I just took this with my iPhone, and realized that A) you can see me reflected in the door, and B) you can get a glimpse of Alfie looking out through the door, wondering what the heck I am doing.
What I was doing was recording the annual fall spectacle of my coleus (thank you, White Flower Farm) at its so-magnificent height that the mailman has trouble getting to the mail slot (there is a second equally huge coleus on the other side of the door). One morning soon, though, it will all have frozen, shriveled, and died.
Tomorrow morning, after getting a flu shot, I will head to the airport and then to Washington DC for the annual National Book Festival. Two busy days there, and one in Baltimore. Then, amazingly, two weeks at home---and maybe I can get some neglected work done?!---before my next gig, this one in Providence, RI.
As a result of this blog, I just had an email from a childhood friend (Hi, Carol, if you are reading this) whom I last saw in probably 1952. Technology has made the world so much smaller and accessible (well, duh, could I please come up with some keener insight than that!?) and over the years I have heard from friends with whom I went to school in Tokyo (ages 11-14), Pennsylvania (ages 6-11, and 14-15), and New York (ages 15-17), not to mention college and young motherhood, all the rest of it. Once I heard from the grandchild of someone who had babysat for my children! It took me a while to wrap my mind around that one!
Most meaningful have been the emails from the young men who worked with, or had been trained by, my son, who died at age 36, and who have written to tell me their memories of him and what he had meant to them. I always send those along, after I answer them, to my son's widow and daughter. (It sounds oddly sexist to say "young men" because I know there are female fighter pilots in the USAF, and perhaps he instructed some, or flew with some.. But it has been only men that I've heard from).
I've heard, too, from people who were pictured, or mentioned, in my memoir "Looking Back." The little boy who loaned me his football uniform for Halloween when I was eight, or so---now a retired Lutheran minister. The little girl whom my father always called "Fancy Nickel"---now a doctor's wife in Pennsylvania.
Incidentally, I would love to hear, with an abject apology, from a boy named Allen Stewart who lived on 87th Street in Brooklyn in 1941, and who borrowed my copy of "Mr. Popper's Penguins" when I was four years old. AND NEVER RETURNED IT.