Tonight I was cleaning out a closet of mine, and as often happens, I digress from one task to another. At one point, I'm at my desk rearranging and clearing out to make room for this and that (it's a long sad tale), and I come across a slip of paper taped to a cubbyhole in the desk. Document "Uncle Henry" and "Aunt Daisy" in family history it says. For a moment, I wondered what in the world, then a split second later I smiled, remembering Mom telling me last year, in the midst of her first flush of grief and confusion. "I want to tell you before I forget..."

"Uncle Henry" and "Aunt Daisy" were Mom and Dad's code phrases in their early love letters to each other, especially during the war when they were quite aware that many letters were read by the Army censors, for their genitalia. When they would write to one another that "Uncle Henry misses Aunt Daisy", they knew exactly what the other meant without being crude or letting anything slip to the censors.

Mom has kicked herself more than once for having Dad take out the bundle of their love letters and burn them. She can't for the life of her remember why they did it, either. What she does remember is Grandpa Fitzpatrick, her father, joking that "...that's the hottest fire ever seen around here..."

The evidence of our existences are fragile at best. All too easily it disappears and no one knows we were ever here...


I was raised drinking tea like fish swim in water. It was part of our daily lives. I came to adore it, the whole process, from preparing it to slurping it noisely by teaspoon from my teacup full of tea, milk, and 2-3 teaspoons of sugar! As time went by, my inquisitiveness discovered that the tea was Red Rose, a brand from Canada. It's a strong black/orange pekoe tea with a touch of bergamot oil in it.

We lived on the border, and I didn't think of the small town by us - Emerson, Manitoba - as anything other than, well...Emerson - another small town like my own. I was born there, we shopped there, I attended piano lessons there, etc., etc. Border guards waved us through both the US and Canadian ports of entry. People knew each other. We were rarely asked to declare anything or how much we had purchased. Those days are definitely gone...

My grandmother and mother owned ordinary everyday teapots, but they also had highly decorated china pots made in England, brought out for company. With these were beautiful porcelain china teacups and saucers, so beautiful they were works of art as well as items of service. It was a ritual that made the act of drinking the tea that much more special.

Later on I tried other teas, and have enjoyed many. But I still adore Red Rose the best - strong, sweet...the taste and smell brings back a flood of memories of a time, people, and something very, very comforting...