Each day I go about my chores walking from room to room to put things away that Grandpa and I have used and left lying about. Most of us do that, I think. But if I put stuff back each day then it never gets to be too big of a job. A shame that I don’t do that in my office, but that’s another story. Today I took a toy baby cow, a black and white calf , out of its barn on the coffee table and put it in a basket with the other animals. You and I had given her some green paper in a bottle lid pretnding it was grass hay for her to eat. We used to pretend she mooed a very tiny “moo” and her mom cow and the dad bull each had bigger “moos”. You were good at the different pitches. “Teeny, teeny tiny moo” we’d say. “BIG loud, deep moo.” We’d laugh at our silliness and tried it with other things. “Big giant truck.” “Teeny tiny truck”, “BIG rock”, “Teeny rock.” Remember?
I threw the grass in the lid away. I thought about packing all of it away. I scanned the toy shelf there with the cars, trucks, the small wooden gas pumping station set up for play, Tommy doll still wearing his pumpkin suit and the baskets of trinkets we’d collected. I pulled out all the natural items and tossed them over the deck rail; redwood, fir and pine cones, your alligator stick, rocks that you’d found got shiny when you spit on them and acrons with their caps still on. I should put the toys, puzzles and games all away. They have always been a pain to dust. Then this morning I found Georgia on her dog bed with your stuffed lion between her paws. She wasn’t even chewing it. She was asleep; her snout snuggled against it. We aren’t yet ready to pack your playthings away. Besides, maybe your mom will let you visit and wouldn’t you want to see it all just the way you remember?
I have to tell you something. Your house is not the same as it was. It looks very different. All winter long Jim, who you called Jim-guy, is making it nicer to live in. Your little place was chilly, it had no insulation in the walls or roof, the electrical wiring was very old and not too safe. With you guys gone to Montana, Grandpa and Jim and I made a plan to fix it up. Its really messy now, and looks like no one would ever want to live there. We can see all the wires and pipes and the rug is gone. But if you come visit, (that is, if your mom lets you) we’ll walk over there to see it. But be warned, your bed is not there, there’s no place to sleep or to sit, and there’s no window in the livingroom. We’ll get a new one. You can see the insides of the walls. But Jim knows how to fix it. I promise that in the Spring it will be amazing. The walls will be closed up, painted and the floor nice wooden planks. And if you guys ever come back home, you will be more snuggly, warm and safer than ever before. And I hope you do.