The Colonel’s Plan – The Pre-Christmas Break

November 29, 2017

Dear Daddy—

The Chocolate House in 2015

I’m going to stop writing for a while, and go back and read what I’ve written. I’m not sure what all I’ve talked about, and I need to take stock. There’s so much ground I need to cover, it’s hard to hold it all in my head. I guess that’s the point of putting it in writing.

Did I talk about the plumber’s first visit, or the day I realized you had not actually run any supply lines through the house? Did I talk about cleaning out your rented storage space? I know I talked a little about how we came to move in here, but did I tell the whole story? How many rooms have I touched on?

Today I had to make a short business trip to Manchester, an hour away, to see George Grimm. You should remember George. He spoke at your funeral—or rather your viewing. Is it a viewing when the body is cremated? Anyway, George spoke at your viewing in Maryland, before we took your ashes to North Carolina to be buried on the hill overlooking Bolens Creek. You wouldn’t remember him for that, obviously—unless you were eavesdropping post mortem, and I wouldn’t put it past you. George went to our church when I was little. I went to school and got into trouble with his son, Joe. When I went to work for the Fire Department, I learned he was the Chaplain. He’s also the team coordinator for Critical Incident Stress intervention teams the world over. He got me started working with the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, sometime back around 2001. We still work together for both that Foundation and the Fire Department. If I’m not mistaken, George is turning 84 this month, but he’s still working hard.

He lives near Westminster, and Westminster has an amazing antique mall. I stopped there on my way back home, just because I felt like doing something other than working for a change. I found two glasses—old peanut butter jars, they said—with flowers on them, a cornflower and a poppy. We had had those glasses once, in the Chocolate House, in North Carolina. Another house you designed, and built, and didn’t finish. It’s sat un-lived in, except when we visit, since about 1954. It’s been broken into twice. The first time, the kids who broke in smashed those glasses. I bought them for Mother.

Healing old wounds can be a good thing to do. So can healing recent ones. I guess that’s what all this writing is about. I hope you won’t mind if I take a break. I won’t be writing, but, well, I’m always thinking about you.

I wonder if you know that?



I did take a break after this entry. I did not write again for the rest of the year, save for a Christmas letter, which was published on this blog already. But I shall resume next week with my first letter of 2018. 


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