Last week, I shared a letter my father wrote to his first grandchild, Rachel, when she was very young. In the book he eventually “made” to hold these letters to her (in a three-ring binder), he also shared some of his favorite poems from his favorite poets. Dad himself was a poet, inclined more toward those of a clever variety, like the Limerick. He once entered a Limerick writing contest offered through the Billings Gazette, winning several awards. Because he wanted to enter more submissions than an individual was allowed, he entered our mother’s name on a few of them. “Mom’s” limerick was featured on the front page of the Billings Gazette that year. Dad might have been accused of lying — I’m sure he was sheepish about our mother winning the highest prize of the several he won (!) — but he also would have to be accused of being very creative.
I don’t have any of his old limericks. Most all of the evidence of his creativity is gone, turned to ashes in a house fire set by arson in December 2006, so I am always happy to come across any of his writings which show a little glimpse of his heart and soul.
Here is a letter from July 1993 — both in image form (which is very hard to read) and typed out below for your reading ease. The crane picture was also included, along with various magazine clippings and other inclusions of pieces of things that struck Dad, and which he would insert in the book. Rachel was the only one of my sister’s and my children to receive such a precious gift, so in some ways, I see it as a gift to all of us as well, though it will always be particularly special to Rachel. This may be part of the reason she and her husband chose to use his name, Robert, as the middle name for their firstborn, who just arrived a week ago. Miles Robert won’t meet his maternal grandfather this side of the veil, but will know him in part someday through these writings to his mother.
Enjoy! I’ve also included a few photos sharing my dad loving his grandchildren, one of our children in particular, and me as an infant.
8 July 93
My Dear Rachel,
It is never neither too early nor too late to start your summer reading program. I hope these pages provide you with many hours of peace and enjoyment. I wish the same for your parents.
Collectors of rare books willingly pay large amounts of money for some books that exist in only small numbers. This book does not command an enormous dollar value. Its value can only be determined by what is in your heart and my heart. But it is indeed rare. It is one and the only one on God’s good globe.
Completing this volume I have several times wondered if authors while writing their books stop to think of their readers as I have paused to affectionately think of you. It may be the only time this work touched greatness. But there I was mingling and musing with the great. If this is true I must give thanks to you.