Dear Ted and Jody:
Your Christmas Card arrived yesterday. Thank you. I will indeed find something special for Nancy.
Three weeks ago, we got a letter from our cable/telephone/internet provider telling us that there was a problem with our cable router box that would cause a degradation of service if it were not replaced. They further informed us that they were sending us a replacement for free in the next 7 to 10 business days; and we were to activate the new equipment by 1/17/17. Since the equipment had not arrived I called the provider Friday to tell them their 7 to 10-day shipment had not arrived in three weeks. The fellow I talked to, after much delay as I provided him with all the information he seemed to need to find us in their computer system (the account number apparently was not sufficient) finally told us that we already have the new equipment installed some months ago, and the letter was sent to all customers regardless of their equipment status. Strange business practice. None-the-less, yesterday, a Saturday, the new equipment arrived via UPS. Go figure.
While I have a scheduled grocery shopping excursion after my massage this morning, we were running dangerously low on, of all things, distilled water for the humidifier. So, I made a run into Toutle yesterday to get a gallon of distilled water until I could get several on my shopping trip today. On the way back, I made a quarter mile detour to Silver Lake where I saw a lone Great Blue Heron sitting on the ice, watching it intently. I do hope he/she has already cut a fishing hole.
We made pulled pork sandwiches last night which involves special buns with Swiss cheese heated onto them and some kind of strange sour kraut with a use by date three centuries from now. Now, I stress we, as Nancy largely supervised the “operation.” All I can say about the “exercise” is that a woman who cannot bend over, cannot carry or hold things, using a walker in the kitchen as someone else handles the hot items is a less than optimal participant for making pulled pork sandwiches.
Stay inside and warm in the Arctic air that the weather people report has you in its grips.
Warmest regards, Ed
Six Amandas 12th in the Amanda Saga
Fiction in 1169 words by T. Edward Westen, 2016
Edith Gunderson stopped in her tracks. The security guard, ’What was his name?’, was pointing at her. A young man with a badge saying he has questions, ‘What in the world is going on.’ She gathered her composer to muscle past to the sanctity of her office. “Speak to my attorney, young man.”
Jeremy Eastman called after her. “Yes, Mam, what is his name?”
Edith Gunderson was at the turnstile. The guard had not released it yet. “Whose name?”
Jeremy Eastman, “Your attorney’s name?”
Edith Gunderson continued to push on the turnstile. “Franklin Belemany.” Still frustrated the guard’s name came to mind “Hit the release Joe.”
Joe, replied “Yes’em, but he is only a student here on a school project.”
Edith Gunderson froze. She was silent for a minute with Joe and the kid with the id staring at her. “A student? School project? There are always so many relatives trying to get . . . Well, I can talk to a student about a school project. Come along young man. Joe?”
Joe, the security guard, hit the release button and Edith Gunderson had to keep from falling. She nodded to Joe.
Jeremy Eastman interjected “Jeremy Eastman, Mam, Jeremy.”
Edith had fully regained her composure at this point. “Come along to my office, Jeremy, ah, Mr. Eastman.”
Brice Clarkton was fascinated
With Mrs. Anderson. There was no doubt in his mind that she was from the same cookie cutter that produced his wife, Mrs. White and Mrs. Hastings. A statistician by training, Brice Clarkton often thought in statistical terms. ‘No variance in that gene pool. I wonder what contribution the men they married made; for, it did not look like any variance in the female offspring. But then I am looking at one line, surely there is variation in other offspring. It would . . .”
Mrs. Anderson interrupted his chain of thought, “You are staring, you know.”
“I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you said, my mind was . . . “but Brice Clarkton was interrupted.
Mrs. Anderson, “I said you were staring. And I suspect your mind was wondering how four women all could bear such a strong resemblance.”
“Strong resemblance is an understatement,” Brice observed. Other than being different ages, all four of you are identical from what I can see.”
“Indeed, we are identical.” Replied Mrs. Anderson. “You see, we are the same person at different ages.”
“But, you are all here, in this time together?” Said Brice Clarkton. “How is this possible?”
“I don’t know, to give you the short answer.” Replied Mrs. Anderson. “I’m 84. Mrs Hastings is 64, Mrs. White is 44, your Amanda is 24, Mandy is 4.”
Mrs. Anderson hesitated for a moment and Brice Clarkton realized she would say more if he stayed quiet. He did.
Finally, Mrs. Anderson spoke. “All six of us remember sitting on Santa’s lap on our fourth birthday asking him for a father. All four of us remember swinging later in the day and our mother being gone for a few minutes, except your Amanda and Mandy. Your Amanda lost her mother for 20 years. Mandy only lost her mother for an hour or so. The rest of us only a lost mom for a few minutes. All of us, except your Amanda got fathers that Christmas Eve.”
Mrs. Anderson fell silent. Brice could not stay quiet. “you said six of you.”
Mrs. Anderson replied “Yes, I forgot, you do not know about Mrs. Smithers. She is the oldest at 104. She always takes a voyage this time of year in the Caribbean. She says, she can’t stand the drama of Christmas Eve any longer, not knowing if she will pop up again. She knows it only happened every fifth leap year, so the other voyages are unnecessary or as I would suspect for fun. Besides, we send her a wire, or just call now, when Mandy shows up.”
“But if you are the same person, why don’t you know what your older self thinks?” Asked Brice.
Mrs. Anderson smiled. “Do you know what you’re older self thinks”
“No. But I am not older yet.” Brice replied.
When Mrs. Anderson stopped laughing, she put her hand on Brice’s arm and said, “Dear Boy, in this body neither am I.”
Brice Clarkton still had questions. “So, do you know what your younger self thinks at any given time? Say my wife. Do you know what she is thinking?”
Mrs. Anderson looked at Brice quizzically “No matter how old I am I have the same memory of being four years old. Getting a father was a very memorable event. I am always a bit fuzzy before that. I doubt you have more than a few memories before 5 yourself.”
Brice Clarkton started to interrupt, “Yes, but . . .”
Mrs. Anderson held up her hand to signal him to stop talking, “After I met father my life always took a different path. Except when your Amanda filed to meet her father because Edith Gunderson put Mrs. White in jail and her in an orphanage. Since every path is different, how could I remember things I wasn’t part of. So, no, I can only guess what your wife is thinking. Just as you can guess what she is thinking. And, you know what, we would both be wrong.”
The interview was not going well
for Edith Gunderson. “I still don’t see what a 20-year-old case has to do with a school project.” She said.
Jeremy Eastman patiently explained again “I was in the arraignment court yesterday when a woman, Mrs. Amanda White, appeared and was released. She had appeared in that very same court twenty years’ prior for the same charge. Only this time she was arrested as Mrs. Amanda Clarkton. In both cases, you were the complainant cited on the paperwork for the arrest warrant.”
“OK, let me make some notes and check the files and get back to you. I have a busy day and this is not current work so it will have to wait until later.” Said, Edith Gunderson. Now, if you don’t mind, it is time for you to leave so I can do the people’s work.”
Jeremy Eastman, pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Edith Gunderson. “What’s this?” she asked without looking at it.
Jeremy Eastman smiled “It is how to get back to me.” And with that he left Edith Gunderson’s office.
Edith Gunderson waited several minutes after Jeremy Eastman left before going to her door to check that he indeed had left the outer office. Her secretary looked up. Edith gave her a backhanded wave, shut her door and returned to her desk, sat down, picked up the phone and dialed a number.
After three rings a voice mail prompt told Edith to leave a message after the three beeps. “This is Edith. A kid in a journalism class is looking into the White case. I’ll be here after Three this afternoon.” She hung up