Good Morning Ted and Jody:
If I were to look back on the letters I have send in the past couple of weeks, I am sure I would be appalled at the amount of time I have spent writing about the weather. I would be appalled for two reasons. First that so little happens in our daily lives that something like the weather would provide the major topic of change and conversation; and, second, that my imagination is so inactive that I can’t make up better stuff to write about like olive futures, goat’s milk soap, and politics. In the first case, I have found a source of petite, whole, green olives that seems to stay on the shelves no matter how many jars I purchase. I have found a source for homemade soap that features goat’s milk: https://winkos.wordpress.com/soaps-autumn-2016/
This is made by a fellow’s wife in Poland whom I know from blogging. They have a straw bale home and all the trimmings that go with it. So, for only a delay of a couple of weeks for the Polish and American postal systems to get it to me (it will be faster when the postal systems start deliveries by drone) I can have a wide variety of scented soaps instantly. In the area of domestic politics, the insanity continues with a pestilence elect bound and determined to be a knuckle head (at best, is there a cure for narcissism?). I’d write more about politics, but the tears would short out the keyboard and I’d probably get electrocuted and die. So, that leaves the weather.
Speaking of the weather, it was interesting and unusual to get up and do my blood work in the middle of the night and see the temperature was not in single digits. It was 15 and as I watched over the next several hours it climbed to 20 at daybreak. By Monday it should be in the 40s during the days and 30s at night—winter as it will mostly rain. Again, the forecasters have decided that we are too close to being out of the woods on the water pipes freezing at the meters, so they are throwing snow and freezing rain at us over the next 24 to 30 hours—with up to .75 inch of ice on things (You know what that does to power lines!). so, our vigilance continues. I suspect a large part of my attention to this mini-cold snap has to do with the lack of infrastructure here to handle it. For example, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced they would have used salt on the roads, but they didn’t order any.
I am attaching the next (31st) segment of the Amanda Saga. Nancy stayed up late last night finishing a book. She knocks a book off every few days. By contrast I am lucky to write 1,000 words a day. At that rate, she would be finished before I got 3,000 words written.
Warmest regards, Ed
031 Edith Gunderson and Jeremy Eastman Put Their Heads Together
Fiction in 1144 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
Jeremy Eastman turned to Edith Gunderson as they were leaving the squad room. “It was really neat to see all those old cars on the street. That vintage Ford Victoria the patrolman was driving.” Smiling with a look of awe on his face he continued. “Say, those were made the year before I was born.” Jeremy Eastman grew silent for a moment and then added. “I can’t believe I actually was going to interfere with history by helping her get up. It is a good thing Special Agent Fleishman stopped me”
As the two slowly descended the stairs toward Edith Gunderson’s office she said. “I suppose it is difficult not to intervene and do things when one is in Special Agent Fleishman’s shoes. He must see many injustices that just call out for action, yet, he obviously can’t change history. MY, my, he could set a chain of events started that could result in his not even being born.”
“Do you suppose that could happen by just watching?” Asked Jeremy. “I seem to recall from my philosophy of science course something called the observer effect in physics. There must be one when observing human beings.”
Edith Gunderson frowned and said, “I doubt that just watching can change what is being watched.”
”Probably not,” said Jeremy Eastman. “However, if you, say, stick a thermometer in a liquid to take a measurement of the liquid’s temperature, the thermometer has a temperature and when the thermometer’s temperature interacts with the temperature of the liquid it is attempting to measure, there is at least a very small impact on the temperature of the liquid being measured.”
“Surely that is not the same as a time traveler watching past events.” Said Edith Gunderson.
“Look at it from the point of view of the thermometer.” Said, Jeremy Eastman. “You ever make fudge?”
Edith Gunderson looked slightly confused. “Yes. Why? What does that have to do with anything?”
“Let’s say you are making fudge.” Said Jeremy Eastman. “You get it to boiling and put the candy thermometer in so you know when to take the fudge off the stove. But, if you look at the reading before you put it in you would see it was at or near room temperature. As soon as you put it in the stuff in the thermometer goes up in temperature. Well if the fudge can cause a temperature change in the thermometer, the thermometer must cause a slight change in the boiling fudge. Mind, it won’t be much of a change, but a change none-the-less.”
“That makes sense.” Replied Edith Gunderson. “But are you telling me that watching fudge cook can change its temperature.”
“Not watching changes the temperature, but measurement can.” Clarified Jeremy Eastman. “Then too, just by watching, a time traveler may undergo some changes. He, or she, is, after all, the measurement tool. So, what we watched today from 20 years ago changed us.”
Edith Gunderson shook her head affirmatively. “You got that right. I was ashamed of the role I played 20 years ago, when that poor woman was an innocent bystander. Yet, my blind efforts on behalf of a child she was going to take care of, cause her to spend 12 years in prison. That is simply wrong, I was wrong.”
“How could you know? You were misled by the Judge. If you can’t trust a judge who can you trust?” Asked Jeremy Eastman.
“I think I should have done my job regardless of what the Judge was telling me. I should have done a full-scale investigation. That is what I should have trusted, a real investigation.” Edith grew silent.
Jeremy Eastman was young. However, he had already learned when a person criticizes himself or herself, the best policy it to keep out of it. So, Jeremy Eastman stood quietly with Edith Gunderson at the bottom of the stairwell.”
Edith Gunderson looked up and around. “You know I made a list of cases for the detectives that the Judge helped with.” She pointed to her office door a few feet away. “If Mrs. White’s case was not the actual trigger, perhaps one of the other cases is.” She motioned with her hand. ”Come with me and we will take the time now to get to the bottom of what that evil man was up to.”
After four hours in her office,
Edith Gunderson and Jeremy Eastman had concluded that there was a pattern of the Judge using a flimsy basis for the decisions in all 24 cases they examined. As their review progressed, Edith Gunderson grew angrier and angrier at herself over being bamboozled by what she called ‘that evil man.’ While Mrs. White was the only person who actually went to prison, there were 23 orphans removed from potential adoptions and all but two remained in the foster care system until they reached 18-years-old.
“Well, I guess we need to track down what happened to the children who grew up and moved on.” Said Edith Gunderson.
At that moment, Millie, Edith Gunderson’s receptionist stuck her head in the door. “Ms. Gunderson, your 4 O’clock appointment is here.”
Edith Gunderson looked at her wrist watch, and then looked at Jeremey Eastman. “Ask, Millie to run off a copy of this list.” She looked at Millie. “You can show then in when Mr. Eastman leaves in a few moments.”
Jeremy Eastman said. “I can start to track down the children who left foster care while you are busy.”
Edith Gunderson nodded. “You could fill the detectives in on what we haven’t learned.” She said with a grimace. “Sometimes, negative findings betray things they cover up. This couple will take some time. I have your number and will call when I am free”
“Yes Mam.” Jeremy Eastman took his leave.
Arriving to an empty detective squad, Jeremy Eastman pulled out his notebook and dashed off some notes to Professor Sanders. ‘I wonder what he thinks about all of this. Besides, that is, that I am off my rocker.’ Jeremy Eastman laughed to himself. He noticed the squad room was beginning to fill with detectives. He looked at cell phone for the time and concluded ‘they are ending their shift by doing paper work.’
After a bit the room was empty again save for Jeremy Eastman and the desk sergeant who left his desk and approached Jeremy. “Can I help you?” Asked the sergeant.
“I was hoping to catch detectives Batan and Philipson before they left for the day.” Replied Jeremy.
“You should have said earlier.” Said the sergeant. “Are you Mr. Eastman?”
Jeremy nodded and said. “Yes.”
“They want you and Ms. Gunderson to join them in the Technical Section room 17.” Said the Sergeant.
“Thanks. If Ms. Gunderson shows will you please tell her too?” Asked Jeremy Eastman.
“You got it kid.” Said the sergeant returning to his desk.