Sunday, December 03, 2006

Not Husband, Brother or Cousin

We went and got our Christmas tree today. Jeanine stayed and worked on cookies. Allan worked on his doctorate. Walter and I took the kids to Mahoney's.

Jeanine cooked a pork roast, glazed carrots, potatoes. Three kinds of cookies have been made, placed in the freezer. In total, she will make 2500 cookies, twelve different kinds- at least- and ship them to Iowa, New York, Florida, Connecticut. The boys and I hand deliver the goods locally.

Years ago, I met Walter because he worked on gardens. Beautiful gardens. Lately, we've been trying to figure out how it works. He creates beauty at my house. It's his children's house. His house. Our house.

I wrote him a letter.

"I'm sitting here in my office, listening to you talk to Jake and Zach and Ben upstairs. Nghttime routine. Quiet. You are a wonderful father. Do you know that?

They love you so much.

Today, we went together and installed a client's window box. Okay, you were on the ladder, you were straddling the roof... not me. You created something beautiful. I climbed up and down delivering the next batch of greens.

Have I mentioned I'm terrified of heights? My knees were a little wobbly the first few times up and down. It was good for me. By the end, I was climbing, trusting my balance. But then, you are good for me in so many ways.

Walter, you asked me about billing and your struggle around it. Do you charge me? what? What makes sense? I said, charge me like any client.

Today, I realized, I'm not any client.

It's a family business. When you need help, I'll drop whatever and go out and do the work.

I'd do anything for you. I know you'd do anything for me.

I love the work- not 24/7 mind you- but every once in a while, it's a treat for me.

I'll always be here to help, whenever.

You're my family. Not just a friend, not just a pal. You're my family.

I'll always be here.

It's a beautiful tree, Walter.

It'll all go back into the family pot. Keeps us honest.

The IRS at bay.

We're in this together for the rest of our lives.

Not husband, not brother, not cousin. You are... Walter.

I love you."


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