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Silver Threads: Making a letter, checking it twice

Bettye Anding

Bettye Anding

Folks, it’s time to write those annual Christmas letters. You know, the ones detailing your visits to exotic spots and your grandchildren’s triumphs in the classroom and on the football field. If you’ve gotten a divorce, you’ll be chronicling your exciting new dating life; if your business has gone bust, you’d best report on the many interesting people you’re meeting at your new job behind the checkout counter.

It’s okay to write about your ailments if you’re over 70, but keep it upbeat, please. Here’s my own report for 2014:

January - Sure was cold here; I emailed friends in Chicago and Minnesota that I was freezing and got two snippy replies, ha-ha-ha. But they made me feel better about the weather here. The central heating went out, and it took the guys we called five visits to fix it. They sure are wonderful fellows — we enjoyed chatting so frequently with them. Paid my first visit to the orthopedist to get cortisone for my hips. Nearly screamed when he stuck me, ha-ha-ha.

February - Went to another doctor for my macular degeneration; he sure is an interesting fellow, very popular. But I only had to wait two and a half hours to see him. Ran into one of my former editors in the waiting room and he was telling me how glad they’d have been if I’d waited later to retire. Maybe the paper would even be coming out seven days a week.

March - I didn’t get invited to the Rex or Comus balls, but saw the fabulous Thoth parade in which our handsome son-in-law rides courtesy of his boss, who thinks he’s wonderful. I’d have shared some shots on Facebook, but forgot to take my phone. Ha-ha-ha. Went to Costa Rica where we stayed at these great hotels with winding steps to rooms that go up and down the hillsides, so Bobby stayed in bed the last two days of the trip. He read two really good books though.

April - Our friend arrived from Chattanooga! Nobody had to go to the doctor the whole week he was here. We had our annual Good Friday crawfish boil for our big family. Our talented and capable grandsons cooked the crustaceans and they were delicious! The boys left some of their equipment in the driveway and I fell over it in the dark and bruised both shins. Ha-ha-ha.

May - Went to Vancouver, Wash., to visit my sister and got to see two of her grandchildren. The girl is beautiful and so charming; the boy is a talented rascal who stole my heart. Then I met Bobby in San Jose, Calif., to stay awhile with his brother and sister-law. Didn’t realize it was Memorial Day weekend. Sat in traffic for most of the time. Got a lot of good talking done on the way to San Francisco, where their son is working on one of his law firm’s biggest cases in years.

June, July, August - HOT, HOT, HOT. Mostly stayed at home watching our new really huge television in the air-conditioning until it went out. The AC, not the TV. But we got to talk to those nice guys again, and they fixed it in one visit this time! We heard from Jack, our youngest grandson, who’s at a two-week creative writing workshop at Kenyon College in Ohio. I hope I’m around to read his first book!

September - Went to the orthopedist again. Cortisone is miraculous, isn’t it? I could do a ballet.

October - Flew through Atlanta on our way to Chattanooga for our friend’s granddaughter’s wedding. Almost missed the connection, ha-ha-ha! The Atlanta airport is so big and wonderful. Had to run all the way through the last terminal after we got off the train. I was carrying one bag and pulling another and thought I was having a heart attack. Wasn’t though, and made it on time. The wedding was an extravaganza; more bridesmaids than I’ve ever seen. Our older grandson, Roke, is photographing the celebs in the boxes at Saints’ games again this year. Even though the team isn’t doing well, he is.

November - Our California relatives were here, and my brother-in-law helped me set up my new computer. He’s so sharp, a technological genius. He designed microchips in Silicon Valley you know. His wife, Susan, keeps three riding horses at a stable near their house on the Santa Clara ridge. We had Thanksgiving dinner at our daughter’s this year. She’s a superb cook — made gumbo out of the turkey leavings and brought it down to us the next day.

December - Had company, old friends from Mississippi. Now that they’ve gone home I think I’ll begin Christmas shopping. I just love the mall at this time of year, don’t you? Ha-ha-ha.

Bettye Anding is a former editor of the Living section of The Times Picayune, for which she wrote “Silver Threads” until her retirement. Email comments to her at [email protected]