Dear Clarence, Who Art in Heaven

It’s been a month since I’ve written a blog post. And in case you didn’t know it yet, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. You’d laugh if you could see me heading into Walmart or the Co-op. I adjust my mask…yes, I said mask…looking like I’m about to rob the place. This is the new normal here in 2020. 

When I go inside a store, I say hello to random people in case I know them. It’s very hard to tell. We’ve been isolating from each other since March. Happily, summer finally came along and saved us all. It’s been thrilling just working in the yard and kayaking every day. Remember last summer, when I thought you were the dragon fly I saved from the water? I didn’t know for sure. But you’ll be glad to know I’ve been a little less nutty this year. I think.

Our daughter Michelle got married on August 15th. Thankfully, you met her fiancé, John. The day was lovely in every way, but small because of the whole Covid 19 thing. The wedding party was large: six bridesmaids, six groomsmen, but the guest list was tiny. Just family, with a couple extra people. I performed the ceremony and you’ll be relieved to know I stayed dry eyed. I’m not sure how I did it, and I worried about sobbing through my Welcome to the Family speech, later. Fortunately John’s best man Dave cried during the wedding, and this saved me. I felt completely calm speaking because I mentioned his teary face about five times. 

John’s parents, Gerry and Pat, offered their back yard for the celebration. They’d worked so hard on it, and it was stunning… like something out of a movie. Think Meet Joe Black, but on a smaller scale and nobody dying at the end. (Not even of covid… we’re all okay!)

Michelle placed one of your Hawaiian shirts on a chair during the ceremony. After it was over,  everyone toasted you with a tot of Irish whiskey while John, his parents and our family sang The Wild Rover. I might have cried a bit during that part. It felt like you were there.

I’ve had vertigo again this summer, and not the light kind, either. It’s the tougher variety, where I lift my head to look at the sky and the earth tilts. I had to paint the pillars in front of our house, they were long overdue. I stood on the ladder, weaving like a drunken sailor and gripping an overhead nail to steady myself. I also, ahem, cleaned the front eavestroughs, which used to seem so scary. There were three small trees growing inside them. All maples. They’re gone now, and the water definitely flows better.

Because of the vertigo I didn’t have a drink until after Michelle’s wedding. During supper I had some wine, which might be why I mentioned Dave in my speech, referencing his sweet tearstained face. I talked to him about it later. He didn’t seem to mind. Some of the bridesmaids were tearing up, too. Just more quietly. (Sorry again, Dave.) 

Fall is definitely here, but friends and neighbors are all still out and about, boating and doing yardwork. But as they say in Game of Thrones, winter is coming. Fortunately, Michelle is already married, so there’ll be no Red Wedding. (Another G.O.T. reference. I can’t help myself.) 

Our former neighbors Rick and Pat paddled with me onto one of the many lakes around Flin Flon and together, we scattered your ashes. It was time. We sipped Amaretto from tiny plastic bridal shower glasses, told stories about you and sang the Hockey song in memory of all the things we used to do together. You’d love the location. I plan on joining you there someday.

So, that’s me, done for now. I’ll catch you up again someday, but I want you to know that in spite of this strange pandemic down here on Earth, I’m living the best life I can. And I love you forever, honey. I’ll see you in my dreams. Now here’s a few photos of of my summer life.

Published by Judith Pettersen

Judith Pettersen is an author living in Canada. She blogs about her life in the north and the ups and downs of being a writer.

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