Scarlett’s Letter August 1, 2013

Just your basic day. I didn’t have a training or consulting assignment today, so I dabbled with this and that for work. My cousin was to stop by to pick up some items from Mom to sell at her next garage sale. Mom and I are both trying to lighten our load a little, and my cousin loves to find and sell things at her frequent garage sales. It works out well for all involved.

I have a collection of cousins, on both sides of the family, Mom’s side and Dad’s side. I have always cherished my cousins. As an only child my cousins were the closest thing I ever had to siblings. My parents married a little later in life and, so, I came along later than my first cousins. My first cousins, on my dad’s side are a little older than me, my second cousins are actually right around my age. Not that this matters, they’re all fantastic. My cousin who visited today has been an absolute Godsend. As I travel about the country for work, since she lives only about twenty or thirty minutes away, she has been there, when needed, when I couldn’t be. During my dad’s illness preceding his death, she was available at a moment’s notice to drive, to assist, and to support. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for this.

Now that my dad has passed and Mom has her own health challenges, and my schedule, even when not traveling, can be somewhat unpredictable, my cousin makes herself available to drive my mom to her appointments in the neighboring town. Mom is okay driving to the clinic, locally, but the one in the next town is, now, a rather daunting trip for her, alone. If I am home, and not on a conference call, I will tag along. Any time my cousin visits, there will usually be a lunch out. And even though today’s visit was not related to a doctor’s visit, we had our lunch out.

Lunches out, Mom, my cousin and myself, have become a “tradition” that I truly appreciate and enjoy. Three ladies, three generations, enjoying food, drink and conversation. We carefully select our lunch venue and ponder our menu choices aloud, almost in collaboration. My cousin appreciates food much as I do, as more than just nourishment, but as art, as an expression and something worthy of being photographed before being savored.

My cousin is, and has always been, an artist and is extremely creative. Both a painter and a photographer, she sees art in almost everything. I see it, too, but haven’t made art so much a part of my identity as she has. She is gifted, talented, and insightful. I just see neat things and take pictures of them with my iPhone. There are many family resemblances, that now seem to be manifesting, or, at least, we are becoming aware of them; certain preferences in color, in style, in fashion, in architecture, landscaping, and in the art that is just inherent in our surroundings. And a certain joie de vie.

Conversations that unfold between us reveal many alignments and I find this fascinating. As a child, of course, these similarities were not so apparent. She was the mother of the (second) cousins with whom I played and with whom I got into considerable trouble. But now, myself being middle aged, the playing field is a bit more leveled, if you will, and I am discovering more about myself with each opportunity for a visit.

After a fantastic lunch today, at Cielito Lindo in downtown Napa, having passed one of our favorite boutiques on the way to our lunch destination, it was agreed we would stop in after dining. I’d spotted, and, yes, taken a picture of an adorable dress in the window. At Betty Girl’s Boutique, Kim, the owner (the boutique is named after her mother, Betty, who passed away some time ago), makes dresses out of vintage clothing, combining bodices and skirts, adding and removing elements and creating absolute magic. The dress in the window spoke to me. After lunch, I inquired about the dress. It was my size. With some encouragement from my cousin, only a wee bit of encouragement, I tried the dress on. It fit and was fabulous. I came out of the dressing room with some prompting, strutted, twirled and talked about where I’d wear this dream dress. My mom, the voice of practicality and reason, tried in her subtle way to dissuade me. My cousin said, “You’d be crazy not to buy the dress.” And so, I did. I am delighted. I am thrilled. There are pictures. And I now have three occasions to wear this fantastic, one of a kind dress! So, now, I find myself getting into considerable trouble with a cousin, yet again!

Sopes at Cielito Lindo in Napa. Delish!
Sopes at Cielito Lindo in Napa. Delish!
The dress in the window at Betty Girl's Boutique
The dress in the window at Betty Girl’s Boutique
The dress, on, at Betty Girl's Boutique
The dress, on, at Betty Girl’s Boutique
Poor, naked window mannequin at Betty Girl's Boutique
Poor, naked window mannequin at Betty Girl’s Boutique
The dress is in the bag!
The dress is in the bag!

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