E-mail.  It’s taken over my life, it’s probably taken over yours, too.  But I love it.  I love that it doesn’t ring or vibrate, I love that I can rank it in my inbox by importance, I love that I can file it away without even having read it, I love that I can attend to it, reply to it, or trash it on my own sweet time.   I love that I don’t have to listen to it, nor write down important information from it.  I love that if the subject matter doesn’t interest me – insert any number of vitriolic forwards focusing on the various inadequacies of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Barbara Streisand here – I can simply delete it without having to feign interest or without being drug into a conversation I don’t want to have.

And I really love how e-mail has brought my family closer together in a way that would have been difficult a generation ago.  My immediate family all lives in Montana these days, but that was not the case until last spring – prior to June, they were scattered around the Southeast, and I was in Montana.  My immediate extended family prefers to call Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina home, but there have been times when beloved cousins have lived in exotic locales like Bahrain, Baghdad, and San Francisco.  E-mail enables us to reach out to each other as frequently or infrequently as we may desire, at relatively no cost.  E-mail even enables those of us who do not “e-mail” to receive e-mails from other family members through the phone lines, though replying in a similar fashion is impossible.  Sometimes I think those family members have it figured out – all the information, angst, and entertainment, without the pressure of replying with adequate pith, sympathy, or advice?   That simply sounds ideal!

Most recently, I’ve enjoyed an e-mail string related to a certain highchair.  No, I’ve not sought out recommendations on what best to feed It’ll in, when s/he reaches that delicious, messy stage in life.  Rather, on my dad’s side of the family, we’ve been discussing this particular highchair:

That’s me, in all my well-fed glory, enjoying learning about the finer points of dining in The Highchair.  Sidenote: it must have been water-the-plants-day at Blackstone Farms – my mother did not normally keep a small greenhouse in her kitchen sink.

You may remember that I am the eldest of three, and yet you may notice how well loved The Highchair already appears in this photograph.  As it turns out, my dad and his two brothers had already done a fine job breaking it in, during the ’50s.

And, as I further discovered in the e-mails regarding The Highchair, before I arrived on the scene, my darling cousins, Will and Tyler, had also spent some quality time in The Highchair.

Sidenote: Notice that I apparently enjoyed The Highchair so much that I even acquired rolls of fat on my feet.  Which may or may not be making a reappearance these days.

Here I am with my aunt Sissy and The Highchair.

Sidenote: Remember the post on the candlesticks I did awhile back?  There they are, long before they ever dreamed I might grow up to be a candlemaker and haul them to trade shows around the Mountain Standard Time Zone.  Appropriately, they appear to be fitted with beeswax candles.

And here, a couple of years later, is Howard, beginning his culinary training in The Highchair.

Sidenote: Over e-mail, my parents and I laughed over the fact that no pictures of Brother Dear in The Highchair appear to exist.  Ah, a classic Middle Child Moment!  Poor Brother Dear.  Though as my mom noted, Brother Dear never liked to be too far away from her, and probably never sat in The Highchair, but always on her lap.  He’s always been devoted to her.  And devotion is easy when you have a mama like ours.

Howard was a much cuter baby than I.  No foot fat rolls, either.

At any rate, why were we discussing The Highchair, no matter its longevity, functionality, or cute-now-antique decal?

Because my dear daddy spent a good portion of his Whitefish Winter refinishing The Highchair for It’ll.  And he did a mighty fine job – I must say that The Highchair looks far better now than it ever did when my brothers and I were tiny.  I’m sure The Highchair was recalled long ago, likely because the manufacturers figured out that it would actually last for multiple generations, and I’m looking forward to introducing It’ll to the delights of squash’n’onions, turnip greens, and yes, Honeydew, elk stew within its confines.

Thanks, Dad.  And I’ll be replying to that e-mail you sent me later today.

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