Tree & fire hydrant. © Ruth Lopez
How did you learn how to have a beautiful life? Lately, I've come to realize that it can be done on a dime. Even morons can teach you something. They can teach you how to laugh. Like the antique store owner in Charleston who said to me in a magnificent drawl, upon learning that I was living in D.C.: "Oh, I feel so sorry for you." Let the ridiculous people guide you to, as Barbara Pym once taught me, bemused detachment. It's a precious thing. Beautiful really. Thank you to all those who have inspired me from Susan Turner, who during lunch last year at Sofra, pointed to a small jar of smoked cinnamon and told me I had to try it. My breakfast during the cold months has been oatmeal (steel cut) with brown sugar, Michigan blueberries (from my frozen winter supply) a splash of coconut milk and a dash of smoked cinnamon. Thanks to Mona's mother (for birthing the gemelos extraordinaire—gone but not forgotten) who passed down her travel tip of checking into a 4-star hotel at least once during an otherwise long journey of roughing it, for free tolietries and a restorative bath. Thanks for perfect Sundays with delicious coffee—a dark roast that is not burnt—followed by Benedict Cumberbatch performing in Hamlet in a matinee. Que mas? The above photograph taken during Thanksgiving at Scott's brothers house in southern Illinois. Thank you Scott. Thank you peeling paint. What's with all this gratitude? I started this letter to you shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday and am now picking up on it in, well, you see the date, nearly two months later. Where I was going then I'm not sure. Maybe I had just finished my oatmeal when I sat down to write. Since I have no issue with the words and ideas, I send this off to you, Rose, belatedly with many thanks.