Column: For my brother, little IpperA letter was delivered to my mailbox. I was shocked. It had been mailed to my home address, not sent to my computer inbox.
By: Andrea Langworthy, Staff Columnist, Rosemount Town Pages
A letter was delivered to my mailbox. I was shocked. It had been mailed to my home address, not sent to my computer inbox. Four 50-cent stamps were affixed to the envelope’s upper right hand corner. When I saw the return address of a New Zealand hotel and recognized my brother’s handwriting, I feared the worst. He’d fallen while hiking, sipped some bad Sauvignon Blanc (He’d argue there’s no such thing.), or decided he likes it there so much he’ll never return. I opened the envelope to find a full page, hand-written letter. Remember those?
True to his heritage, my brother wrote that, over a pint of Guinness at Molly Malone’s Pub, he and his wife learned about the Irish who settled in New Zealand. He said there are Taylors, our last name, “All over the place.” He wrote that that while it is a pacifist nation, many monuments honor the dead from two world wars. I couldn’t get over his wanting to share these things with me. That he took time during what sounded like a vacation full of things to do, to tell me about the wonders of New Zealand. I smiled when I read, “People are very friendly,” because my brother makes friends of strangers, chatting up the locals to get the real scoop on what it’s like to live wherever he happens to be. He’s also a connoisseur of good wines. One of the reasons he’s attracted to New Zealand, I’m sure. He’s told me they’re known for their Sauvignon Blancs, which I’ve seen described as, “A child who inherits the best of both parents.” An apt description of my brother, too.
As I continued to read, I pictured him on a stool at one of the wineries, or the Wine Loft in Wellington, which he said is a favorite. He’d be talking with the server or chatting with former strangers at the table next to him. He’d want to learn more about what he and his wife found out at a museum — the geological origin of the country. I could see him nodding his head in that thoughtful way he has when he’s interested in what someone’s saying. He’d be wearing his contagious smile and turn to his wife to say, “Did you hear that, Bec?
My brother and I have shared many lunches at a little cafe in south Minneapolis. It’s the former dairy store where my family bought eggs and milk. Whenever we’re there, he scans the tables around us looking for a familiar face, certain every patron lived in the neighborhood and went to grade school with us. That’s who my brother is. He likes his roots. As do I. It’s why we return to the old neighborhood to share a meal and perhaps, run into an old friend. I’ll bet that’s why he and his wife return to vacation in New Zealand. It must feel like “old home week” when they arrive.
Towards the end of the letter, my brother shared his wish that my husband and I could be with them for dinner. As we were recently at one of their favorite restaurants in downtown St. Paul. He introduced us to the staff and told us of the specialties. “Try this,” he said, “You’ll like this.” That’s who my brother is. His good time is a reflection of the people around him.
He signed off with love. I love him back.