NPD Anthology 2002


Brief Missive by Maryann Hazen Stearns

Dear Companion Angel, The theme for today is celebration yet I fret at the
dust in the corner and if there will be enough food to go around if others
drop by unexpectedly. Please help me release these anxieties so that I may
enjoy the day with the others. There are pigs in a blanket and deviled
eggs. My father says if he knew he was going to live this long, he would
have taken better care of himself. There are wheat crackers shaped like
stars, hearts and circles all stacked with sharp cheddar and summer
sausage. My brother goes outside to smoke. It's raining so he sits in his
car with the window cracked. Bowls of macaroni salad, potato salad and
cole slaw are on the table in the kitchen, but there is only one spoon. My
favorite aunt lodges herself into a living room seat. There are potato
balls pierced with frilly-legged toothpicks. The younger people
self-segregate to my office in the back where they discuss paint ball and
Tomb Raider. Meatballs in brown gravy simmer in a crock pot. The older
folk take up the sofas, rocker and easy chairs in the parlor and talk very
loudly about health insurance. Chips, dips, pretzels, soda, tea, coffee
with or without makes the rounds. I take the garbage out to the garage and
notice that no one has mentioned war. No one wants it. No one. I suppose
this then must be the true reason for celebration:  Peace. Thank you for
your presence in my life Companion, and for receiving this letter with
love. Good Cheer & Be Well.