Saturday, March 8, 2014

Hall Passes & the Great Potato Party

Dear John,
It's another snowy night and we all miss you. I woke up this morning to heavy snow coming down in pre-formed snowballs. Then it changed to sleet and freezing rain, back to snow, and back and forth all day. The roads were slick with lots of slide-offs, so I didn't go to Great Vespers at Holy Protection tonight. I really didn't want to be out in this after dark. Tomorrow should be warmer, then we're looking at a whole week with highs above freezing. There will be a great melting - I'll keep a close eye on the basement.
I slept in until 8:00 this morning. The animals are always up at first light. I'm usually up with them or before them, but today they were rampaging around the house before I was up. I woke to a bit of a puzzle: there was a potato on the bedroom floor. I don't think Jethro got it down because it was on the back of the counter where he couldn't have reached it - I keep potatoes next to the colander with the onions in it. Abby can't get up on the kitchen counters. So Hunter must have pushed it off onto the floor. I can't imagine why I didn't hear the thump when it landed. Then some combination of the three of them brought it to the bedroom. All I know for certain is that somebody had too much fun and I missed it.
The question was raised on Facebook whether you especially liked potatoes and maybe it was a sign from you. You really loved my mashed potatoes - that's the only thing I regret in our years together, that I didn't fix you meatloaf and mashed potatoes more often. But if you wanted to leave me a sign, I don't believe you'd leave a potato on the bedroom floor. If I wake up and find a cranberry-walnut bagel from Panera by the bed, I'll know you've been here.
But don't forget that matter of the rose in college - you know how mad I get when you drop off gifts instead of just coming by to visit. If you get a night's hall pass, don't waste time bringing me bagels. Just come and sit on the edge of the bed and talk, then cuddle with me. Let me put my head into the curve of your shoulder and feel your long arms around me. You can tell me what Heaven is like and how long it will be until I get to come, too. And you can play with Jethro - he misses you so much - and meet Hunter and Abby. Jethro has told them all about you, and they still sleep in your bedroom slippers sometimes. We'd all welcome you. But don't be dropping off bagels or potatoes for me. The only thing I want is you.
Love you more than life,
PS - I'm listening to Pandora tonight. I just heard "Leather and Lace." It has such good memories with it, our early years in Springfield before we knew all the things the radiation was still doing inside you. Now they're playing "Broken Hallelujah." We both liked that. Love is not a victory march. One day when I was a child and was in the bathtub playing with toys, I realized - for reasons unknown - that anytime you loved, there would later be pain. I sat there until the water got cold deciding if it was worth it. I determined that day that it was. I was right. The pain is much greater than my childhood mind could ever know, but so is the love. Maybe the one determines the other. Just know that I love you more than I ever imagined possible, and that the measure of that love is also the measure of my pain. And I was right - it's worth it. I love you much more than life.

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