Tag Archives: Carding Chronicle

About That Ice: A Carding Chronicle

sh-about that iceIt’s been a tough year weather-wise all over Vermont. Last summer was nearly rainless and this winter’s weather has roller-coastered from snow in abundance to the two most dreaded weather words in winter—wintry mix.

For the uninitiated, wintry mix combines snow, snow crystals that look and act like tiny styrofoam balls, sleet, rain and, best of all, freezing rain. In other words, hell in the form of precipitation.

The folks in Carding, like everyone else in Vermont, are not happy about it. Let’s look in on the customers coming in the front door of the Crow Town Bakery to catch up on the latest, shall we?

Welcome to Carding, Vermont where life always includes a dash of the unexpected. Carding is the small town (population 3,700 or so) that no one can seem to find on a map of the Green Mountain State. But you can find it any time, right here in the Carding Chronicles and in the four novels of Carding, Vermont, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, and Lights in Water, Dancing.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to the Chronicle by clicking the link on this page. That way, you’ll never miss a story.

_________________________

“Jeezus!” Gideon Brown gripped the handle of the Crow Town Bakery’s door with both hands as he stepped inside. “I can’t remember the ice on the roads ever being this bad. You can’t keep your truck on the road or your feet on the sidewalk.”

“And that’s after it’s all been plowed, sanded, and salted,” Stephen Bennett said from his position behind the bakery’s counter. “It’s kept folks trapped inside for days now. Even the dogs don’t want to venture out.”

“Oh my gawd,” Edie Wolfe said as she entered with her cocker spaniel, Nearly, at her side. “We were trying to get over to the store but I’m not sure we can get that far without falling.”

Nearly shook then sat down to gaze at Stephen.

“I think the little one is craving a scone,” Gideon observed.

Stephen looked over the counter at the adoring face that Nearly was using on him. “Yeah, that’s his scone face, all right.”

“Whoa, can you believe that ice?” Ruth Goodwin said as she stamped her feet on the bakery’s doormat and then reached down to peel off the spiked attachments to her boots. “I’ll tell ya, the motto of the post office covers only snow and rain. It says nothing about glare ice covering every surface outdoors. There’s some mailboxes I just can’t get to.”

Just then, Crow Town’s waitress extraordinaire, Hillary Talbot, appeared from the back kitchen, a fresh pot of coffee in her hands. She raised it above her head and asked: “Anybody in need of caffeine?”

And so the new day began in the Crow Town Bakery. Every time the door opened, the treachery of the ice was condemned. Tales were told of falls, long lines at the emergency rooms, impassable roads, and the inability to give a dog a good, long walk.

“There’s nothing to play in,”…” Gideon complained to no one and everyone at the same time. “I mean the mountains are making snow—it’s sure cold enough—but if you want to snowshoe or cross-country ski…”

“…or snowmobile or hike…”

“…or even just get across the street…”

“…you gotta shuffle or use ski poles just to stay upright,” Stephen said.

“It’s ridiculous,” Ruth Goodwin declared as she fed bits of her muffin to Nearly.

“So what are we going to do about it?” Gideon asked.

For a moment, dead silence reigned throughout Carding’s favorite restaurant. Stephen shook his head as he tended to a pair of over-easy eggs and waited for an answer from the roused crowd.

“Complain some more?” Edie asked.

“Demand an instant replay of winter with more snow this time?” Ruth suggested.

Silence lapped the edges of the room once more. Outside, one of the town’s lumbering plow trucks slowly negotiated the narrow road that wrapped around the Carding green. Everyone heard the clinking of its tire chains as it passed by.

Then Gideon stretched his empty cup toward Hillary. “I would suggest that we all meet here tomorrow morning and complain again,” he said, “and then count the days until spring.”

Ruth and Edie extended their cups to Hillary. “Sounds like a plan to me,” Ruth said.

________________________

Remember, you can visit Carding any time by scouring the archive of older stories or by reading one of my four Carding novels, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, or Lights in Water, Dancing.

Thanks for stopping by.

About That Ice

It’s been a tough year weather-wise all over Vermont. Last summer was nearly rainless and this winter’s weather has roller-coastered from snow in abundance to the two most dreaded weather words in winter—wintry mix.

For the uninitiated, wintry mix combines snow, snow crystals that look and act like tiny styrofoam balls, sleet, rain and, best of all, freezing rain. In other words, hell in the form of precipitation.

The folks in Carding, like everyone else in Vermont, are not happy about it. Tomorrow, let’s look in on the customers coming in the front door of the Crow Town Bakery to catch up on the latest, shall we?

Welcome to Carding, Vermont where life always includes a dash of the unexpected. Carding is the small town (population 3,700 or so) that no one can seem to find on a map of the Green Mountain State. But you can find it any time, right here in the Carding Chronicles and in the four novels of Carding, Vermont, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, and Lights in Water, Dancing.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to the Chronicle by clicking the link on this page. That way, you’ll never miss a story.

Hope to see you tomorrow.

sh-about that ice

A Case of the Screaming Greenies: A Carding Chronicle

 

SH-screaming greeniesLast week, cases of cabin fever started springing up all over Carding, Vermont. The first “victim” was Ruth Goodwin who had a sudden urge for salad and primroses, a sure sign of that indistinct itchiness that afflicts folks nearing the end of winter.

As folks mope toward the Crow Town Bakery, no one’s quite feeling the love even though it is Valentine’s Day.

Or are they?

Welcome to Carding, Vermont where life always includes a dash of the unexpected. And you can find it any time, right here in the Carding Chronicles and in the four novels of Carding, Vermont, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, and Lights in Water, Dancing.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to the Chronicle by clicking the link on this page. That way, you’ll never miss a story.

—————————

From his perch behind the counter at the bakery he owned with his wife, Stephen Bennett was well placed to study the waves of life undulating through Carding, Vermont.

For example, he could tell you—almost to the minute—when cabin fever had started by noting the radiant color of Amos Handy’s ubiquitous Bermuda shorts. Ordinarily, the town’s favorite eccentric was content with khaki or drab olive. But as the calendar nudged its way into February, Amos changed his hue to cyan and shimmering yellow.

Stephen always wondered where he found them.

Over at Cooper’s General Store, Andy struggled to keep his shelves of produce well-stocked and the large pot of well-spiced chili in the emporium’s take-out section was always drained by the end of the day.

Over at the library, Jane Twitchell  found the teens who lounged among her books rowdier and louder. And the pick-up ice hockey game on the town rink never seemed to stop.

Edie Wolfe had a nickname for all the to-doing during cabin fever time. She called it “screaming greenies.”

“We’ve all been too long without gardens and hiking and leaves on the trees,” she said. “We’ve been spending too much time inside.”

By noon on the day of this story, everyone who had drained into the bakery had a grumpy face. Folks sat in desultory circles, complaining and whining about things that none of them would have noticed if it was spring.

Diana wandered out of the Crow Town’s kitchen, her day’s baking done for the moment. She took one look around the room then sidled over toward her husband.

“It’s supposed to be a rather nice weekend,” she said in a tone calculated to carry to the occupants of the table closest to her. Two pairs of eyeballs swiveled in her direction.

“Yeah, I understand it’s going to be clear and in the low thirties,” Stephen picked up the thread of  Diana’s thought. “Got anything in mind?”

“Well, we haven’t cross-country skied the loop around the lake this winter.”

“True. How would you like to make that a bit more interesting?” Stephen asked.

Some eyebrows rose among their listeners.

“Maybe. What do you suggest?”

“Whoever makes it around the loop fastest gets to sleep in on Sunday morning?”

“If you throw in a couple of muffins and a large coffee, I’ll join your race,” Amos said. “And I challenge you to race in shorts.”

“Ah, that’s no challenge,” Gideon Brown said with a laugh. “By this time in the winter, thirty degrees feels like seventy. We could go out there and play volleyball on the court at the town beach in shorts and never feel it.”

“Volleyball? That sounds like a good idea,” Stephen said. “How about volleyball on snowshoes?”

Everyone laughed at the images that Stephen’s words conjured up. But then they looked at one another in the silence that followed, and in that moment, they sensed a quickening in the room.

“Anyone know where the recreation committee stores the volleyball nets during the winter?” Gideon asked.

“Does anyone know how thick the ice is on the lake?” Ruth Goodwin said. “We could set up a curling circle close to the beach.”

“I was talking to Bob Townsend yesterday,” Gideon said. “He’s got his bob house halfway between the island and the beach and he told me the ice is a good eight inches thick all the way across.”

“How about a couple of campfires so the kids can toast marshmallows and make s’mores?” Edie suggested.

Ruth cupped her bowl of salad in both hands. “We could make a tent city for the littlest ones to play in. String ropes between the trees just a couple of feet off the ground and flop blankets and quilts over them to make houses and tunnels.”

Hillary Talbot, everyone’s favorite waitress, raised her now-empty coffee pot. “We could call it ‘Summer in Snow,’” she suggested.

“Let’s hear it for green,” Ruth said.

As more and more ideas poured out from the crowd, Stephen glanced over at his wife and caught her grinning back at him. 

“So, do you really think you can beat me around the lake on skis?” he asked as he slid his arm around her waist.

“Yeah, I do as a matter of fact,” Diana said. “But quite frankly, I’d rather sleep in with you than without you.”

Stephen sighed. “Well, now that we’ve got this ball rolling, I think we’ve got to be there, don’t you?”

Diana’s grin spread across her face. She could barely hear Stephen because of the hubbub in the bakery. It was a good sound, solid and hopeful instead of weak and whining. She’d lived in Vermont all her life so she accepted the fact that cabin fever was real. You could see it in the strain on people’s faces as they shuffled about in their heavy coats and boots. The isolation and cold got tougher to bear for so many people. The only sure cure was action, preferably in a group, especially a group that liked to laugh.

Suddenly she straightened up. “Hey folks, does anyone have any ideas on how we could construct a temporary warming hut so that we can get the older folks out of their houses so they can watch? I mean, how many times do you get to watch people play volleyball on snowshoes wearing shorts?”

Heads turned toward Amos Handy. There were lots of very skilled folks in Carding but when it came to rummaging and making do, no one had a patch on Amos. He was renowned for his ability to make splendid somethings out of nothing.

His fingers were already moving his beard around, smoothing it and stroking it, a sure sign that an idea was cooking in his head like an egg on Stephen’s griddle.

“It’ll have to have windows and something for a door,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of big replacement windows stored at my house that could do, I think.”

“We can use lawn chairs for seating,” Edie said.

“I’ll bring in the portable heaters that we use on the job site,” Gideon said.

“Okay,” Ruth said, looking up at the clock. “Today’s Thursday which means we’ve only got the rest of today and tomorrow to get this set up. Let’s hustle.”

And just like that, the people of Carding found a cure for their cabin fever.

By the way, Diana did beat Stephen around the lake on skis, but just barely. She enjoyed sleeping in, especially when her husband woke up beside her.


Remember, you can visit Carding any time by scouring the archive of older stories or by reading one of my four Carding novels, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, or Lights in Water, Dancing.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Case of the Screaming Greenies

Last week, cases of cabin fever started springing up all over Carding, Vermont. The first “victim” was Ruth Goodwin who had a sudden urge for salad and primroses, a sure sign of that indistinct itchiness that afflicts folks nearing the end of winter.

As folks mope toward the Crow Town Bakery, no one’s quite feeling the love even though it is Valentine’s Day.

Or are they?

Welcome to Carding, Vermont where life always includes a dash of the unexpected. And you can find it any time, right here in the Carding Chronicles and in the four novels of Carding, Vermont, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, and Lights in Water, Dancing.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to the Chronicle by clicking the link on this page. That way, you’ll never miss a story.

Here’s a sample of tomorrow’s story. Sure hope you’ll stop by.

SH-screaming greenies

Hearts Schmarts: A Carding Chronicle

sh-hearts schmartsJudging by the red and pink displays in the stores around here, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

And so is the peak (pique?) of cabin fever.

To those who know her, Ruth Goodwin is a barometer of cabin fever. She tries to control it, that irresistible itch to do something—anything—different, especially if it involves the color green.

So far, she hasn’t been successful.

Let’s see how she does this year, shall we?

Welcome to Carding, Vermont where life always includes a dash of the unexpected. Carding is the small town (population 3,700 or so) that no one can seem to find on a map of the Green Mountain State. But you can find it any time, right here in the Carding Chronicles and in the four novels of Carding, Vermont, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, and Lights in Water, Dancing.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to the Chronicle by clicking the link on this page. That way, you’ll never miss a story.

——————————————

Ruth Goodwin needs sunlight in her life like a plant needs it for photosynthesis. That’s why there are windows on three sides of her kitchen.

That is where she’s standing now, sipping from a cup filled with her favorite brew, cocoa laced with strong coffee, her own special kind of mocha.

It was early—Ruth is an up-with-the-sun riser by habit and inclination—and she’s standing in the middle of the warming room, her face turned to the east so she can watch the pale wintry glow of the sun ooze into the sky. The light at this time of day—a shade of dusky twilight tinged with silver—was one of her favorites. She’d been taking an online class in watercolors—a secret she shared with no one—and had discovered that capturing the qualities of light like this was on-beyond-difficult.

The fact that so many artists before her had discovered the same thing did not mitigate Ruth’s frustration which is why she kept the class a secret. All the work she’d produced so far was either consigned to the wood stove or tucked into a little-used drawer in her quilting studio.

The sun’s inevitable rise revealed the palest breath of blue in the sky. It was the only color that was not brown or gray or white. Even the pines on the opposite hill looked black.

Ruth sighed and shifted her stance to stare out her western windows. The last vestiges of the passing night still ruled here, but just barely. No color could be seen there, of course.

In her morning ritual, Ruth always saved the panorama to the north for last because it was the longest view. In February, it revealed miles of snow-covered land rolling away in a series of gentle slopes that stretched past the point of no return. 

Ordinarily, that northern perspective calmed Ruth, a daily reminder of why she lived in Vermont. It was always beautiful, no matter the weather or the season.

But by this time of year, it had remained unchanged for too long.

Ruth was an old hand at winter so of course she recognized the symptoms of incipient cabin fever. I know you do, too. It’s that indistinct itchy feeling you get when you’ve been inside too long. What you need is a good long walk in the woods or a visit to an art museum or a shopping trip for something new that you don’t need.

Something—anything—that gets your blood moving.

As Ruth rinsed out her cup in the sink, the sweetened caffeine in her mocha started infusing her nervous system with energy that had nowhere to go. She needed to do something—anything. She thought of several ideas in quick succession but rejected them all because they seemed like too much trouble.

Something, she thought again. I’ve got to do something. Anything is better than this standing around. What I need is a salad, she finally decided. Eating something green and crunchy ought to get the ball rolling.

Since her refrigerator and freezer were full of soup and stuff she’d put by from her gardens back in September, eating salad meant taking a trip to Cooper’s General Store in the center of Carding.

Clad in boots and gloves and a heavy coat with her beagle R.G. by her side, Ruth stamped out to her car and let it warm while she scraped the sparkling morning frost off the windshield.

R.G. helped by planting nose prints on the inside of all the windows as he paced from the front seat to the back seat of Ruth’s yellow Jeep.

The sun was amping up the blue of the sky as Ruth descended the hills toward the center of town. She deliberately took the long-way-round in order to enjoy more of the scenery. The sun was now strong enough to warm the inside of a car and R.G and his person delighted in the glow on their faces.

Ruth returned several waves as she swung around Meetinghouse Road in the center of town. Since she delivered the mail to most of Carding, her bright yellow Jeep was well-known. R.B. added a yip now and then, sensing a lift in Ruth’s spirits.

She parked carefully, making sure her vehicle faced the sun so that her beloved beagle could bask while she shopped.

Andy Cooper always seemed to have a sixth sense about what his customers wanted. Generally speaking, he didn’t waste the space in Cooper’s with paper and plastic gewgaws that thumped his customers over the head with whatever holiday was next on the calendar. He carried a few green and red items at Christmas and scarecrows at Halloween. But most of his store was dedicated, in Andy’s words, to “stuff real people can really use.”

So Ruth found a pile of carrots and cauliflower just inside the front door. Plastic boxes of mixed greens cuddled up to tomatoes that Ruth doubted had ever seen a garden. But in Vermont in February, they would do.

She had a good chatter with Corker Smith who was stocking wine in a far corner at the back of the store. It was a place that Corker had chosen specifically for this task because it was out of the sun but near the cheese. 

Ruth’s morning continued to get better with every interaction and every vegetable. She was just starting to smile when she came around the last corner of the last aisle. There, in a rather artistically inclined display, was a small pyramid of candy hearts under a colorful umbrella next to a turnstile of heart-strewn cards in every shade of red and pink known to humankind.

Ruth stopped short. It wasn’t so much that she disliked Valentine’s Day. As made-for-consumer holidays go, it wasn’t the worst offender of her waste-not-want-not sensibilities. That designation belonged to the repugnant “Black Friday” shopping scream on the day after the best holiday of them all—Thanksgiving.

It was just that Ruth was not a big fan of the color pink. She blamed that circumstance on her mother, Enid, who never let a day go by without wearing a pink something-or-other. If that wasn’t bad enough, Enid had insisted on frilling out her only daughter with pink skirts and pink sweaters, shirts, and even shoes.

The other kids noticed, of course, and christened Ruth with the nickname Pinky, a sobriquet that stuck to her until she was in her mid-teens and buying her own clothes. She hadn’t worn the color pink since. 

She stood there, hands gripping her cart full of green salad fixings along with a container of pesto and another of guacamole, huffing at the pinkish display. 

“Something wrong, Ruth?” Andy Cooper asked as he trundled up the aisle lugging an open container filled with small pots of primroses.

“Heart schmarts!” Ruth’s voice shuddered with revulsion. She grabbed two pots of primroses and placed them in her cart. “What we need is flowers!!”

———————————–

Remember, you can visit Carding any time by scouring the archive of older stories or by reading one of my four Carding novels, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, or Lights in Water, Dancing.

Thanks for stopping by.

Hearts Schmarts

Judging by the red and pink displays in the stores around here, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

And so is the peak (pique?) of cabin fever.

To those who know her, Ruth Goodwin is a barometer of cabin fever. She tries to control it, that irresistible itch to do something—anything—different, especially if it involves the color green.

So far, she hasn’t been successful.

Let’s see how she does this year, shall we? Here’s a sample of tomorrow’s story, the first of two parts, about Ruth Goodwin and her battle for an oasis of green in the gray world of February.

Remember, you can subscribe to the Carding Chronicles any time by clicking the magic button on this page. That way, the weekly Chronicles will appear in your inbox without any further effort (except for the reading. of course) on your part.

sh-hearts schmarts

Life Lessons: A Carding Chronicle

sh-life lessonsYears ago, in a conversation with a friend about families and family relationships, she observed that everyone should have a cool aunt or uncle in their lives.

A cool aunt or uncle is someone who understands your family’s dynamics, will listen without judging, and keep those conversations confidential.

In the Bennett family—Diana, Stephen, Will and Faye—the cool uncle role is played by Diana’s twin brother, Dan.

Something’s troubling the two Bennett teenagers so they’ve turned to Uncle Dan for advice.

Welcome to Carding, Vermont where life always includes a dash of the unexpected. Carding is the small town (population 3,700 or so) that no one can seem to find on a map of the Green Mountain State. But you can find it any time, right here in the Carding Chronicles and in the four novels of Carding, Vermont, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, and Lights in Water, Dancing.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to the Chronicle by clicking the link on this page. That way, you’ll never miss a story.


Dear Uncle Dan,

A month into the New Year and I’m already wishing we could fast-forward into next year. I hope your start to 2019 in New York has been better than mine here in Carding. 

Last weekend, I went to a party at the base lodge on Mount Merino with a bunch of friends for some night skiing and it turned into a nightmare. The ice around here has been bad (it seems like all we get is freezing rain) and I came home with a sprained wrist (I fell in the parking lot—can you believe it) and no boyfriend.

Actually, the no-boyfriend part happened first.

Sigh.

My wrist (it’s my left) is doing okay. I didn’t break anything but it sure is swollen. Right now I’m typing with one hand on the keyboard and the other wrapped in an ice bag. 

Mom thinks I should go back to school tomorrow but I’m arguing for a stay of execution for a couple of more days because my wrist starts to hurt—a lot—if I go for more than an hour without ice. Besides, Suzanna and a couple of other friends have offered to video all my classes and bring my homework here so I won’t miss much.

Plus I’ll be able to fast-forward through the boring parts of my English teacher’s lectures on Moby Dick. Whale killing is so not my thing. Plus, If I want to read about madmen chasing white whales, I can read the news.

So now I know that Brian Lambert is a rat and I don’t think my brother is much better. Brian and his family went over to Martha’s Vineyard to visit his grandparents for the holidays and while they were there, Brian looked up the girlfriend he had left behind when his family moved to Vermont and they started dating again.

Wil’s known about this for the weeks but he never said anything to me, his little sister, even after I asked him straight to his face if something was wrong with Brian. So imagine how shocked I was to walk into the base lodge and see him holding hands with another girl.

Suzanna tells me that the punch I landed bruised Brian’s cheek pretty good. But that’s a small consolation.

What he did to me was humiliating. That’s the real reason I don’t want to go back to school yet. Please don’t tell Mom that I’m being a baby. 

Sorry to cut this short but I can tell it’s time for more acetaminophen. I know I’m wallowing but sometimes I think that wallowing in self-pity is the only sensible response to life, don’t you?

I’ll be better soon, I promise.

But in the meantime, Brian Lambert and my brother Wil are rats.

Love,
Faye

*******

Dear Uncle Dan,

I know that my sister emailed you this morning because I saw it on her laptop. I’m hoping you’ll listen to my side of the story before making up your mind that I’m a rat (which is the nicest thing Faye has called me all week). I’ve never seen her quite this angry before and I could use some advice on how to calm her down.

I know she’s hurt and I don’t blame her for feeling that way. But I got caught between her and a promise to my best friend and now I know why Dad says that “no one ever thanks the person in the middle.”

Brian Lambert’s a great guy. We’ve been friends ever since his family moved to Carding last year. He and Dave Muzzy and I are making plans to travel after we graduate from high school. Brian wants to draw and paint and make art and Dave’s a math whiz. (We all figure he’ll be coding in some tech company sooner or later.) As for me, I have no idea what I want to do with my life which is why I want to travel with my friends for a while and figure it out.

Brian’s had a hard time of it ever since he moved away from Martha’s Vineyard. He was born there and all his family (except his parents and sister) is there (I think he’s got about a million cousins on the island) which is why he’s felt so lost since he came to Vermont.

I don’t know this for sure but I think he latched onto Faye on the rebound after breaking up with his girlfriend on the Vineyard. He likes Faye a lot but you know how ferocious she is and how smart she is. I’ve heard guys say that that kind of scares.

I don’t understand it myself but then I’ve always thought she’s one of the funniest people on the planet. If you just roll with her, you’ll have a good time.

Anyway, Brian’s been fighting with his father for months now over where (and if) he’s going to go to college. Faye’s been terrific about listening to him but she’s pretty blunt that Brian should just do what he really wants to do and just tell his father that.

As if that’s easy.

Maybe it sounds lame to say but I think Brian got back together with his old girlfriend—her name’s Sheila—because she always goes along with whatever he says. No pressure.

Brian told me about Sheila as soon as he got back to Vermont and made me promise not to say anything to Faye because he wanted to handle it himself. Which was fine by me. (Delivering a break-up message to my little sister was not high on my list of things to do, believe me). 

But Brian didn’t follow through.

Which left me caught in the middle because Faye figured out pretty quick that’s something’s different and asked me what was going on and I didn’t feel I could say anything.

To make matters even worse, Sheila showed up this weekend—SURPRISE!—and Faye caught her holding Brian’s hand at a party.

That’s when I became a rat.

It doesn’t do any good to say “shoulda-woulda-coulda” but can you tell me where I messed up? And do you have any advice on how to get Faye to stop hating me?

Okay, enough whining from me. How are you doing? Any chance I could come visit you in New York during spring break?

Love,
Wil

***

Dear Wil,

I’ve always thought your Dad is one of the most sensible people I know so his advice about never getting in the middle is sound. That being said, however, you got stuck between Brian and Faye when Brian failed to follow through on his plan to speak honestly with your sister. 

That doesn’t mean Brian’s a bad guy. Breaking up IS hard to do. But his cowardice turned short-term pain into something more harsh and unnecessarily humiliating for your sister.

Even though I don’t think you’re a rat, I can understand why Faye’s angry with you. 

This situation ended up making you both feelbetrayed—you by Brian and Faye by you. 

So I have a question to ask you: If you were far away from home and needed help, which of them—Faye or Brian—do you think you could rely on to stand by you?

I think you’ll find the answers to your questions in the answer to my question. From there, it should be clear what you need to do to remedy this situation.

In my experience, loyalty should never be blind. But over time, it should be consistently shared with the folks in our lives who have earned it.

You’ll figure this out, Wil. In fact, I believe you already have.

Love,
Uncle Dan

P.S. I would love to have you visit me in NYC on spring break.

***

Dear Faye,

Don’t be too hard on Wil. I believe he got caught in a situation before he realized it was going to be a situation. He’s figuring it out. Watch and see what he does and go from there. 

It is always a good idea to judge people by their actions, not their words. Actions are a more reliable indicator of a person’s character.

I think that Brian can be easily left behind to learn his own life lessons. Wallow in self-pity a bit longer if you must, but don’t let it drag on too long.

Love,
Uncle Dan


Remember, you can visit Carding any time by scouring the archive of older stories or by reading one of my four Carding novels, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, or Lights in Water, Dancing.

Thanks for stopping by.