You know, I can’t believe it’s really been so long. It doesn’t feel like it, but then the list of things we haven’t talked about yet is definitely four years long. It’s hard to believe everything that’s happened.
First of all, you know the Red Sox won the series, right? Of course you do; we all figured you made that a priority. And you remember that yellow house, the one a few doors down? Well, we bought it, just like you said we should do if it ever came on the market. It was a nice place. We moved your prickly pear cactus there too, but there wasn’t a great spot for it so we put it by the cherry tree, since you always liked cherry trees.
And then there was my soul-sucking job — you remember the one. It’s not that it was a bad job exactly, it’s just that it was killing me, slow and sure. Things just kept getting more unhappy in Silicon Valley, you know? Your grandson had a terrible time in school and we were all just miserable. So we left! That was about two years ago. We just decided that, one way or another, we were heading back east, and I was going to do something fibery for work. So it’s Ohio, near Chad’s folks, and — of course — this house is also yellow. Yellow houses for the win, huh? I finally got that Taylor guitar. I think about you when I sit on the porch with it, playing and singing and drinking a beer.
Man, you know, my old lady Inanna cat kicked the bucket too. That was last year. She was a damn good cat. She was a lot happier here in Ohio, too — that wheezing allergy thing went away and everything. California never did agree with her. With any of us, I guess. Most of us are out, now — there’s just my sister hanging on there.
You can’t believe how big your grandkids are. Every time I talk to Quilla on the phone I realize she’s a teenager, or might as well be. And my son has bigger feet than I do now. He can mow the lawn on the riding mower — really. Every time I’m getting all motherly nervous about stuff, Chad reminds me to think about the things you taught me to do, and what would Ed say?
I wonder that a lot, you know — what would you say? I want to call you up and ask for your opinions and tell you the scoop on my life, all the time. I want to show you all my yarn projects, and still have some of those arguments with you. I ought to tell you you were right and you told me so about some of it, too. I’m teaching more, and writing stuff. In fact, you know, funny story — I got a check from Interweave a bit ago, for a Spin-Off article, and when I was looking at the stub I noticed I had a vendor ID. It said “FRANQ1002.” I guess FRANQ1001 was taken, huh? I guess I really am a chip off the old block. I like to think you’d be proud. Sometimes I can almost hear your voice saying “Attagirl!” like I was 7 or 8 and you were the age I am now.
In my mind’s eye you never got any older than that, you know, not even the day you died, four years ago today in the early afternoon on the Connecticut seashore with Canada geese coming home. We have Canada geese here in Ohio, and I think of you every time I see them. Hell, I think of you every day. And man, I wish you were still around. I still hate it that you died. I still find it darkly amusing, too, to bear in mind that it was fibrous growths in your bone marrow… you know. Fiber. In your bones. That took over your blood and did you in. “Leave it to Ed to be killed by a fiber disease,” we’ve scoffed, in morbid Franquemont fashion, joking about the inappropriate, because sometimes that’s the best course of action.
Well, Pop, it really is a load of crap. I was counting on you getting to be an old geezer, y’know? And I know; you said you were sorry. It’s not what you’d have chosen. I wouldn’t have been ready for it whenever it happened. But it seems surreal, you know? To realize time marches on, relentlessly; to know that no matter how any of us felt when you died, the world didn’t really stop. Days and weeks and months and YEARS, yes, years have passed. Like I say, I hope you’d be proud of what I’ve been doing with them. You left a few threads hanging here and there and I’ve tried to pick up a few of your dropped stitches, but you not being here is still worse than mothholes.
P.S. If you see any of those old cats give ’em a cuddle from me. I hope it’s nice where you are, and there’s lots of great projects to work on, great bleacher seats for the important ball games, great music and all the time in the world to read whatever you feel like. We all still miss you here.
P.P.S. Yeah — I know. I said “you know” a lot. Totally subconscious, I swear, and yes, I do remember you telling me your mother broke you of that habit by saying “Yes I do know,” every time you said it. See, I was paying attention. I swear I was.