Friday, January 03, 2014

Epiphany 2014 Letter

"He became a man and he dwelt amongst us and we behold his glory...."

In 2013 I enjoyed the sameness in days—the glinting from dog's golden coat as she scampers through her walk; the grandsons growing tall, conversing in strange speech of minecraft and clash of clans. For the fall semester. Cassie and I brought Louis to school M-W-F mornings, walking over in time for the morning bell. As I've said before, "my boundaries enclose a pleasant land."

And fun! Last night quizzing Angus for his Geography Bee at school, we conversed about dams, rivers, the location of Custer's Last Stand, the area of The Solomon Islands. Things to think about
when walking Cassie: "Hmmmn, does Czechoslovakia still exist?" 

And now the daily Office reveals the Glory of Epiphany: great fountains of Light. Pretty good times:  the kids, the dog, the book group, a memoir-writing group, piano lessons. I plan to give a Psalms talk to the Episcopal Church Women in March, which I love to do. 

In St. Louis last April to my sister and I visited our 91-year-old uncle Frank He can't see any more, is confined to a chair, where he listens to books on tape. Call him at random and you'll discuss the Armada ("that Philip was so stupid!") or the History of Music. Sue and I also enjoyed a visit with our cousin Tracy and three of her "grands." 

A couple months after visiting Frank, I joined the Tams on their summer college tour for Amelia. We met up in Amherst, where we stopped in to Grace Church Columbarium to visit dear Denny's niche. We continued to Boston, where we got together with the Perrys and two of the Andrews sisters, Heather and Kristen. Kristen has a wonderful new house in Wendell, MA, and she too has been practicing the piano. Emmet and Jack enjoy their pet snakes, and they help out with shoveling snow which there is a lot of about now. Sammy and Jack McCarthy continue as the fastest swimmers in the family and also more competitive leagues. I returned from Massachusetts well "familied."

In addition to Kristen, Karen also moved this year and now lives in Haverhill nearer the quads. They helped her every step of the way; and, as we all do, they said, “No more moving!” Connor, Ben, and Megan started jobs over the summer; Rachel came back to Davidson with me for a good long visit. In between introducing me to “Merlin” and “Sherlock” on Netflix, Rachel edited the family cookbook revision. Thanks to her work, it should be ready by the end of 2014.

I hope to get to Mass.  again this summer to see our quadruplets graduate from Pentucket High School (!) Connor, Megan, Rachel, Ben, and Amelia make five planning to start college this coming fall. Max and Hannah are already in their junior and freshman years respectively out in Colorado. They keep on growing into amazing young adults.

I hope this letter finds you going from strength to strength even as many of us struggle with challenges that mount as the years go by. My prayers go with you all in things said and unsaid in our annual connection of friendship and love.  

Love and Blessings,

                  Deb Cannavino m. Alan Caplan --- div. --- Patricia Caplan Andrews --- wid. Denison Andrews
Karen-Caplan      Tory Caplan       Nick               Amanda &              Heidi&                 Heather& Drew         Kristen                             
Perry                     & Peter Tam      Caplan       Craig Ewington         Brad Rude            McCarthy                  Andrews    
Megan, Connor    Amelia (17)     Sophie(16)   Angus(13)                Max (21)               Samantha (11)              Jack Semler(9)  
Rachel, Ben (17)   Isaac (15)        True (13)       Louis (10)                Hannah (18)         Jack (9)                    Emmett Semler(6)


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Bah Humbug

I don't like it, I wouldn't miss it if it went poof, and yet Halloween is a civic duty. The neighbors decorate their houses, and the kids come around and we give out candy. In my town, kids even stand in line for hours to receive candy from local merchants. Yes, I curmudgeonly ungoodnaturedly disapprove of all that candy.

In fact, I like it even less than Scrooge liked Christmas. At least Christmas is ABOUT something. All the candy et cetera have something holy and good at the center of it all. Ditto Easter, Mother's Day, July 4th, and so forth. Even holidays without candy are about something: veterans, civil rights martyrs, the day the British left Boston.

So that's the first thing: it's not about anything except candy and scariness. The scariness is something else I dislike. I hate skeletons and ghosts and witches and death eaters (yes, my grandson was a death eater one year, where a few years earlier he had asked to be a flower). I do scare easily, especially of the big kids who seem to maraud around at the end of the night. In Cambridge, the moped-riders across the street chose Halloween to egg our house, thoroughly because we had asked them to keep the noise down. That'll teach us.

Plus, our neighbor has a big skeleton of a man sitting down holding a skeleton of a dog on a leash that about makes my heart stop every time I turn into my driveway.

On the Internet some posters tried to make up mythological background--some old Druid thing that Christianity took over when they could not stamp it out. But who knows. Our Halloween customs aren't that longstanding, going back maybe two hundred years. How do I know that? Well, like every other thing you see or read on-line you'll just have to accept it because I have typed it.

I would make up a better mythology myself. I would say, it's the day Persephone has to pack her bags and kiss Old Demeter good-bye while she returns to her husband Hades in the underworld. And as she enters there, some of the ghouls and goblins get loose and drift back up to earth for a while.

It's just one of those things you put up with and don't talk about. That's what I mean by civic duty. But here I am talking about it, oh well.


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Poor Relations

In the parking garage beneath
The Club, disembarked from someone-in-the
Family’s Buick,
The woman returning met the girl who left
Unfortunately wearing the same clothes,
Too tight for her midlife waistline and with
Charm bracelets jingling; this was
Before she sold the gold.
They rode up the elevator, of course, how else would they
Ride up; and she handed her coat to
A uniformed maid who cast a jaded glance.

They walked across a totally marble
Atrium. But: “Jack, look, the plants are plastic!!”
Jack her true love,
There’s a tale! He was so alive that day!
She’d do it all again with the stupid-looking dress and
Hateful shoes to walk next to him through the family’s Club,
Slowly, in no hurry to join
The matriarch around that fire I think was real
With various siblings strange brothers-in-law nieces a few strays
Assembled to join the Relations’ favorite
Pastime, drinking.


Composed from 1986 to 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Standing in the checkout line while the nice man was bagging my groceries, I started daydreaming about Odysseus' dog, who recognized his returning master after twenty years of absence. I thought I'd like to find the passage and later, by synchronicity, I did.

"The Death of Argos" appears on pages 90-91 of September 23, 2013, New Yorker, translated by Stephen Mitchell.

Wonderful, wonderful lines in front of Odysseus' palace:

"As they spoke, a dog who was lying there lifted his head
and pricked up his ears. It was Argos, Odysseus' dog;
he had trained him and brought him up as a puppy....
but he had grown old in his master's absence, and now
he lay abandoned on one of the heaps of mule
and cattle dung that piled up... And so the dog Argos lay there,
covered with ticks. As soon as he was aware
of Odysseus he wagged his tail and flattened his ears,
but he lacked the strength to get up and go to his master...."

I was daydreaming and then I read it. Don't you just love the civilized world.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

For Lauren

Hi, I clicked on the image icon, and it opened my desktop to give me files to choose from. I didn't do anything with the photo except choose it from the desktop.

Don't know where I found the art but I liked it so downloaded it.

Good luck,


Friday, August 23, 2013

Not Funny Any More

Past the "what mental alertness?" (See prior blog), I now realize why everybody is frantically trying to do crosswords and get more exercise maybe eat fish, and have garlic for breakfast. Losing large chunks or memory feels like avulsion (look it up). Something I always counted on isn't seriously there any more.

I reflected and realized I'm "still" (our favorite word in old age)--"still" OK with most short-term stuff: remembering I ordered 2 cranberry juices at on-line shopping and only received one; and it just took a second to think why I found myself sitting in this chair in front of a computer screen. But the knowledge thing; especially the nouns part; I'm sad about losing that.

For example, last night it took ten minutes to think of the name for that thing in England made out of the huge rocks that when you pass it on a far highway it you see little tiny people circling the base of it and it's definitely architectural with astronomical implications that perhaps were spiritual at the time--which was a very very long time ago.

When I tried to get help from my very knowledgable (sp?) grandson, he did not know what I was talking about. Ten minutes later when the name came bubbling up, like the "It is decidedly so" message from the 8-ball, the teachable moment had passed.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


From a point high and turning

I see the whole way clear

To my life’s ending;


I must go,

to that point dark and downing. 


Set face and foot there

Urgent to finish well;

To train replacements; eat;

Weep; and ride

Success’s donkey—yes,

Endure that, too, and

Pay attention all the while.