phee & nels



You’re lucky,” I start in on my daughter. She just says, “I know,” so I drop it.

But I was thinking, looking at her. She’s reading some high-end comic books loaned by a friend. She’s snuggled into a new bed of her own, piled high with blankets, down comforters, and a homemade quilt. A single candle flickers on her dresser, a room of her own full of books and artwork. Not one but two purring felines on her lap. I’m thinking, Phoenix’s childhood is full of love, friends, comforts, adventure, and tender loving care. It is the childhood I would have wanted for myself, although admittedly while Ralph and I were building this life of ours we were often concerned with other aims and distracted by our own maladies.

A couple hours ago and my husband and I are sitting alongside one another, watching the kids pile up plate after plate at the buffet and salad bar lines in a dining establishment. Ralph and I are in agreement – although we only pass a word or two between us – it is wonderful to watch our children enjoying this particular restaurant experience. Serving themselves macaroni, pickles, pizza, fruit, roasted vegetables, our son ordering his own steak exactly the way he wants it from the grill kiosk. More delightful still, the dessert area features a chocolate fondue fountain. “I have quite the appetite today,” Nels informs us briskly. Our children return to FondueLand more than once; they take up bamboo skewers and apply the hot chocolate to pastries, marshmallows, and fruit.

Thus employed, Nels arrives at the table with his newest creation – one marshmallow freshly coated with chocolate, another ala carte. He is trying to make some sort of confectionery sculpture before devouring it. However, he has not been quick enough in his construction. The fondue chocolate has hardened, and the bare marshmallow will not adhere.

Chocblocked,” my daughter says archly, and we all laugh and my eyes tear up at sheer perfection.

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