Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Morning After

Dear John,
 
I want to hug you so bad tonight, so consider yourself hugged! I never knew anybody who could hug like you. (And I'm Southern, so I've known some champion huggers.) Your arms were so long, it seemed that they could wrap around me twice. And my head fit perfectly into the curve of your shoulder. I miss your arms around me.
 
The rest of Chrismas Day was good. I played with Netflix and Pandora, watched television, and knitted. I talked to Jen, and tried to talk to your family - I called while Jim and Irene were taking your mom back home, and by the time they called back I had company and couldn't talk. Ron came by to check on his Godmom last night, and Tamara sent wonderful homemade baklava.
 
I was up late again last night, but today's weather rendered it irrelevant. A massive storm is moving across the country. We only got the edge of it, so just a couple of inches of snow, but winds over 30 mph complicated everything. Snow was drifting on the north-south roads and cutting visibility on the east-west roads, which doesn't leave much to drive on, so Kathy told me to stay home.
 
I went to the Post Office for the first time in a week. It's amazing how much mail accumulates in that length of time. Your mother's caramels arrived, with some for the Post Office people as always. So I got to explain the tradition to the two new people, how your mother has always sent us homemade caramels for Christmas, and you used to give some to the people at the Post Office. When your mother found out, she started making up a bag every year just for them. That was so like you, giving caramels to people. You always worked in service jobs, and you always liked to do special things for other people in those kinds of jobs.
 
But it was more than that - it was a general thoughtfulness with everybody. Last week when I was in South Bend I drove past the road we went down taking the teenager home after his car broke down on the bypass. I was always so glad that you stopped to help people! We met some nice people stopping for broken-down cars. But I especially remember the teenager, because he was so amazed that we'd take him back to his house. It turned out to only be two blocks out of our way, but that wouldn't have mattered to you. We had plenty of time, and you'd have taken him wherever he needed to go.
 
Thank you for that - for that day, and all the days you stopped to help people, and for the generous, unselfish heart that made you want to do it. A lot of people love you so much. The Post Office is enjoying the caramels, but what they really want is to have you back. Wanting you back is a community-wide epidemic. It's the only thing I want, but you know that.
 
Missing your arms tonight,
Joan.


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