Another unusual week |

Another unusual week

It started with my friend Brandy and her husband Troy coming to our home early one afternoon. Brandy is my friend who grooms our puppies. It’d been planned that we’d go out to eat somewhere after Molly and Riley were all “prettied” up. However, I thought it’d be nice if I cooked something instead.

What was so unusual was the first thing Brandy asked was if I’d heard from my little friend Ana lately? Believe it or not, sitting on our cocktail table was a letter I’d just received from my New York friend. If you’re a new reader of my column, you may not know the story of my little Ana. It’s a very unusual tale. This story began about four years ago.

I‘d just opened a large brochure advertising what was being planned by a local group. As I pulled it open, a small pale blue envelope fell out. It was obviously a personal letter that hadn’t been opened, or posted. It was from a New York resident to another New York resident. All I could think of was what in the world is this thing doing inside a brochure about Fallon events.

I thought, “How in the world did it get inside there?” I did a little calling around town. Nobody knew a thing about that little blue envelope. At first I thought I’d simply put it in the mail. However, I remembered how some years ago I’d received a letter mailed from Reno two years before. It might be very confusing for the recipient to wonder how that envelope got a Reno cancellation stamp on it.

Instead of doing that, before mailing it, I sat down and wrote a letter explaining what had happened. A couple of weeks later I got a sweet letter from little Ana, who at that time, was just eight years old. What followed became a very pleasant association and friendship with my little friend and her family from New York. Included in my most recent letter with an Easter greeting,

Ana wrote about what was happening in her area of New York and about a couple of trips she’d taken. First, she was at Lake Placid, where she said it was very cold, and then vacationed in sunny Florida. Her family, which includes a sister, went to Sea World and the Clearwater Aquarium in Tampa. Ana said it was great to see the dolphins’ “Winter” star of the movie “Dolphin Tale” and “Hope” that was in another movie.

Ana got to feed them dead fish that she said were very smelly. As a result, when they went to eat at the restaurant next to the aquarium, she didn’t want to eat any fish.

Back home in New York, the day she wrote her latest letter, it was snowing again. However, the thick snow on their lawn had begun to melt. They had a blanket of snow from Christmas until the middle of March.

Ana’s complaint was that it was simply too cold, even for New York most of the time, for really enjoy any snow sports. Her family must have had a long trip because, while in Florida, they stayed at the Plantation Hotel on Crystal River where they had to put on wetsuits to get in the water to swim in the wild with manatees. They also managed a trip to Homosassa Springs to see the wildlife.

My son Doug was busy reading Ana’s letter, as I got busy cooking something for dinner with our friends. I thought it’d be easy to make a pot of chili, and got busy defrosting some hamburger. That done, it was chopping onions and as these two items were turning the right color in the pan, I went looking for the rest of the ingredients I knew I would need. It was a disaster.

I didn’t have any stewed tomatoes and the dry mix I usually use was not available. Using some creative juices, I found frozen chili sauce I’d made previously. I added that and some chopped tomatoes. Then I found a recipe using chili powder and other “stuff” to complete the dish. Thank goodness, I thought, at least I did have some beans. Brandy and Troy came and the puppies got their grooming, but my friends couldn’t stay.

One of them had a doctor’s appointment. So much for plans. Doug and I enjoyed the chili. It turned out pretty good, considering I didn’t have the ingredients I usually use.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County columnist and may be reached at