For Bill Quill from Louisville

Dear Bill,

I know you know how much I love the way your name rhymes with itself and with your city.  Evelyn said you looked for a posts through the winter and didn’t find as many as you wanted.  There were a few, Bill!  But here is another, for you and for everyone.  It is worked in like whip-stictches among the different little tasks of my morning, and so it will be short, and maybe disjointed, but no less well meant for that.

What can I tell you?

Winter has ended, or almost, anyway.

It’s cool but sunny this morning.  The raisin and the molasses cookies–Great Grandma Daisy Butcher’s molasses cookies–have just come out of the oven, and the smell–  The smell, the smell.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, vanilla.  It’s the smell of my childhood in some ways, as well as of most of my adult life.  It’s the smell of morning, of work, of hope, sometimes of exhaustion, but no matter how tired I am, it always lifts my spirits or at least consoles them.

It rained hard yesterday in the evening and I sat for a little more than one full minute–I tracked the sweep of the second hand on the old RC clock–and watched the trees lash and bounce while Laura sat at the table with me looking something up on the computer.  A pizza was baking.  It needed that minute and so did I.  It was a peaceful moment, a tiny one, a good one.

I’ve been feeling reflective about the joys and griefs of life, this week.  A man was laid to rest too young yesterday.  I remember a game of euchre we played, laughing across the table.  A snowshoe walk along the edge of Sable Lake.  A baby two days old, tiny and wearing a knit cap too large for him, offered down to me in a chair I couldn’t get up from that particular winter.  Such love and pride.  How must those closest to him feel?  I can imagine a little. And yet this honor of grieving is what is offered all of us, if we will truly love, and live.

You know about that.

IVY BLAKE comes out in just ten days now.  I’m proud of her.  She’s a toughie, a toughie with a tender heart.  An optimist in the face of not-optimal conditions.  Like a parent I hope the world will treat her kindly and also know I can’t control what the world does.  She’s become acquainted with so many people already.   The curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections at the University of Minnesota, for one.  She wrote and told me Ivy was featured at the librarian’s conference at Book Expo America in NYC this last week.

Isn’t that something, I thought.  Ivy gave me a little wave, grinning.

I hope you are well, Bill.  I hope everyone is well.

More soon, or soonish, anyway–

Ellen

Category: Life | Tags: , , 8 comments »

8 Responses to “For Bill Quill from Louisville”

  1. Sheri Vail

    There you go again, making me hungry for one of Grandma Daisy’ s cookies! One day when I have time I will appear at the diner hoping they are in the oven. I look forward to meeting Ivy.

  2. Rene Adkins

    Wish I was in Grand Marais today. I’d stop in for some cookies and milk ! Just ordered Ivy Blake and can’t wait to meet her. Have both of your other books and really loved reading South of Superior and putting real faces on some of the characters. We spent lots of time in Grand Marais as kids. It was my Dads home town. Will surely stop in to meet you when we get up that way again

  3. Lynn Emerick

    A sweet, sad post….the risks we take when we love and how bleak life would be without that, for however long we are allowed to have it. It’s always good to hear from and about you. Such a special time…waiting for Ivy.

  4. Julia Clayton

    Ivy Blake “made” the Mini Page” in today’s newspaper!
    I was thrilled to see her~

  5. Gail Sobecki

    I’m looking forward to reading your new book–loved both of the other ones. Maybe someday I’ll get back to Grand Marais–that trip and one to Disney World with my grandson were the last two trips my husband and I made before he passed away last Fall. I find myself reflecting a lot lately and realizing what it means when someone says that we need to live each day as though it were our last. Hugs to you.

  6. Bill Quill from Louisville

    Ellen, beautifully written as are all of your missives. Love the way you pull memories to blend with the present. I am honored(and pleased) that you have addressed this humble servant. You do realize that this will drive Gary Michaels crazy. I am aware of your connection through Jenna to the deceased and feel your words will be comforting to her and to his family as well. I have always felt that losing people we know directly, or even through identifying with, diminishes us. Love, and I can’t wait for Ivy!!!

  7. ellenair

    Bill, Thank you for your kind words–thanks to everyone for kind words. And Gary, if you’re reading this, remember that your name doesn’t rhyme. xo to all, Ellen

  8. Bill Quill fro Louisville

    Cant believe i put an s on Gary Michael’s last name. Apologies Gary. Always heard people say write what you want about me just spell my name correctly!


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