Love Letter #4

Dear Cracker,

Do you remember that night in the lodge, when one of the Chicago quintuplets — was it Leslie? — recited “Hug ‘O War” for the entire girls’ camp?  That took guts.  She got up there all alone, and when she recited “where everybody hugs/instead of tugs,” she wrapped her arms around herself and squeezed so tight.

I read that poem to A. this morning.  When I showed him the line drawing of a boy and girl hugging, I thought of Leslie and summers in Bemidji.  I thought of late-night council fires.  I saw you standing there in the dark, with your foot propped on a log.  I heard the fire crackle.  I saw the flashlight you held a few inches over your Silverstein book.  I heard your voice, interrupted by loons.

I never thanked you for council fires.  Or crossing the stream on Sunday mornings.  Or birch trees.  I never thanked you for Cat Stevens, James Taylor, or Pure Prairie League.  Remember the night Willard played “Amy” on his acoustic guitar?

I still know the story of your nickname.  You were in a relay race, and you were supposed to eat a package of Saltines and whistle.  But you couldn’t whistle.  Why was I so embarrassed about my own nickname?  It was my idea.  You announced it one night in the lodge, standing in front of the microphone, and you were so proud.  You had a full beard that summer, and you wore your white jersey shirt with the green thunderbird over the pocket.

If you still have that shirt, save it for me.

Love,
Crumbs

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One thought on “Love Letter #4

  1. Alison Kothe

    I cannot believe you have been to Bemidji. I thought I was the only person in all of Indiana who has been to Bemidji. I will say that your recollection is quite a bit fonder than my own.

    Reply

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