Tuesday, March 24, 2009

for all the dignity, love, and suffering

Today is my dad's birthday. I so love this photo of him, so young and healthy and handsome, admiring his first two grandbabies (my Audrey is the tiny two-week-old on the left). That smile! The faded blue jeans! Ah, I was so excited to have such a young, fun grandpa for my kids.

But, since life has never pretended to be fair, he died 5 years ago this summer. An inoperable brain tumor. My mom asked us (his 7 kids) to write memories to share with each other, and I've had such a hard time with mine. I finally pushed out my 10 pages in 2 days last week. It's probably only for those of you who knew Greg Frandsen (10 pages!), but in honor of his 58th:

I think about this assignment every day, but have had a hard time coming up with an overarching narrative that would be appropriate to its scope. When Daddy died, one of the things that I chose to keep was his travel shaving kit, an battered old brown leather zipper bag with white topstitching. It was his grandfather’s, one of the things Daddy chose to keep after he (Burgess Lyman Frandsen) died when I was six. It hadn’t been used for some time (not much travel going on at the end of his life), but hadn’t been fully cleaned out, and I like to get it out every few months and look through what was in it. Because I took the contents, too, all things I remember seeing there when I pulled it out to borrow his tweezers or nail clippers. The list:
• A blue plastic bottle, 3.5 oz., of aqua Velva Ice Sport Aftershave. About ¼” left (Dad usually used Mennen, so it doesn’t smell like him, but this was handily travel-sized).
• A navy blue plastic disposable razor. He’d try other kinds on occasion (hated electric shavers), but always returned to the disposables. When they were too dull for his face, he’d store them in the hidden part of the shelves behind the master bathroom mirror for my mom to use on her legs.
• 2” x 1 ½” Bayer plastic case. Contains one aspirin and 12 Claritin tablets. Dad was so happy when Claritin came along.
• An empty, clear round “pocket pill caddy.” He had to take so much more medicine during his cancer days than he ever wanted.
• A blue “pocket pill caddy.” 4 more Claritin tablets.
• A foil bubble packet with 2 blue Allerest tablets.
• 2 black ballpoint (Bic) pens: one Marriott, one Sheraton Denver West. Dad travelled a lot for work, and always took the motel freebies. We had a whole deep bathroom drawer full of little shampoos and tiny soaps I loved to take and play with. “You pay for them whether you take them or not.”
• A white plastic toothbrush protector (without toothbrush)
• A little 4” toothbrush-in-a-tube, with a bitty (0.5g Pepsodent tube). He loved these, gleaned in foreign hotels.
• 1 Revlon nail clipper
• 1 bottle of Kanka. Dad always had trouble with canker sores, especially after an accidental brush with walnuts.
• Scissor-style tweezers. Daddy was always very carefully groomed, despite scorning vanity and too much bathroom mirror time (ah, the hour-and-a-half hair I had in the 80s!).
• 1 safety pin. 1 ¼”. Silver.
• 2 pair earplugs: yellow cylinders & orange bullets. Always such a light sleeper, he couldn’t sleep unless everyone else in the house was in bed and asleep. So our curfews were what you’d expect, and our bedtime strict.
• 1 red plastic sewing kit from the Bali Hi Motel in Richland, Washington.
• 1 small vial of consecrated olive oil. Nathan borrows it when he gives blessings. I grumpily begrudge him access, and don’t tell him where I keep it. Unless the blessing is for our children.
• I also keep three polyester ties in the case that I remember Dad wearing: one a 70s striped wide glory, and two bought from the street vendors in Washington, D.C. that he loved to frequent for their great deals.
That list of objects conjures up a familiar man for me. I think my memories must come out listed, too: a list that will help conjure the man for my own children. My heart physically aches whenever I remember that they don’t know him. Often, I am still surprised I cannot call.
My adoration: In 1st grade, my puzzled teacher asked my parents at Parent-Teacher Conferences if I had changed my name. I determinedly wrote on the top right corner of each page of schoolwork: “Valerie Grega Frandsen.” Dad and I spent a lot of our last 5 years together apologizing. Dad: “I know I made a lot of mistakes raising you in the early days. You didn’t come with an instruction manual! But Donna and I did our best and we just loved you so much.” Me: “I didn’t realize how hard this was. I understand you a lot better now.” Repeat. We loved each other very much, Greg and Grega.
I often thought Dad was kind of sad that I wasn’t a boy because he loved scouting and those male-only things so much, and was so excited when darling Devn came along. I wrote this fairly bad poem about it when I was on my mission (I had a poet companion, forgive me!), and coming to terms with our relationship and all that. I’m embarrassed by it, but I will include it because of his response:
VALERIE GREGA FRANDSEN
When I was a little girl,
I think Daddy wanted a son—
A scout.
But I demanded dolls
And had more a penchant for flowers
Than hammers and knots—manly things.

As I grew older (years? Seconds?)
He learned to love blonde curls
And lace
Because he was loved back
By a miniature him, feminized.

Nature or nurture, this daughter is her daddy.
Ups and downs? We rollercoasted.
“Time heals all wounds” is cliché, but
Love heals
And so does distance
And especially missions
So—four sons later—I think Daddy doesn’t regret his daughters.

His reply was, to my delighted surprise, also a poem. And rather better written than my own:
My greatest dream was to marry and have cute kids
With threats of Soviet invasion and civil defense
Perhaps, no
But precious time was granted
First a lovely bride, then expecting
For some reason, Heavenly Father said, “Wait.”

A few months seemed like for ever
Then the glorious moment, leaving church
A daughter
That moment cannot be equaled, dream fulfilled
Never more blessed, never richer
My own, my baby girl, my treasure

A little blonde girl captures heart and soul
Kisses and cuddles and laughs
Daddy’s girl
Joy; tight, tight hugs around the neck
Felt bad for those with boys
Pig tails out of ball cap is so much better

My world now revolved around her
To teach, to nurture, to rock-a-bye
My little princess
So much the same, it’s worrisome
Yet, the finest form of flattery
The strength of character, the moist eye

Oh, hope of hopes: please, another little girl
For Vali from Dad
April 1996

Bad words: When I lived at home, Daddy was scrupulous about language. Frandsens shall not swear. This insistence even extended to the scriptures. When we read in family scripture study, the devil was “thrust down to heck” and the wicked risked “darnation to their souls”. Also, Balaam spoke to a donkey. Not an ass. Always. I hated this when I was a teenager, and would shock the youngers by plowing through with what was printed on the page. Shocking! I love the story now: the lesson was taught and I am a life-long non-curser.
*(admission) I’m afraid I got my over-usage of “Crap!” from him, a word he was often working at removing from his language. After my freshman year of college, I liked to say that everything “sucked,” and he shared this story with me: when he was working with the young men in Kennewick, he was called in for an interview with Bishop DeFord, who admonished him about his language. This surprised him because he thought he was really careful. He reflected that he did say “crap” and “suck” a lot, and decided that he didn’t want to speak that way anymore. I’m grateful for his approach with this. I can still see the look on his face as he reenacted his confusion and the subsequent recognition and resolve. I really appreciate that he was willing in this teaching moment to share my weakness, and wasn’t condemning in our discussion. I remember he said the language just wasn’t very refined or creative, and not reflective of whom he wanted to project, or be. I still feel this way about coarse language, even if I am still working on the “crap!” habit: certain words can get so dull in their overuse. Certainly they lose their intended impact.
Handmade: Daddy took great pride in the carefully handcrafted gifts that came out of “Santa’s workshop”. Between the examples from him and Momma, all of us accept the truth that a handmade gift is always the best sort. I didn’t realize until I was typing this that no one else got handmade gifts-- only his children. He put a lot of effort into our home, but the workshop really was Santa’s. Santa’s workshop was also open to children to make gifts for each other (I can see my necklace “V” with Jeffrey’s kindergarten photo and handwriting: “Jeff loves Val”—you may not remember, bud, but we were crazy tight once upon a time…). I remember Daddy teaching me to sand, bringing out perfect one-quarter sheets of sandpaper that were increasingly fine: 100, 150, 200, 400, 600, and finally steel wool. Then he carefully unfolded a piece of tack cloth from a neat little aluminum foil packet he had made to protect it and showed me how to wipe away every bit of sawdust before staining (good wood should never be painted…and I still cannot!). I thought for years that tack cloth must be exceedingly expensive to be cared for so well. I’m ashamed now how much I thought Dad & Mom’s major motivation in all practices was being as cheap as possible. How surprised I was to go grocery shopping for the first time and realize how much more $ apples (my lunch staple) were than mini candy bars (envied in the lunches of my friends). Daddy was always super-frugal, but I catch now (and embrace) that not wasting is much more a lesson in reverence than a lesson in thrift. But, yes, it was always that, too.
Building: Daddy was a carpenter in Kennewick. The first big building project was our playhouse, cunningly built into the right-front corner of the backyard fence. I remember watching Dad draw plans. The base was much like the playhouse in the Idaho Falls yard, though with 2 sides against the fence rather than one against the house. The same kitchen set was inside it, along with (maybe a different?) big cable spool for the table. The side near the door had a small window, a ladder going to the roof, and a Dutch door; the side near the garden had a big window that opened over our sandbox. The sandbox was a giant tractor tire that I remember going with Dad to pick up from a friend-of-a-friend’s farm. City girl, I was agape at the size of the thing; my very-small-me memory is looking up at least 10 feet to the upper rim of the tractor’s wheel… On top of the lower level’s flat roof was a quarter-sized room, boasting a little peaked roof that was made out of that wavy pale green fiberglass used for greenhouses. I still think of it as a hot little place, though that could easily be my imagination, so impressed was I that our roof was like real greenhouses. It seemed so exotic. In the front yard, a big apricot tree stood in front of the hidden playhouse, and from the street the little top room looked like a tree house. We would jump from the roof into the front yard regularly, learning to bend our knees on impact, though Jeff DeCoursey (Devn’s best friend, and little brother of my best friend, Tanya) didn’t learn the lesson, and broke his leg on one day’s jump. Dad talked for awhile about cutting a hole in the roof for a fireman’s pole to get from the little room to the ground floor quickly, but it never materialized. “For obvious reasons!” thinks my boring mama voice now…
Daddy also built a new addition on the front of the house with the help of friends. He rented a backhoe and dug the basement, poured the concrete (I thought those concrete reinforcement bars with their plastic arrow tips sticking out would make great lawn Jarts, and was disappointed I didn’t get to play with them more), framed, roofed, sheetrocked (I loved the long rolls of paper tape), textured (also fascinating), painted…. Most memorable about the new addition was that Mom and Dad let us put on our swimsuits and play like crazy kids in the mud. It was so silkily indulgent. I loved it. Thinking of my own daughter, about the same age, I am touched by the new front left bedroom that was mine. I loved staring at the pathways made by the twisting, pink flowered vines on the wallpaper we chose together, and being amazed at how perfectly they matched the flowers in the pink stripes on the bottom section of wallpaper. And how those matched the skirt of my Holly Hobbie bedspread. And canopy. I was often overwhelmed with the injustice of being the oldest (always responsible for everything, so much babysitting to be done, such high expectations) of such a horde of kids, and I can see now that Daddy saw it, too, and gave me my own little corner—though really quite a large room!—to be a princess in. I don’t think that now I would think it practical to buy Audrey her own white bedroom set or matching white lace bedspread and canopy and curtains. I remember Mom telling me something like, “I said, ‘Let’s just get the bedspread’, but your Dad said, ‘No, let’s get her the whole set.’” I really cherish that white bedspread now, in memory, with my own oldest daughter whose needs are often neglected for the more vocal younger siblings. It’s a reminder that he saw me. I really was his princess girl.
Out of the house: I’m always transfixed when I see the people I love from a hidden corner, going about their business that doesn’t concern me. I like the feeling: he/she is mine, and they’re fantastic. I love to watch Nathan talking and shaking hands with ward members at a distance, overhear him talking with a colleague before he senses my approach, or spot him from an upstairs window, crossing the street on his way home from work. I love to peek into the girls’ classrooms and see them writing and reading and listening: going about their kid business that I know so little about, but is a huge part of their life.
Of course, I went through the my-parents-are-so-embarrassing stages, but I loved seeing Daddy not being a dad, and really cherished getting to know him as an adult, when he emphasized that we were peers now. It was most common to catch him in his church callings: leading cheers as Cubmaster, mentoring the Scouts in Kennewick, visiting with ward members, speaking in another ward as that month’s high council visitor, working the elephant ear booth at the Benton County Fair. I have snapshot memories of all of those, seeing my dad as a man.
I feel especially lucky to have worked with him for 3 summers at the INEL site. My coworkers started out a bit suspicious of me, the boss’ little girl wrangling a summer job (He was unsuccessful at this initially, but finally it worked to offer summer jobs to the four local winners that year of the corporate Westinghouse scholarships). I still feel very proud that I was a good and serious enough worker that I changed their minds, and my most cherished compliment came from an engineer, a rather private woman who carefully phrased one afternoon: “I understand and appreciate your father better after seeing and working with his daughter.” I often heard Daddy complaining, sort of in wonder at the audacity, that people who wasted time at work were stealing, and I took his belief as an important lesson.
I loved “crossing the fence” (dad meeting me to take me through security) to have lunch with him on Thursdays when he visited the site that first summer when I worked outside the perimeter without a full security clearance; catching sight of his back, walking purposefully to speak with a colleague, when I was doing a job during my labor pool summer; or overhearing references to him and his high expectations when I worked as an office intern. Little Miss Frandsen working there remained “interesting” to those who knew us both. I received one classic question from an engineer at the end of our second summer together: “I have to know: does he straighten it now or did he perm it then?” (Dad fell victim to a little sister in beauty school during the 70s, and, uncharacteristically vain, once permed he was afraid to stop. He finally set a “on my 40th birthday” deadline to go back to his straight hair, and did so without comment. I have that hair, also no longer permed: the same dark blonde color, the same growth pattern straight forward on top, the same definite side part, the same finer-textured hair at the temples. So does Audrey). I also heard their concern, when the news came that Lockheed Martin won the site contract, after Daddy had devoted his life for a year to GemTec, the company-that-never-was: “How is your dad feeling?”
Dad was great at those special tasks, like working on safety or contract award applications, and had several such projects. The most infamous to us was the Malcolm Baldridge Award. Whereas much of the GemTec work was done from an office he rented a couple of blocks from our house, he worked on the Malcolm Baldridge application primarily in Pittsburg, a real challenge to my mom with her house full of kids. We were so sad for him when Westinghouse surprisingly didn’t win. The next year I was waiting for a friend in his dorm lobby, leafing through a Newsweek, and came on an exposé article that explained the award committee had recommended Westinghouse for the award, but was politically overridden, pressured not to give it to a nuclear company. I rushed home and called my daddy in a rage, so indignant (and supposing that I was bringing news). “Yes, “ he said sadly, “That’s how it is sometimes, Vali. Read the Wall Street Journal article. I was quoted in that one.” I went and found it at the BYU library. I still believe in the great potential of nuclear power (though of course I would be more comfortable if my hardworking and eternally competent father was still leading the effort to coordinate the national efforts at safe waste reprocessing and storage). He could help people working with him see his vision (that confidence!), and they really cared about him. I often giggle to myself about how gregarious Greg was, and my husband Nathan comes back from frustrating Scouting trips with, “I wish I had your dad’s talent for…”. During his last working days, trying to transition his successor into the work he’d been doing so it wouldn’t be abandoned (though much of it did fall victim to the changing of administrations & policies), Dad was showing him around Washington, going to different meetings. The man was surprised to see all of the important people who gave Greg Frandsen great bearhugs. This phrase from Alexander Mc Call Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, the main character’s response to the death of her father, made the whole book beautiful to me: “Mma Ramotswe fell on his chest and wept for all the dignity, love, and suffering that died with him.”
Improvement: Daddy was supremely confident (remember the “I’m a rainbow red”?), but also willing to see his faults, which he worked determinedly at. When I hear that Sunday School manual staple about President Heber J. Grant and his tireless efforts to improve his weaknesses into skills (pitching, handwriting, singing), I think of Dad. He had the neatest, most careful (always in green) handwriting. He was a faithful choir member until he got to the point where he had some solos in church. He was not a natural speller, but I remember him deliberately practicing words he had trouble with. Even when I was in college, he started carrying around 10 little vocabulary cards a week in his pocket, consciously working them into daily use. I remember him asking one child, “Are you prevaricating?!” Poor kid stared back in confusion, but I knew what one of his little cards were that week. I have that box of vocabulary cards now, pretty much untouched since I used them to study for the GRE before my mission (which I rocked, thank you very much! Taciturn, one of my newly-in-1995 acquired words, really was on the test). The graphics are delightfully 60s, with “Bonnie Jo Anderson” written on it in blue permanent marker. Sorry, Auntie Bonn. You can’t have it back.
Play: I remember a lot of silly play with Daddy, especially when we lived in Washington. We were so excited when he came home from work (I remember with some chagrin that I was the sort of little girl who would sit on his foot, limbs wrapped around his calves, and make him drag me out the door, thinking I might stop him from leaving. Giggling like crazy with my cleverness), and so was he. The briefcase would get set by the door, maybe the suit coat taken off (when did he start to need a suit at work? Was it always?), and then we’d be tumbling on the floor. I remember a lot of rough and tumble on the dark brown shag carpet (my, how raisins would get lost in that thatch!). He would teach us his wrestling moves from high school (I thought I could do a mean half-Nelson, and we’d practice it regularly). I was convinced I could pin him (“One, Two, Three…down!”), which was something because I concurrently knew he was the strongest man in the world. In my little girl memories, his biceps were ginormous. In my big girl memories, I’m still pretty impressed, especially since Daddy was a skinny thing who didn’t subscribe to the sort of exercise that is devoted to building those biceps. I think he thought “working out” was narcissistic, but was always in marvelous (hike forever, never out of energy) shape just from the work of his carefully chosen every day activities. Another way we would admire his muscles was with this oft-repeated little exchange. Out of context, it kind of sounds like we were regularly beaten, but it was all about hero-worship, not about poundings.
Dad: (flexes bicep & makes a fist with his right hand) “Do you know what this is?”
Chorus of adoring children: “A knuckle sandwich!”
Dad: (fists his left hand) “And do you know what this is?”
Us: “That’s so bad we don’t even want to think about it.”
I thought this was a very very clever exchange, almost as good as this one I learned from him and still use (and my husband finds exceedingly annoying):
Me: (rubbing forefinger of one hand over the adjoining thumb) “Do you know what this is?”
Unsuspecting other (a whiner): “No, what?”
Clever me: “The tiniest violin in the world, playing ‘My Heart Bleeds for You.’”
Our after-work floor play also involved us giving him back rubs after we were all worn out. I remember thinking that a proper backrub would start with scratching, move to hard knuckle rubs, and finish with that two-hands-rubbing-together-and-chopping motion along the sides of the spine. I thought I was really awesome at backrubs, though I am now quite certain that they, like my own girls’, lasted approximately 30 seconds. BECAUSE…we needed a lot of time left for Art Forms. Which, yes, must be said in italics: Art Forms! Lying on his back, Daddy would lift us into the air by our hips, and our task would be to arch our chests and lift our legs and strike the most artistic sculpture pose we could. And for the first time, typing this, I’m reflecting that there are very few great works of sculpture in which the human form is spread like Superman. See the man’s charm? We were convinced of our great artistic forms. “Art forms”?” What does that even mean??? Inspired by great Italian sculptors or not, now I have forced my bicepted husband to adopt the tradition, and our kids love them, too, and I know I’m not the only child to pass on the Art Form! goodness to the next generation.
Dad was patient with our teasing, and adept in the art of letting an unsuspecting child win in games (until the infamous everyone-against-Valerie Monopoly sessions). I loved to think I was “getting one over” on him. One personal mission that must have gotten exceedingly annoying was my attempt to get him to eat peanut butter, which he loathed. I thought it was hilarious to try to trick him into eating it. I thought I was oh-so-clever to, for instance, fill one of our home-grown apricots with peanut butter, because it was the same color as the pit. I loved to pick perfect fruit for him, then carefully wash and proudly present them to Daddy, talking with friends or going about his other business. How very sneaky I was to pb-ify one, though he must have been immediately suspicious as I admonished him “don’t take the pit out of this one” and hopped from foot to foot, giggling. He pretended to be so surprised and stern about his “discovery” of the sticky pb pit. The one time I really did successfully trick him was when I smeared my little lips with peanut butter, then ran to him and smooched him on the mouth. Then I tried it again 7 minutes later, such a good trick it was…
Gardening: Dad was really proud of his yard, and precise in his landscaping. I remember Mom & Dad plotting out the garden every year on a pad of graph paper, and all of the work that went into creating and deciding on the shape of the decorative plantings in the front yard. It’s crazy to me now that we’ve lived in our “new house” long enough that the huge trees in the front yard originated with us. We had a flowering plum in Kennewick, too, and I remember Daddy taking pictures of Mom, his beautiful wife, in front of it when it was in bloom. He was so proud of them both; look for the photos in our albums. She looks self-conscious but very pleased. Of course, we planted because “The Prophet Said to Plant a Garden” and to teach the kids hard work. But he always worked with us. I especially remember picking picking picking raspberries. Our patch in the Kennewick house was along the right fence (if you were facing the house from the backyard), near the playhouse, and it was so hard to reach the berries up in against the fence. I think Dad did a lot of picking in his softball uniform, after summer games in July. Those long arms were so much better than mine at reaching, though I did have a wriggly little body that could sneak in after “the good ones.” Daddy always made us feel so proud for things like that.
Conscious parenting: With kids of my own, it really impresses me what a conscious parent Dad was. He had a job to do, parenting, and I think always saw it in that light, of making me into the very best person I could be while I lived in his home. Then I was my own person. I remember I was really angry with him during my first couple of years of college, when my strict, high-expectations dad would say things like, “I hope you’re not getting all A’s. You need to make sure you’re spending time in other areas, too. Have some fun.” What?? I thought those were the-only-acceptable kind. But when I left home, Mom and Dad really gave me credit for growing up. And even when I knew Daddy questioned my decisions or attitudes, he was very carefully deferential. It was my life now.
Dad loved golf, but explained to me that he had decided that to be the kind of father he wanted to be, he knew he would have to give up some of his hobbies: “I could go golfing with the Executive Board on Fridays, and it would probably be good for my career, but I knew I wanted to spend that time with my family.” Others he continued, but included us in. A kid always came on errands with him, and someone, however small, always was holding the hammer when he worked on projects around the house or yard. I thought it was slave labor, but now know how much more work it is to include children in tasks. Dad was the Jack-of-all-trades sort of athletic, and in the days of big church sports, the softball season was especially huge. For a couple of years, the Kennewick 1st ward was a powerhouse, and we loved getting sunburned at softball tournaments. I remember their red-and-white (full!) uniforms and going out to A&W root beer floats after weeknight practices. Frosty mugs! I think Dad played 2nd or 3rd base or left field, usually, and was a reliable hitter. I remember our pitcher was Brother Reeder, who had one shriveled arm and awesome frizzy gray hair around a bald top. He could nail a pitch with his mitt dangling on his useless limb, then quick-as-lightning switch the mitt to his good hand and catch a pop fly. The other teams always underestimated him—to their detriment!
Dad believed firmly in supporting his children in our “events”, and he and Mom came with absolute religiosity. One or both were present at every home cross-country or track meet, and many of the “away” ones, Dad running along from point to point on the course so he could yell encouragement more than once, holding his suit coat on one arm because he had just snuck out of a meeting. He even came to all of the basketball games that I didn’t play (glorious pine-rider that I was), and cheered like mad when I occasionally did and once even made a basket … Still proud! They were the only parents at many debate tournaments. I, of course, didn’t realize how much of a kid and job-juggling effort that took. Or how much else they had to do that they would probably enjoy more, if it wasn’t so important to them to show their love through their support.
Dad entered parenthood with a clear idea of what kind of father he wanted to be. He wanted to be involved in his children’s lives, and he wanted us to always know he loved us. It was an extremely important moment for him when his own father, raised in a more taciturn generation in a family of taciturn men, told him “Greg, I love you.” I was in college. He always knew Grandpa loved him, of course, but he thought it was important to hear. The words “I love you” were household dailies for us. I’ve never had to question that my dad loved me. As I took a break from this writing to go feed and snuggle my youngest manchild, that delicious and sensuous little creature, I realized that I’m just starting to understand how much.


(Daddy/daughter in December 1996; don't we look alike?)

6 comments:

Paul said...

Thanks Val.

Snippety Gibbet said...

What a beautiful tribute. It's so totally heartfelt and full of love and respect. Every father should dream of such deeply felt adoration. That was so lovely, Valerie.

crystal said...

What you've written has brought tears to my eyes. Your love and admiration for your father is evident in every word. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

Christine said...

Paul and I read this as part of the birthday celebration we had in honor of your dad. We even drank some rootbeer floats.

Thanks Val

vimahi said...

This is super. I want to read all the others too!!

Mikal Preece said...

Very touching Val. I really wish that I would have gotten the chance to know Ucle Greg better. I think you do look a lot like him.