|Laurita Miller - bundled up because baby, it's cold outside.|
I was having a bad day. In the throes of getting a chest cold, exhausted from a four hour car ride and a weekend of winter camping, emotional because I was picking on that lovely husband of mine, for absolutely no reason, I wasn't in the best of shape, to be sure. Then I opened up my laptop and saw I had a letter from a friend.
I opened it eagerly and didn't even read it all the way through before I started sobbing like an idjit. The idea of Laurita Miller, visiting her beloved homestead, was so beautiful, so simple and yet so vivid, that I was overcome.
We had the best day imaginable. Alan and Laurita are truly good people. The best – and I don't say that lightly. You just don't meet up with folks like them often. When you do, you realize what treasures they are, and how lucky you are to have come across them.
Laurita is thoughtfully intelligent, funny and sassy, warm and generous. She shaved her head to raise money to fight cancer. She is deeply involved in her children's lives. She loves her husband fiercely, like she married him yesterday. Family, I think, is more than just a word to Laurita. It's everything, as important to her as breathing. I'm just guessing, when I say that – I know, pretty presumptuous. But I do believe it's true.
Laurita lives in a suburban environment near St. John's, the capital of Newfoundland, but she was raised in the countryside, next to the ocean, and salt and honest Newfoundland spirit runs thick in her veins.
My father was a railroad engineer and we moved several times in my young life, to the point that I don't really know where my hometown is. I don't feel any kinship to any particular place. Laurita knows exactly where she's from. And when she writes about it, my heart sings.
Laurita Miller is one of the finest writers I know. Her blog, Calling Shotgun, is one of my favourite haunts. Some day, mark my words, she will be famous. I can hardly wait to say I knew her when.
I am so honoured to share her letter with you.
I hope this letter finds you well and making fantastic progress on that novel of yours. I can’t wait to read what you’ve done.
Things are quieting down here after the holidays. The kids are back to school and I think I’ve finally managed to eradicate all the glitter from the house. That stuff gets everywhere.
I hopped in my car today, taking advantage of the lull, to go check on my old homestead. After all the craziness, I needed the break. I love the drive, though it takes over an hour to get here. It’s relaxing to travel a road that’s so familiar.
The first thing I did was take a walk around the house, through the garden and the woods, checked the barn and filled all the birdfeeders. The pond was well frozen and, once I made sure no one was watching, I had a little slide around. I ended up on my behind more than once, so I’m glad there was no one to see.
It was one of those damp days, where the cold just seeps into your bones, so I lit the fireplace as soon as I went inside. The wind was up by then, and from the window I could see the whitecaps on the water. White horses on the harbour, my grandfather would call them. I always loved that saying. Newfoundland is a bleak place in the winter, but I think it might just be my favourite time. Sitting there, warm in my old home, looking out at the wind and water – can you think of a better way to spend some quiet time?
There’s also something very comforting about sleeping in my old room. I loved waking up in that room, to the sound of the birds in the trees outside, the boats in the harbour, and that stupid, clumsy seagull who would land on the roof – whump – and then run the whole length of the house – thump, thump, thump, thump.
Tonight I’ll walk down the harbour and visit my aunt and my grandfather, sit in that nice warm kitchen for a cup of tea and a chat. Then tomorrow I’ll head back over that familiar road to my house in Chaos Town. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but I start to miss the madness after a bit.
I hope you come visit me again someday. I would love to take you to all these places, but maybe in the summer when the temperatures and landscape are a little more friendly.
Take care, my friend. I look forward to chatting again soon. Give my best to all your boys.