Family, Family Matters, Friendship, Travel

Lilibet and Me

File:1729 map of Venice by Homannsche Erben.jpgAlmost two decades ago now, my stepdaughter and I spend a delightful ten days in Venice, on a trip organized by my sister on behalf of her “beading guild” (my sister is a world-class beader) in the UK.  My sister, for those of you who don’t know us, is marvelously organized, and an exceptionally good traveling companion.  My stepdaughter is much the same.  I, OTOH, simply go along to get along, and enjoy the fruits of their labors, and racket about where and when it suits me.

Many of those traveling to Venice were strangers to each other, so before we departed on our journey, my sister asked each lady who’d be participating to write a short prospectus, introducing herself to the others who’d be on the trip with us. (See remark above about how “organized” she is, LOL.)

Jenny and I decided we’d write on each other’s behalf.

Here’s what I wrote about her:

Jenny is the ultimate Survivor, especially as it relates to expeditions various family members have undertaken over the years.

Our jaunt in New Hampshire (when I first became acquainted with a standard transmission, amid the highest mountain peaks in the Eastern US—thank God for the kind man who let me drift back down onto his bumper during a particularly bad ‘starting on a hill’ moment) was representative of many family vacations over the years and it was the first time I noticed Jenny’s resilience in the face of this kind of adversity. As we shuddered and bounced up hill and down dale, she was prone to squealing “Whee!!! This is better than Kennywood!” Over the 25+ intervening years, I, and the rest of family have learned that Jenny’s the person to have around when you:

  • Want to shear a sheep
  • Need to build a grain bin
  • Are stuck in a snow storm on a dangerous mountain pass somewhere in Colorado in the middle of the night
  • Have to give a cat a pill
  • Need to paint a house (perhaps more than once)
  • Need to deliver a breech-birth lamb in the middle of a howling gale (ask about the hay bale, the Crisco oil and the 5lb bag of sugar). Together we could drastically bring down the cost of obstetrical care on several continents . . .
  • Need a good seat in a restaurant
  • Want to throw a Superbowl party, or when you’re looking to
  • Find a killer Su-Doku player
  • Figure out what to do with half-a-dozen ill-assorted ingredients when it’s time to make dinner
  • Find someone who’ll go with you for a hot-stone massage
  • Are tired and sore on a hike where you didn’t bring a)an extra pair of socks, b)the band aid (elastoplast) you really need for your blistered foot or c)a bottle of champagne to make you feel better
  • Are anywhere that you don’t speak the language and need someone to approach a young man for assistance . . .

She could be Indiana Jones. She is the ultimate Survivor.

I pale by comparison. I live on a farm with Frank (Jenny’s dad), Sam (Jenny’s brother) and an assortment of sheep, goats, dogs, cats and rabbits, most of which are rescues or strays. (I may or may not be including the humans in these categories . . . ). I work at the local Hospital, in the computer department, and I ALWAYS have bed-head and I HAVE worn two different shoes, and my blouse inside-out, to an important meeting, more that once. But that’s not the worst ‘important meeting’ episode. Ask me about the fleas . . .

I guess I am a survivor too. (After all, consider my family, those of you that know them.)
I am so looking forward to this jaunt, and can’t wait to renew friendships with some of you, and meet those of you I don’t know yet, not to mention spend some time with my indefatigable (sp?) sister.

Here’s what she wrote about me:

Please allow me to recommend [RightWingKnitJob] as a highly qualified candidate for travelling companion.  Travelling companions must be flexible, easy-going, and open to new ideas.

[RWKJ] is very flexible. I have seen this many times as she slid halfway down her own icy hill-side as she was trying to feed several of her bunnies and kitties in the dead of winter, while wearing pajamas and slippers.

[RWKJ] is also easy-going.  Several times when we have traveled together she has found it very easy to be going in the wrong direction, which is how we have happened to meet so many nice people in the world. It’s also why I carry a bottle of whiskey in my purse.

The whiskey is clearly why we’re both so open to new things. Especially to new bottles of whiskey. What was the question?

Furthermore, and in closing, I have only two more things to say. One, she’s married to Dad. That means she needs a vacation. Someone should go with her.  She needs it.

Also, she puts up with me AND sometimes writes letters from the personae of some of the aforementioned bunnies and/or kitties. What could be better than having a travelling companion who, while lost someplace with you, will share a nice stiff drink and then help you write postcards home in the voice of a cantankerous rabbit with tooth problems? Who else would do that? Now that’s a  great time. And certainly memorable.  Isn’t that what everyone wants from their trip?

Well, there you have it.

Who else would do that? (“Help you write postcards home in the voice of a cantankerous rabbit with tooth problems?”)

Well, perhaps the Queen of England,** that’s who.

I was charmed, the other day, to read that, in her younger days, Queen Elizabeth wrote ‘wickedly funny’ letters to royal staff member’s dogs–from her corgis.

That’s my girl.

And in that spirit, I offer you the epic discussion that took place between me and Oliver (the afore-mentioned, very stroppy, rabbit with tooth problems), following one of our–as-usual–epic tussles.  (Click on the little bugger’s photo to open the PDF):



**”Lilibet” is the Queen’s nickname for herself, used only by close family members and those who remember her very early childhood lisping attempts to pronounce her name: Elizabeth.



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