Last chance to tie up loose ends


by Frances Edstrom

Well, here it is the end of the year. 2006 was a mixed bag for me. I feel as though I missed out on six months of my life, so I'm deducting it from my age (it only seems fair). On the other hand, it was the year of a magical trip with my family to Northern Ireland and my roots. And, best of all, the year of the birth of my first and favorite grandchild, Peyton.

But let's get down to business. The end of the year seems like the time to tie up loose ends, to make amends for transgressions and thank people for their help and kindnesses.

My really bad transgressions, if indeed I have recognized them as such, I will atone for in private. But I guess I can publicly apologize to the people I have nearly run over at the grocery store in my motorized cart. The steering and braking mechanisms on those things are not exactly the finest of German engineering. In fact, they remind me a lot of the American Motors Gremlin I drove in the early years of our marriage (anyone out there old enough to remember American Motors?).

Back to apologies. I'm sorry if I scared the pants off you when I nearly broke your knees with the cart. And I should also apologize to all the local grocery store managers and their staffs whose end cap displays I might have accidentally destroyed. I'm probably the only woman in town they wish wouldn't shop locally.

Now, on to books. Many of you were kindness personified when I was bedridden and my only pastime was reading. You lent me many wonderful books that I thoroughly enjoyed. But you have to understand that I was on heavy drugs. If you didn't write your name in the front of the book, and you didn't get it back before my sister flew home in November, that probably means you won't get it back unless you ask.

To complicate matters, we had to dismantle all the bookshelves in the family room for painting, and books my sister had set aside for me to return to people are now Dewey-decimaled by my husband, who is a little compulsive about such things.* So, don't be shy. If you've been kept awake nights wondering how to ask me to return the book you lent me in August, get some rest and call me in the morning. Give me the title or author, and I'll get that book back to you as soon as I find it.

This catharsis wouldn't be complete without some heavy thanks spread around. First, to my coworkers, who covered for me at the paper. Secondly, to my fellow volunteers, especially at Winona Health, Home and Community Options and the Winona County Historical Society, who had to do my work as well as theirs.

Saying thank you to my sister for five months of her care seems inadequate. There should be an English word that means super-thanks. Thanks as well to all of you who sent well-wishes and added me to prayer lists. As I write this, I am baby-sitting my granddaughter, a wonderful task that last summer seemed inconceivable, given my physical condition. Due to good medical care and your thoughts and prayers, I am nearly back to my old self, although I am glad I took those six months off my age, because this job of getting well is better done by a youngster than an old fogey.

Apologies and thanks. Here's to a great 2007!

*Publisher's note:

Compulsive is it? Left to the editrix' s Irish ways, the books would be all over the house, many with spines to the wall. Thanks to me, we can find your work of fiction in alphabetical order by author. Bitte schn. J.E.


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