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(To start from the beginning, check out the Meet Me by the Gate tab.)

July 11

Item # 40 – Pink floral china

Logan, my darling boy,

I hope you aren’t reading this until you are an old man with children and grandchildren, ready to retire with a wonderful wife. But if things don’t turn out the way I hope, I want you to have the pink floral china my mother and I brought back from Europe. And when you are married, I want you to use them often. Those dishes were never used enough.

***

 Charlie has been scarce most of the day. I guess he took my suggestion to get back to work to heart. It’s good for him. He needed to think about something else for a while. It wasn’t long before Allie stopped by. Without Ladies’ Guild, I guess she has time on her hands.

The painting in front of me was of Allie, not today’s Allie, the seven-year-old Allie. The dark lawn in the painting was forested with trees. Evening had set and fireflies flickered among the trees. At the edge of the canvas, just in the corner was the face of a little girl with red pig tails peering over the edge of the canvas. You could only see the top half of her head and her eyes. But those eyes told you a hundred stories of mischief.

“Remember when you left for college, it was just me and Grandma?” she was saying, peering over my shoulder much like the girl in my picture.

Allie picked up a bottle of water and sprayed herself in the face. How could someone look so glamorous and be so clumsy?

“I remember. You missed me so much you never wrote me.”

“Grandma was so sad. I hadn’t really noticed it until you left. When we lost our Mom, she lost her baby, her only child,” said Allie.

I hadn’t thought of what it must have been like for Grandma to watch her daughter get sick and die.

“I became her distraction,” Allie continued. “We’d grab copies of the latest fashion magazines and sit around in the evenings trying to decide which outfit to make next. She’d get out brown paper grocery bags and we piece together a pattern. It was amazing what she could do. Her creations looked like they came from the magazines. I’d try them on and she’d take pictures. I still have those pictures.”

She paused for a moment, staring out the window.

“I never knew.”

“That’s when I found my talent, my appearance. It’s all I really am. I know it deep down inside. I’ve made the best of what I had because I had nothing else,” she said.

“Allie, you’re more than looks.”

I wanted to tell her as long as she believed that, it would be true. The minute she realized she was more, she would be.  It sounded like something your mother or sister would say.

But Logan came bounding in as only a ten-year-old boy can.

“Hey Logan,” Allie called, “Are you going to visit your Dad or are you stuck with Granny Liv all summer?”

“Allie.”

Livia’s eyes narrowed. I’m sure Liv was not a nickname she wanted to encourage, let alone Granny.

“I didn’t realize you were here,” Livia continued.

“Cami says if she wanted a little bastard around, she would have had one of her own.”

I was shocked to hear that kind of language coming out of Logan’s mouth. I knew his new stepmom didn’t like children, but she needed to watch her language.

“Who’s Cami?” Livia asked, suddenly perking up.

“The latest replacement unit,” Allie explained. “She’s a socialite wanna be. You know her, she just joined the Guild.”

“Did she? And she called Logan a little bastard, did she?”

Livia’s eyebrow rose at a dangerous level while she drummed her finger nails on the table.

“I think Cami’s about to find Ladies Guild more difficult than she ever imagined,” Livia said, smiling at Allie.

The two of them conspiring together was a bit scary, but I was a happy to learn that Cami’s life was going to get more difficult.

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- (7)

This picture has nothing to do with the post. Just liked it.

I’ve been thinking about the amnesty tax credit thing. I’ll catch you up just in case. There’s an illegal alien amnesty program being bantered around the U.S. If you’re from certain countries, you can claim amnesty to stay in the United States.

In addition, you’ll get a social security number which will give you the right to vote in U.S. elections even though you aren’t a citizen. You’ll also be allowed to collect the tax credit which is $6,000 per year. The program allows you to collect for this year plus the last 3 years for a total of $24,000 tax free.

Never one to give up twenty four thousand tax free dollars, I’ve come up with a plan. I think I should renounce my U.S. citizenship and get a new one from one of the countries included in the amnesty program. Then claim amnesty thus securing my own twenty four thousand tax free dollars.

Now I just need to decide on a country. I don’t speak Spanish which may narrow my options. And then I want to do from the comfort of my home, preferably still in my pajamas.

Yes, I am lazy and greedy. Any suggestions?

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