Saturday, August 27, 2016

Family Dialects

Moving from 1900 square feet in Harpursville, NY to 1000 square feet in Pagosa Springs, CO means opening a lot of boxes and doing triage on what to keep. Part of this process is, for me, unsealing boxes of records and memorabilia from my dad's estate (he died in 2005) and finally rifling through it.

My dad kept many letters from family members--including a host that were from his parents' storage. So I find myself reading letters from my great aunt Louisa to her brother, my grandfather. Grandpa Tyler's name was George (Horsley), but when writing, Louisa never addressed him as such. Her name for him was "Keats." It took me some time to figure out who the players were, because Aunt Louisa always signed her letters to him "Weed."

I think "Keats" stuck to Grandpa because he fancied himself a poet, or at least enough to have impressed his little sister. "Weed" stuck to Louisa not for the reasons one humorously suspects in 2016 Colorado, but probably because she was a younger sister but growing fast.

Weed signed her correspondence to Keats "Siempre, Weed"--reflecting another facet of the Tyler side of the family: a love of many languages. It is not uncommon in correspondence between my dad, his siblings, their parents, and their extended family, to find postcards written entirely in French or German. And it is very common to see phrases or sentences appear in any one of a number of foreign languages, certainly marking some inside family or personal experience.

I won't be saving most of these letters, but I hope to be able to savor them as I bring them out of the earth of storage. The process will be long--the Tyler family was known for its archiving ability. But c'est la vie!

~ emrys

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Vulcanized Angels

Maybe it was the excellent service rendered to me by local family-business mechanics in Harpursville for almost a decade, who also had a pretty relaxed attitude about worn parts. Maybe it was my suspicion that chain/franchise tire shops just want to sell tires. But I was skeptical when the mechanic at Firestone told me, "A few more minutes and you'll have cable sticking out of your tire. You need a new set."

If true, that's a little scary. I'm not a fan of tires blowing out under me.

So that you can judge for yourself, here's what my tires looked like:
See that bald strip on the inside? Close to the cables coming out?

I decided to bet on the rest of the tread and wait a little bit before getting new tires. So I drove it from New Hampshire to western Colorado: about 2200 miles. No flat tires, no blowouts, no cables sticking out.

Thank you Lord of vulcanized angels, keeping us safe on the road!

Now that we're here in Colorado to stay, I bought four new all-seasons. Chains for the mountain passes: coming soon!

~ emrys