Monday, July 24, 2006


Dear Louise,

I hope this piece of paper finds you well. Your last letter arrived with a mysterious stain down the middle of it. It was like water damage, but kind of yellowy. You would tell me if the water was bad there, wouldn't you? Sure I would worry, but I would rather know. When I think about the journey the post has to undertake just to get back and forth, I am astonished that a letter ever arrives at all. Why, Mrs. Walters says she has to send her boys their new shoes in two separate packages so they're not taken by bandits. If I were a bandit, I would get smart to that trick in a hurry and hold onto one shoe until the other passed through. And just last week Mr. Hennessy was laid up by a tremendous mosquito bite and couldn't deliver our mail for five days! The bite swelled up around his government issue knee socks something fierce! You would think that such a tropical oddity would be affecting someone nearer to you rather than going on right here at home. Not that I am complaining. I feel sorry for Mr. Hennessy but am so glad that you are safe and healthy there. I read something about how they use enormous tropical leaves there instead of dinner plates? Is that true? I would love to see a picture of that. All that windstorm business was in the news on television here. I clutched my hanky tight and watched as the wind ripped through all those tiny little huts. I was so relieved to see that your area was not affected. Good thing you told me that you were in the Southeast part of the country so I could tell right away when they flashed the map on the screen. Only the red parts, they said, were where the toxic water had caused so much damage. Still, I want you to be safe and be careful. I know you sometimes have difficulty balancing those two sensibilities, but please, Louise, for me. It was already been a very hard couple of weeks, you know, what with Netty and all. By now I'm sure you heard all about Netty. Mrs. Evans said she would ring you up straightaway, even though it is a fortune and the connection is so bad. In any case, everyone was real sad you wouldn't be able to come back for the service, but I guess you knew there would be casualties when you decided to leave for such a very long time. Please do not take this as a guilt trip, Louise, I am only just stating the practical matters. But the service was lovely. I couldn't even count all the wreaths, even though they had asked for donations to the Diver's Club instead. People always think flowers will make you feel better. A peculiar instinct, don't you think? But in any case, when you get back, they got Netty all squared away in a plot near that drippy pine and he's got one of those headstones with the screw-in vases. You ask for one at the office and they give it to you. Oh, what am I telling you this for? You're a big girl, you will know how to ask for the vase when you come back. But do please make a point of sending a note to Mrs. Evans if and when you do visit Netty. She was awful broken up about it, as we all were, I suppose. And right now I've got two fat, hungry cats swishing their tails back and forth across the linoleum and I'd better do something fast before they hop up onto the window sill and knock over the pie I've got there cooling. Do you hear that? I sound just like a cartoon character now. But I do sometimes get lonesome for you, Louise. The rhubarb is fresh and I know you would like a piece of pie if you were here. It is coming up on four o'clock here--it must be tomorrow by now for you. Just think about that, would you? I feel like I am writing right into the future to you. Imagine that--a future where they use leaves instead of dinner plates and have to use canoes and their vivid imaginations instead of electric lights.

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