I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

This morning, while I was watching the little kids so their parents could get out, I had a note from a friend: “I can picture you in a state of perpetual bliss surrounded by all of the grandkids.” Well, I am smiling a lot, that is true, and feel like I am on my best game again. I lost my edge when I didn’t have to be as organized as I was when seven of us lived here all of the time.  And then there was Covid, and caring for my dad. Years of quiet it seems– and actually it was.

But now? The beans are already soaking and the venison is thawing for tomorrow’s chili, and even though no one could say for sure what the schedule was for tonight when I inquired this morning I ordered take-and-bake pizzas from Mt. Market before noon so I’d be prepared in case they went to the high school basketball games. It was a good thing, since they just took two pizzas to Sarah’s house where they will do some yoga  (she is a yoga teacher) eat, and then head to the gym to support the Glacier Bears and see old friends and neighbors.

Anyway, I hope I have not indicated that it is perpetual bliss around here. There are plenty of challenging moments ( I mean, there are two two-year-olds) and the parents all have their own ways of managing and I’m staying out of it. I read my friend’s  message around ten this morning and it looked as if there had been an earthquake in the living room. He was here this summer and mixed fancy cocktails every evening. I replied that I could use a Bees Knees. Now.

It’s been the kind of day where I went from one thing to the next, and I don’t believe I have eaten more than a half a muffin, some old cheese, what was left of a mandarin orange, bits of graham crackers and three cups of coffee.

But we walked, as we always do– and Ella from Australia wrapped up tight– since the wind chills were skin freezing.

The men decided to use the short day to cut more firewood for next year. Scott Rossman dropped off a load of logs yesterday.

I did have a little victory with a busy Aussie boy who found today’s cold too daunting. Turns out Luca really likes my typewriter. He wrote a story about a man without a finger. He met Christian’s buddy Luck at Tikes and Trikes with his little boy. Luck lost his finger in  a construction accident. For years it was in the school science room in a jar. Christian had promised to show it to Luca and his brother, but Luck said that someone threw it away. This all made a big impression on young Luca, apparently. It could be a novel someday.

While my daughter, Ella and Beth and I we were walking, single-file into the wind on the narrow trail through the woods, Beth and I fell back as the girls marched ahead, and she asked me how I was doing with the grief, with this also being the season of Papa Bob’s death. It will be a year on Christmas Eve. I told her, and maybe I’m kidding myself, but if feels true, that I’m determined to appreciate every bit of this time, because I know how suddenly everything can change– I mean he ate his pie and drank his wine and took a nap on the couch as we cleared the table and never woke up. Because I know that, I am making the most of these days, nights, next few weeks, as none of us knows what tomorrow may bring.

Papa Bob drove me nuts because he never took off his shoes when he napped on the couch, and he napped a lot. His heels tore the slipcovers (on both sides of the couch and all the cushions, I kept switching them…) I swore that when he died I’d buy new ones, or even an entire sofa (this old one has survived five teenagers, a half-dozen dogs and a pack of grandbabies,parties, friends, happy and sad times too.). But– and yes, I know that this is a long way of answering Beth’s question– — But I chose to keep it just the way it is. Because this is our house and I like it this way.