So this is my third letter I have left at Berkey Creamery this year. You might rightfully think that I have an addiction to this place. I do. Their Cookies-n-Cream is awesome. I kind of lover everything about this place, except maybe that they don’t let you mix flavors. Actually that is not entirely true, they did allow Bill Clinton to do it when he visited in 1996 – the 42nd president requested Cherry Quist and Peachy Paterno.
I got a salad for lunch and followed it up with a small bowl – I told her to stop scooping – of Berkey’s deliciousness. I had a few minutes and decided to write a letter while I was there. Today is the 9-year anniversary of my mother’s death. She was an inspiration for my Year of Giving, where I gave away $10 to a stranger every day for a year while I was unemployed. So I thought, why not marry these projects today and leave a letter with a crisp Alexander Hamilton inside.
So where did I leave the letter? Well, here’s a hint. Go to Berkey’s and buy a half gallon of my favorite flavor – you just might find my letter in the freezer!
I’ve made a commitment to write a handwritten letter every day for a year. A few years ago I gave away $10 every day for a year – that project started 6 years ago today – Dec. 15, 2009. I thought I would pay tribute to that anniversary ad include a tenner for you.
I carefully embossed this silver tree on the card and then dripped ice cream on it. Ooops.
Did you know that Berkey Creamery was closing? Not for good – but probably about two months. That’s crazy right? What will people do? While I understand they need to do renovations – we the people need ice cream! So I suggest you stock up today – maybe get yourself an extra pint (go ahead – get the gallon!) with the $10.
P.S. I highly recommend the Cookies-n-Cream.
Posted in Anonymous
Tagged $10, anniversaries, Berkey Creamery, Bill Clinton, handwritten letters, ice cream, mom, Penn State University, State College, Year of Giving, Year of Letters
When I look back at the letters that I have from you and Mom growing up, the majority were sent while I was spending time away from home at camp, as an exchange student, at college, etc. I’ve kept those letters, I treasure them. They bring back beautiful memories when I hold them in my hand and read the words that you wrote by hand.
As you spend time at the cabin, I thought you could use some mail. It was great to see you this past weekend – I really enjoyed the time we got to spend together.
With Dad at a Nationals game a few years ago.
I wonder if you saw the Nats yesterday – close game, they beat the cubs 2-1, Ramos hit the game winning home run. You should google Michael Taylor’s catch if you didn’t see it already, beautiful!
Things here are going fine. I got your check for the Street Sense event on June 2nd. Thank you, that was very generous of you. Put Oct. 1st on your calendar – the 2015 Street Sense Gala. It’s shaping up to be a really cool event.
I’m going over to Ryan’s tonight to babysit Jacqueline and Mackenzie – Ryan and Mandy are going to see comedienne Amy Schumer.
We need to talk about our trip to Europe – we put it on hold as I recall when you had your knee surgery, but that’s been four years now and we still haven’t made plans for the trip.
I’m not sure how long you’re planning on staying up there, but maybe I will try to come visit. And I hope you know that you are always welcome here – I really enjoy when you visit. Maybe we can find time for you to come when we can get to a couple of Nationals games. That would be fun.
I know you have things you want to get done up there, but I hope you take some time to relax and enjoy yourself too.
I love you very much,
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged baseball, cabin, dad, Europe, family, handwritten letters, holidays, loved ones, memories, mom, travel, Washington Nationals, Year of Letters
Today is Mother’s Day and I want to wish every mother a very special day. It’s a day that I, and I suspect anyone who has also lost their mother, faces with mixed emotions.
I won’t be buying her flowers today, or taking her to lunch. I won’t hear her soft southern voice. And I won’t be able to give her a hug and tell her how much I love her. Despite these things, today is not a sad day for me. Don’t get me wrong, I miss her terribly and often do allow myself to feel sad that she is no longer with us. But not today. Today is a day to celebrate what a wonderful mother she was to Ryan and me.
The hard days are the ones when I want to pick up the phone to call her and share something special in my life. Or tell her about the book I’m reading that takes place in the hollers of Appalachia where she grew up. Or days when I don’t feel well and instinctively think to call Mom and ask her for advice. Sometimes it’s for the smallest things like wanting to ask her if it was a cup or half cup of flour in the recipe I’m making.
But for every one of those moments, I’ve got a thousand memories that I carry close to my heart for just those occasions. It’s my little way of remembering her and what an extraordinary person she was. My promise to her today and always is to make laughter part of every day, have integrity in all that I do, show kindness to others and always take a few minutes to dance in the kitchen.
Mom and Dad at a cocktail party in Hawaii circa 1969. I’m not sure who took the photo but my brother took a lot of time to restore and colorize this image.
Mom and Aunt Patti circa 1951 In Tazewell County, Virginia.
My mother used to talk to her siblings regularly on the telephone. When I was a kid, I’d wake up on Saturday mornings to the sound of her laughter coming from the kitchen as she talked to one of them on the phone.
Mom was one of six children. She died in 2006 and she had a brother, Jack, who died in 1980. The remaining four live in Southwestern Virginia and Tennessee. I had planned to make a trip this weekend down to see all of them – but Winter Storm Remus had other plans for us so I’m having to postpone it until later this spring.
I called my Aunt Patti to check on the weather conditions there before deciding to postpone the trip and we ended up talking for almost an hour and a half. It was wonderful to catch up.
Dear Aunt Patti
Just a note to tell you how much I enjoyed talking with you tonight. With email and Facebook – sometimes we forgo picking up the telephone (and actually dialing instead of texting!) because we feel that we know what is going on in a person’s life, we see all their status updates on social media so we think we’re up to date and don’t need to know more. Well, what that leaves out is knowing how the person is truly feeling, not just what they are broadcasting to the online world, hearing the joy or uncontrollable laughter…and the tremors of fear and pain that can be masked by lifeless letters typed on a screen.
The only person I really have long phone calls with anymore is Dad and occasionally Aunt Sue. Before Mom died Dad would always get on the phone – but he wasn’t much of one to chat on the phone back then. Things have changed. I think he’s lonely now and as a result is much more prone to longer conversations that go beyond, “Hey kiddo – everything ok with you?”
I’ve made a commitment to write more letters this year – Mom used to write me regularly. I miss it – I miss seeing her handwriting. He voice, southern accent and all, could be heard in every stroke of the pen. In addition to my letter-writing, I hope to call loved ones more often. I look forward to calling you and hearing your voice more often.
Thank you again for taking time to talk with me tonight. It made my day – hell it made my whole week! I’m sorry I won’t get down to see you this weekend – but anytime the National Weather Service names the storm that is coming through I’m betting it’s going to be a doozy! Stay warm and safe.
Posted in Just because
Tagged calls, dad, family, handwriting, handwritten, letter-writing, letters, mom, paper, phone, stationery, Tazewell County, technology, telephone, tradition, Uni-Ball 0.7mm Jetstream, VA, Year of Letters
Today I’m sharing a letter my father wrote me this week. It’s these kind of letters you keep forever.
I love you Dad!
photo: Jerry Sandridge
Your Day 34 letter moved me greatly. Those 41 words that Steve Carell wrote could have just as easily come out of your mouth. Your Mom sent you many handwritten letters and I know how much you miss them. I’ve never been much for writing letters. I’ll try to do better, but they won’t be the same — they won’t have that beautiful, flowing penmanship that she had. They won’t have those quaint phrases that you and your brother loved so much. And I doubt if I can match her upbeat spirit. But hey … it’s a start.
Posted in Sunday Letters
Tagged dad, family, father, handwriting, handwritten, love, mom, penmanship, son, Steve Carell, Year of Letters