It’s been thirty-five years since I married her. I know every freckle on her face. They’re like stars, these freckles, you should see them. They’re not white, like stars are, but they’re just as thick as the Milky Way, especially across her nose. Her nose is tiny, sort of pointy, and when she’s tense she gets pimples around the sides of it. (Don’t tell her I said that, she’ll kill me.)
Jana is still the only woman for me. I’m so lucky. She’s upset, though. Her hair is going gray. She went to the Aveda Institute last week and they did a great job. It’s kind of chocolatey now, darker than it was but just as gorgeous. It’s really natural-looking. How they do that, I have no idea. They use all botanical products, so maybe that’s the secret. Nature in a bottle, who knew? It’s longer than it was, too, nearly down her back. It’s really soft. I’m not supposed to tell anyone she had it dyed. Mikey loves to play with it. He’s got a good, strong grip too – you should see her grimace when he grabs hold and yanks! He’s only two but he’s got a hold like a wrestler.
Jenny is already ten – God, can you believe it? She’s gonna be a looker, Dad. What am I going to do? Was it like this with my sisters? I feel like I’ll kill any of these snot-nosed little punks that look at her funny. She just rolls her eyes and says, “Come on, Dad.” I never talked back like that, did I? She’s not into “boys” (she sneers it). She is into horses. Holy cow, I never knew they had so many horse posters! They’re plastered everywhere. I honestly think she’d put them in our room, the boys’ rooms, the kitchen, even the garage. I mean, how many pictures do you need? A horse is a horse. (Don’t say it.)
And Bobby. The middle child. He looks like the oldest! Good Lord, what a pistol! He’s going to be like you, someday, you just wait. He’s already a star on Little League. He’s got me coaching his team now, did Jana tell you? What the hell do I know about baseball? The other coaches help me out but these kids are brutal. They’re worse than guys in a bar! And the parents! They fight about every little thing. “My kid this. My kid that.” It’s enough to make me want to knock their heads together. And that’s just the women! (Don’t tell Jana I said that either.)
I painted the house. We picked the colors together, as a family. It looks good. I didn’t let them pick anything like the gingerbread man’s house, it’s pretty sedate. Kind of a slate gray, with a slate blue on the shutters and stuff. The windows were a pain. They make a new kind of tape, though, that’s easier to take off. Masking wasn’t such a hassle the way it was when you and I did Grandma’s place last summer.
I don’t know what else to tell you.
Jeez, Dad. I really wish I could give you your sight back. Damn the Army. That shrapnel should have been stopped by the armor on your Humvee, but the Army just couldn’t spend the money. You’ll never get to see them the way I do. Captain Wilkins came over yesterday to talk to us and bring cookies the wives made. I wanted to throw them out after he left but Jana wouldn’t let me. Says I’m bitter. I’m not, I’m just pissed off.
But that’s okay, Dad. That’s okay. You just get better. The hospital will help you best they can. I’ll describe them to you, and anything else you want to look at. I love you, Dad. Come home soon, we miss you. I’ll come over and paint your room with a “textured” paint they have now. It’s weird, but cool. You’ll love it.
Jana and the kids and I will come over this weekend, okay, Dad? We’ll bring you some good food. The VA still can’t make food worth a damn. Some things don’t change, huh? But we’ll be there, and Mom too. I’ll pick her up on the way. Just get well, okay?