to a luncheon here in San Diego that a local group of attorneys sponsored in honor of the season. We sat in a semi-dark cavern of a room, at fifty or sixty round tables covered in spotless linen (or the lights were dimmed to hide the spots, take your choice), and potted poinsettias were plopped in the center of the table (to give the proceedings that “festive” air, I guess). We ate rubbery chicken with a glob of gravy on top, dressing that I swear was made out of old newspapers, and green beans that had been run through a pot of boiling water for ten seconds flat. (I assumed those beans spoke French.)

Since I was starving, I opted to search for food value in the wilted lemon meringue pie that had probably been parked by each diner’s place around 8:30 that morning. And as I sent my blood sugar soaring on an empty stomach, I listened to the speaker, a middle-aged attorney in a bright purple suit, who was presenting a writing award to a student from one of the local law schools. What interested me was the Speaker’s awe-inspired assurance that this student was “Perfect” because she put every one of her writing projects through at least ten drafts. Had Madame Middle-Aged Purple Suit taken leave of her senses, I wondered. Which one of her clients would have paid the hourly rate of a junior attorney who couldn’t produce a fileable document (fileable, not perfect) in one draft and a final? No client on earth is going to pay for ten drafts. Nor should he or she have to. What unreasonable and unworkable standard of the cult of “Perfectionism” was Purple Suit advocating in the midst of stultifying boredom?

Perhaps Miss Ten Drafts went on to be a disciple of the High Priestess, I don’t know. I never went to another holiday luncheon. I’m not perfect, my books are perfect, my readers aren’t perfect, and I love us all just the way we are. I’m throwing my hat in the ring to stamp out the religion of Perfectionism!

The High Priestess

The High Priestess

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The self-growth community, which likes to clutter my inbox with fantastic offers for $10,000 worth of free life changing bonuses if only I will divulge my e-mail, vociferously insists we must all LET GO of the Past. I sometimes wonder if the induction ceremony for an authentic, card carrying self-growth guru is to have his or her memory wiped like a malfunctioning hard drive.

Personally, I would miss my Past. Not all of it, you understand. But even the terrible, terrorizing moments taught me things that, having sweated blood and endured raw fear to learn, I would not want to forget. And aren’t we doomed to repeat the Past until we finally learn what It is trying to teach us?

The thing is, what would artists make their art out of if they didn’t have their Pasts? Sylvia Plath, without her miserable, doomed love-affair with Ted Hughes, would never have become a Great Poet. Ditto for W.B. Yeats who made a highly successful poetic career out of mourning his loss of the ever elusive Maude Gonne. And then there is the mysterious woman of Shakespeare’s sonnets. No lost love, no great sonnets. Thank goodness for the rest of us Plath, Yeats, and Shakespeare lived before the onslaught of self-growth emails insisting you can’t be Anybody until you LET Go of the Past.

And in my case, wiping my personal hard drive would be a rather long affair, since I have memories back to a very, very early age. Now, I am not one of those people who can cite chapter and verse every day of every week of my life. (I think that much recall would be boring.) But let’s just say I have some vivid and accurate recollections of certain major events before age three. And I’d miss them like I’d miss an arm or a leg if they vanished.

On the other hand, Too Much Past is the equivalent of those hoarding reality TV shows that I never watch. You know the ones, where some poor soul stills owns every McDonald’s wrapper and styrofoam Big Mac container that ever came into his or her life? The literary equivalent is poor Miss Havisham in Great Expectations.

I began to meditate upon the proper balance for The Past in my life this weekend when I finally rebelled against another Saturday and Sunday spent writing unbrief briefs and invited the sky to fall if it wanted to because I was LEAVING MY COMPUTER for the weekend. Something about rebelling against the lawyer’s code which says “real men work weekends” (note, I know I’m not a man and maybe I’m not real), always brings out the Tidy Up, Throw It Out impulse in me.

After tackling my guest room, which needed considerable tidying and spiffing, my eyes lit upon my garage floor, covered in boxes of files in pending, but not currently active cases, which were supposed to go to offsite storage weeks ago. My MiniCooper had been complaining that His garage was too full of things besides Himself. And he was right. So after bribing my Stronger-Than-Me son to move the boxes, I suddenly spied a shelf filled with old calenders dating back ten years.

When I retired from law practice and became full-time Mommy in 1986, I used to order those calenders from the Smithsonian and National Geographic that came as little coil bound books, week on one side, breathtaking photo on the other. I scribbled things like pediatrician appointments, play dates, and my few-and-far-between babysitter relief afternoons in them. But mostly I loved the ever changing artwork.

But then, the divorce settled like ash from Vesuvius over our world. My beautiful little calendars became part of my family law attorney’s files – alibis to prove what I’d been up to for the last eight years. And I had to once again put on the great grey mantle of law practice. In place of my lithe little photographic calendars, I had to order those big clunky green-striped DayTimers, six inches thick, which arrived each year with their own grey coffin of a box to store them in. Forever, apparently.

Then on Saturday afternoon I looked at those boxes as they sat on my garage shelf, neatly labeled like Old Father Time with the year of his reign on the spine, and I asked myself when was the last time I’d opened any of them. Answer: on December 31 of the year they had passed into oblivion. In fact, all the briefs’ due dates they had chronicled were long past. The cases were closed out, and I could barely remember the clients’ names. Here was my chance, I realized, to throw out a cumbersome Past that really was THE PAST. Here was a hard drive that had long needed wiping. Joyfully I seized each and every one and gleefully threw them away.

Green-Lined Day Timer

Green-Lined Day Timer

They come with their own coffins

They come with their own coffins

Smthsonian Engagement Calendar

Smthsonian Engagement Calendar

Smithsonian Calendar

Smithsonian Calendar

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My lower back has not been happy with me for sometime. I try to take excellent care of it, but I do sit at a computer for a living. And sometimes the lower back says ENOUGH!

I have a series of stretches that I learned from Peter Egoscue’s book, Pain Free at Your PC that my lower back and I just adore. They have kept us out of the company of orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and cortisone injections for years. My back and I swear by them.

But last August, after walking around hilly Seattle one afternoon while vising my youngest child who was interning for Microsoft, my lower back said I HATE YOU by shooting pain spasms through my left hip and left leg. Not wanting to be a kill joy (I hate to travel with complainers) I said nothing to Michael, but did my magic stretches as soon as I was back at the hotel. Only this time, they didn’t seem to work against my back’s Major Rebellion. No amount of cajoling and reminding my back of the dangers of orthopedic surgeons and of the negative attitudes of physical therapists (as a breed, they tell you EVERYTHING is YOUR fault) would persuade my back to stretch itself out like a good little kitty and go on with life.

So began my five-month journey to two Orthos and to two groups of physical therapists. Ortho One said sciatica and sent me to some monumentally grumpy physical therapists. After two visits, I switched to a group of three very cheerful PT’s, who happily beat on my back and disagreed among themselves and with me about what was wrong. Like vampires sucking blood, they happily gobbled up my insurance-paid physical therapy sessions and then threw me back in the pond, not much better. Ortho Two offered cortisone injections (at the height of the injections that killed people with meningitis) and looked crestfallen when I said no, thanks, I’m not into Russian roulette.

Christmas came and I didn’t want to think about it. I zumba’ed when I could but had to give up the elliptical at the gym for the BORING treadmill that doesn’t give me much of a workout.

Then last month I hit upon the bright idea of asking my family doctor for a referral to a scoliosis specialist because I’ve always known that was the problem. No one found the curve in my back until I was quite grown up and until it had curled up and settled in nicely for life. All I had to do was look into the mirror and see how the curve was getting worse. It wasn’t rocket science. I was in pain because my left and right halves were matching less and less all the time.

Grudgingly Fam Doc gave me the names of some specialists, but he said, look, what you’re looking for is physical therapy to make it better. True. And, he said, there’s this great chiropractor. WAIT! A WHAT? No, no. Not like in chiropractor. She’s more of a physical therapist.

So that was how I came to have a two and a half hour session of pure terror last Tuesday in the chiropractor’s office. And she definitely was not a physical therapist.

She spent the first half hour telling me scoliosis horror stories and impressing upon me how I could no longer live without her. She mentioned “adjustments” and when I asked her what that meant, she said, Oh, I’ll show you later. She used two big, loud scary machines to pound my poor little back until I got off the last one and hid in the bathroom for a while. I should have just walked out the front door, but I was waiting for the physical therapy to begin.

It never came. Instead, she wrenched my poor neck around so hard she reinjured it. I fell out of a tree when I was a kid and damaged some vertebrae and the one thing I tell every massage therapist before they touch me is DON”T TOUCH MY NECK! And after she wrenched it the first time and I told her to stop, she repeated her performance.

I dashed home, grabbed the ice packs, and was upset for the a rest of the day. To win my freedom from being held hostage in her office, I had promised to come back on Thursday.

Ha! Fat chance that was going to happen.

I was so angry, I started to do the unprofessional thing, and not even call on Wednesday to cancel the appointment, but I did. How I wish I hadn’t. She clearly had some sort of major mental problem. She called me four times screaming at me on the phone because I wasn’t coming back. The fifth and sixth times she called, I just raised the receiver a notch and threw it back into the cradle.

On Thursday night I woke up in a cold sweat at 4 a.m. You know the kind that lets you know you’ve done something REALLY STUPID, but at least you are STILL ALIVE. I turned on the light and took some deep breaths and thought about it for a while. What I had encountered in the chiropractor’s office had been violence. She had been violent when she wrenched my spine this way and that. The machines had been violent when they pounded on my back. But I hate violence of all kinds. For me, healing is about being positive and gentle.

Then I kicked myself. The answer was Egoscue. They have a clinic here, and they treat scoliosis. The stretches I knew how to do had never let me down. I just needed a bigger arsenal of gentle weapons to get better. I hadn’t needed to go looking for the answer. It had been staring me in the face since Day One of my back’s Major Rebellion in Seattle.

Today I’m headed off to the Egoscue clinic. If I had listened to myself all along, I would have known that was the answer. But I let the chatter of all the other people I had seen – the two Orthos, the grumpy and cheerful PT’s – become so loud in my head that I forgot the true path to healing is always listening to what’s inside ourselves.

 

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He died forty-two years ago in Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam on July 11, 1971. He, and his six crew mates, were mortally injured when their booby trapped helicopter blew up on the runway on June 16, 1971.

Army helicopters in Vietnam

Army helicopters in Vietnam

He was twenty-three years old, one year short of the age my oldest son turned on Saturday. His mother made it to the Army hospital in Vietnam in time to say good bye. Since the day my first son was born, I have been forever haunted by what Mrs. Workman must have felt on that military transport as she flew across the world to her dying son.

His eyes weren’t good enough to pilot the Army helicopters he dreamed of, but U.S. Army First Lieutenant Lance Davis Workman still made the flight crew. He never married. He didn’t have time.

Lance Davis Workman

Lance Davis Workman

Lance was slightly ahead of me in high school. He was one of the “cool kids” while I was a high school band geek. I only knew of him, really, because he left City High just as I was entering.

But in college, I dated a number of his fraternity brothers. I guess to him I was the “cute” freshman who hung out with the pledges. The Greek life for us was not the modern-day drunken brawls that make the news. The majority of us still lived with our parents in order to afford college. So hanging out at the fraternity house was a way to connect with friends. Lance wasn’t there a lot. He had been ROTC in high school, and he was ROTC in college. He wanted only one thing: to fly those helicopters in Vietnam.

Tennessee earned its nickname “The Volunteer State” during the war of 1812 when Tennessee volunteers, serving under Gen. Andrew Jackson, displayed marked valor in the Battle of New Orleans. They had already been fighting Indians under “Old Hickory” so they moseyed on down the Mississippi to fight the British. Later, some of them would join Tennesseans Sam Houston and Davy Crockett at the Alamo. Tennessee also supplied more soldiers for the Confederate Army than any other state, and more soldiers for the Union Army than any other Southern state. In short, Tennesseans are not afraid to fight. And Lance was a Tennessean.

The Vietnam War is a difficult subject. Later, after Lance had died and I knew more about how he and others like him were dying in vain a world away and after I had seen my generation turn guns on itself at Kent State, I would come to have strong feelings about ending that war. But my only feeling in the hot summer of 1971 was grief for the first of my friends to die. In fact, we were all so committed to the war at the time that when the only peacenik on campus tried to organize a protest by offering free doughnuts, no one showed up to eat a single Krispy Kreme. Not one.

Lance was laid to rest at Chattanooga Memorial Park on July 17, 1971, at 10 a.m. It was a hot, sunny Southern summer day. We all stood under the pines on the side of that impossibly perfect green hill to say goodbye with the old blue Appalachians looking down at us. The Army honor guard came from Fort McPherson, Georgia, to carry his flag-covered coffin. I cried when the bugler played taps, and they folded the flag, and presented it to Lance’s mother and father.

Chattanooga Memorial Park

Chattanooga Memorial Park

We know so little about how long our lives will be. I have had forty-two years since that hot July day. I’ve raised three souls entrusted into my care and have told them the stories of Lance and the others who had so little time. Southerners always honor the dead by telling their stories. What none of us knew on the morning of July 17, 1971, as the sharp July sun beat down on our tears, was that by September, we would all assemble again, just a few yards away to say goodby to Lance’s close friend Cissy, who, at barely twenty-one, would die of a blood clot from the early birth control bills. And within two more years, I would be standing under the same pines, burying my father, who didn’t quite make sixty-three.

My last memory of Lance, however, is not of his coffin under the flag surrounded by the honor guard. No. My last memory of Lance is seeing him dance at probably the last fraternity party he went to before he entered the Army. It was a Western-themed party, and he was wearing a kid’s cowboy hat and cap pistols in a plastic holster. He was dancing and laughing and was probably slightly drunk because we had a big keg that night. He was having the time of his life. That is the memory I will always have of him.

Lance's red hat

Lance’s red hat

He is a true American hero and today is his day and the day of all like him who have died for us. I wish we had been real friends, Lance; but I admire you and cherish your memory.

You can find LANCE DAVIS WORKMAN honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Panel 3W, Row 106.

The Vietnam Memorial

The Vietnam Memorial

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A few weeks ago, I came across Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” in Anthropologie. One of my favorite get-away-from-the-computer afternoons involves a wander through Anthro, fingering the nubby jackets, caressing the soft sweaters, and sighing over the silk blouses. And as I wander, I inevitably become endlessly enchanted by the grown-up picture books piled next to the scented candles, the adorable JellyCat stuffed animals, and the rainbow dishes in all shapes and sizes. Like most Anthro merch, I refuse to pay full price for it. Instead I text myself the name of the latest enchanting tome and rush home to buy it on Amazon for half-price.

So a few days after I encountered “The Happiness Project” my copy arrived in the regulation Amazon.com box. I suppose part of my curiosity stemmed from the title. Some posts back, I explained my Smile Project; so, I wanted to see what a Happiness Project was all about.

Enter chapter one where Ms. Rubin is sitting on a cross-town Manhattan bus, realizing she is in her thirties, is a Yale-trained lawyer turned New York Times bestselling author, happily married with two children, and SHE’S NOT HAPPY. So she decides to (1) find out what happiness is and (2) become happy. There are many things I liked about this book, but one of its chief charms is Ms. Rubin’s determination to make small changes in her daily life to capture the elusive bird of happiness. She doesn’t want to throw everything over, run away, and join a monastery or a circus. (Kind of tough for a mother of a seven year old and a one year old.)

So she undertakes a mountain of research to see what “experts” and “researchers” have to say about happiness and then sets herself certain areas to focus on each month. For example, her overall theme for January was “Boost Energy.” Her specific actions were “Go to sleep earlier,” “Exercise better,” “Toss, restore, organize,” “Tackle a nagging task,” and “Act more energetic.”

Another thing I like about this book, is Gretchen Rubin’s honesty. She realizes the only person she can change is herself, and she is scrupulously honest about the behaviors she would like to give up and the ones she would like to cultivate. Her book has inspired a wave of Happiness Projects, which she is quick to point out are personal to everyone who undertakes one.

Gretchen Rubin’s definition of happiness turned out to be “To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right in an atmosphere of growth.” I agree with her about the “atmosphere of growth,” but my own definition of happiness includes “knowing from moment to moment” what I want. That is harder than it sounds, because so much of my life has been about accomplishing tasks that have to be done whether I wanted to do them or not. Self-employment and single motherhood tend to wipe out individual preferences.

But “The Happiness Project” inspired me to set yet another goal: figure out what I want on a daily basis. So now when I get up in the morning with the laundry list of “To do’s” tap dancing across my brain like the Rockettes on stage at Radio City Music Hall, I ask myself which one or ones will make me happy if I accomplish them today. If none of them rings my happiness bell, I ask, “Are there any orphan ‘I wants’ pining for my time?” My project is not as complicated as Ms. Rubin’s. I don’t like charts and gold stars and quantifying results. I just like the good feeling that comes with accomplishing at least one or more things in a day that my real self (not my lawyer self) wants to come true.

I am glad I passed “The Happiness Project” at Anthro that day. I agree with Gretchen Rubin that small, daily changes can bring real happiness.

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project

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Last week, on the day before Valentine’s Day, my son called home from college.

“Mom, I need the fudge recipe.”

Now here was a bit of family lore that had drifted silently into dry dock, and I’m not quite sure if I can say when. Back in the day when all three kids were home and fairly small, fudge at Christmas was our special family treat. Even in the years when Christmas had to be celebrated on a shoestring, fudge was always affordable. It was our go-to gift for their friends, for their teachers at school, for their music teachers, and for anyone else who happened to cross our paths at the holiday. And it was blissfully appropriate across all religious lines as long as I remembered to buy only “Happy Holidays” tins at Walmart. (None of the kids’ friends had a problem with the ones with Santa Claus on top, either.)

Now, candy was an interesting subject at our house. I do not know if modern Southern mothers raise children who are forbidden to have candy, but I was not raised that way, and it never occurred to me to banish candy. Perhaps because it was so available, my children were never particularly interested in it. The miniature candy bars in the toes of the Christmas stockings became petrified wood by the time I remembered to throw them out at Easter. Similarly, the pastel foil wrapped chocolate eggs thoughtfully provided by the Easter Bunny languished into melt down as summer approached. And my children would politely nibble an ear off a chocolate rabbit and then wrap it up forever more. At Halloween, they counted their loot and put it away until Christmas. It is amazing that we didn’t have more ants in the house more often.

So because candy was never forbidden, it never made anyone’s heart beat faster. On the other hand, when the children who were being raised Sugarless came over, I’d find the little jars of Hershey’s kisses on the kitchen counter empty by the time they went home. Which was fine. The kisses were there to be eaten, and we probably weren’t going to eat them. And I would never inform the Sugar Police on our little visitors.

But fudge at Christmas was a different story. Maybe because fudge is creamy, gooey chocolate like none other and maybe because it appeared but once a year, every fudge crumb ever concocted on our stove was consumed.

When Michael called last week, I panicked. Where was the recipe? I had once known it by heart, and for a full ten minutes I could not even think where the written version was. Losing it would be like losing the baby teeth the Tooth Fairy had taken out from under their pillows and hidden in my jewelry box. Some parts of family lore are just too precious to lose.

“I’ll have to hunt for it and call you back,” I told him. (Southerner’s “hunt” for things; we do not “look for” them.) As soon as I got off the phone, I sat quietly and tried to think it through. I had no idea where the written version was because I had made it so many years by memory. Yet I knew it was written down. I am careful to keep important things like that written down.

I closed my eyes and thought about how ordinary things are no longer ordinary when they are woven into the fabric of a family’s life. There are the special ornaments that have to be on the Christmas tree each year. There is the Thanksgiving stuffing that must contain sausage and oysters, but no mushrooms. There is the one and only birthday cake with chocolate butter cream to paste the layers together, and vanilla butter cream on the outside. There are the Easter Bunny footprints stealthily stenciled on the front walk at midnight with flour. There was our first dog’s birthday on July 4, and now our current dogs’ birthdays on February 2 and March 3. These things and these dates and these memories are sewn together to make the quilt of our unique family story. And each is important and never to be lost or forgotten.

So where, oh where was the fudge recipe? Of course, in the binder of family recipes that I had put together over the years. Within fifteen minutes, I had typed it into an e-mail, and it was on its way to my son who called shortly thereafter.

“Thanks, Mom.”

“No problem. Glad you reminded me where it was.”

“Well, I’m being cheap. Instead of buying chocolate, I’m making it for her.”

“Oh, no. That’s not cheap. Any gift from your own hands, of your own time, is never cheap. You guys have a very Happy Valentine’s Day!”

And so a bit of our family lore was recovered, renewed, and passed on.

Holiday Tin

Holiday Tin

The Good Stuff

The Good Stufff

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