September 22nd, 2019


Reiss’s Pieces

This past summer must be one that should be in the “strange” record book, and not just because the weather was so erratic and strange. I can tolerate the weather as well as the next person, but I do think that going from 95 degrees one day to 47 degrees the next is really asking too much of the human body. And then, of course, going from a day of bone-dry weather to a day of monsoon weather that turns all that dry soil into either a quagmire or a path of mud that looks and feels like goose poop.


The only way that I am able to live through it is to remind myself that we don’t have those horrendous tornadoes that come sneaking through to devastate, with little or no warning. They level and kill everything in their path. I can’t think of too much worse unless it is a tsunami! And unless Lake Champlain goes crazy, we are safe.


We also sold the old house in Sandwich, which was in Malcolm’s family for over 70 years, and it was chock-a-block full of old memories, interesting antiques, and tons of trash. Fortunately, some of our children came and helped their father hoe out. But until you begin, you have no idea how hard it is to do and how much stuff accumulates over the years.


But what I had originally wanted to share with you is this. We went to and hosted several family gatherings this summer, and each one was special and lots of fun. But the one I wanted to tell you about was organized by Malc’s cousin and it was specifically so we could all meet a Peruvian cousin and his family. Unfortunately, none of my children or grandchildren could go, so Antonio’s three children would have no one to play with. And prior to the luncheon, all I could think of was what will those children do in a group of older family members, most of whom they never met before? Well, I need not have worried. I never met such polite and well-behaved children in my life! Their ages were 16, 14, and about 8.


First and most interesting to me, without being prompted by their parents, they kissed all these new Aunties, Uncles and cousins. And they sat at a table and ate their lunch and chatted and talked to everyone. What they didn’t do was play any video games on their cell phones. They texted no one and they made no calls. When the little one got restless, without being asked, they took him out on the lawn and kicked a soccer ball around with him. These children are Peruvian because their parents are both from Peru and they have been there many times, but they actually live in Texas. But what I want to know is, how did their parents raise such lovely, well-mannered children? I think it is the first time in years that I either met or spent time with a child who wasn’t completely absorbed in some video game or texting their friends. And believe me, the pleasure was noticeable by all.

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