Letters to Grams: The Dance

July 6
Loriwen Snowberry, 6 Long Street, Wildore, Bree-land

Grams!

Everything went wonderfully at the dance. The weather was fair, the musicians played, people loved the ale and food, and I didn’t fall in the mud. It was a lovely night, and the fireworks were an unexpected treat! I don’t remember anyone mentioning them before, so that made the night all the much better. People liked my ale more than I thought they would. Then again, last I made it, I added the basil to it. This wasn’t that, just regular blackberry ale. Blueberry, too! For those who wanted a more mild brew. I thought ahead, not wanting to get the more fragile ladies drunk. That would be no good.

Ah, so many wonderful dancers were there. It was a beautiful sea of twirling dresses and laughter. The fact that it began at dusk made it more of a dream than anything. That’s my favorite time of day, you know. The morning is nice because you have the whole day ahead of you, but some say that the world seems to get a little foggy around the edges at dusk, a bit like you’re floating in a dream. I tend to like that way of thinking about it. That’s how the entire night felt to me. I’m still waiting to wake up.

I actually danced. Well, as much a dance as I’ll ever manage to do without falling down and breaking something. It wasn’t much of anything, just some arms wrapped around the other and some movement, but.. it was something. More than I’ve ever done before! Dancing is a funny thing, at least to someone as clumsy as me. It requires you, normally, to pay attention to your feet, keep what would be a proper distance between you, and talk. All at the same time! You know, I may actually consider taking Rosie up on those lessons. She and Course looked absolutely lovely when they were dancing. Very happy, but then again, being newly married will do that to you! At least, I’d hope so. Ah, being able to dance like that, without falling over or hurting anyone is just a dream for me at this point. Then again, the night was such a dream, why can’t I continue it? I’ll think about it.

I imagine I sound aflutter. Well, I am. Things were said that night that I didn’t expect for quite some time. Do you know how you have a moment in your head, the perfect moment that you play over and over in your mind? Something you build up in your head, this grand explosion of truth? Well, it didn’t happen. Not the way I thought it would. Now that it’s happened, though, I don’t care about that perfect moment. The moment that really happened is what’s perfect now, because that’s what actually happened. I keep replaying this scene over and over. I can’t believe it’s real. It’s funny, how so many perceptions can change in the span of a second: a single phrase is all it takes to transform a bumbling courting into a bumbling relationship. Ah, this is all too soon. Too soon, Grams. Too soon, and I’m having trouble getting myself to care that it is.

Everything seems easier when we’re together. When he holds me close, I close my eyes and everything else melts away. When he kisses me, the world disappears. I don’t even remember to breathe half the time! How I wish you were here. All my friends are younger and more impulsive than I’m trying to be, it’s difficult to get sound advice from them. One of them was trying to convince me to sleep with him within two weeks of meeting both him and her! Another blushed and admitted her courtship was far too short by old standards. The only friend I have who is really of my age is him. That doesn’t help much, now does it?

Ah, well. I suppose I am well and truly on my own in this. All I know is that I’m just not ready for children. No way, no how. Me? Children? Such a scary notion, I think. I’ve gotten better, I really have. But children? I’m not nearly steady enough in my everyday life to really even consider such a thing! I mean, I have, but who hasn’t on some level? He brings them up quite a bit on his own, it’s a little scary. He seems to be concerned I’m under the impression I’m too old to bear a child. For a surety, I know that isn’t the case! Mother was how old when she had me? At least around my age, I think.. maybe older? I can’t remember. I do wish Dad talked about her more. Let’s not re-open that wound, though, shall we? The point is…children scare me. A lot. I like them well enough, but to be responsible for one? No. Not yet. I need to able to look inside myself and feel it. Something’s holding me back, it doesn’t feel right. Is that normal? Am I supposed to want a child by this time? Because I don’t! I want to want a child, but I don’t. I hope that’s alright.

Well, it will just have to be. That’s not something I am going to be coerced into agreeing with. No point in worrying about it now, I’ll speak with a friend of mine about it in a few days. She’s a smart woman, she’ll know something. Pregnant, herself! A bit off, but I can see a lot of sweetness in her. Helvia’s her name, married herself a Gondorian named Guradan. Haven’t met him, but he sounds like quite the sweet man from what she’s told me so far! It’ll be nice to finally meet him one day. Ah, but I should be going. I need to clean my house again. I was so worried about the dance and my dress being ready and the ales being perfect and everything else that I outright forgot to clean. Not much is more embarrassing than being greeted by your escort in a dirty house. Nothing to be done about it now, he didn’t seem to mind much. I will clean house today, and figure out a good time to see my friend.

Goodbye, Grams. I visit Dad this Friday. I’ll tell him “hello” for you.

Your pumpkin,
Lori


Letters to Grams: Stars!

June 28
Loriwen Snowberry, 6 Long Street, Wildore, Bree-land

Stars!

Oh, Grams. Stars! I’ve never professed a love of them before tonight, but how I wish to proclaim it this late night. I had just finished draining my bath, was settling in to relax for the late evening.. and a knock at the door! Tarlanc showed up, quite unexpectedly, dressed up all fancy. He even brought a bottle of wine from far away to share. He wanted to get my approval of his outfit for Friday. The dance, that is. Such a silly notion, of course. He could show up to the dance wearing a dirty and ripped farming outfit, for all I care. It was a wonderful sight to see, particularly when it was unlooked for! He even had someone else cut his hair and trim his beard. It was a bit of a funny sight, me being so used to seeing him unruly and roughly kempt. He kept hinting at seeing my dress, but I held firm. He shall not see it until Friday!

We shared mugs of wine, given that I have no interesting glasses or anything of the sort. Too easily breakable, don’t hold enough liquid. Leastways, that’s how I’m seeing it. It was quite a peculiar wine, from distant Forochel. He said it was…ice wine? Ice wine, yes. Cooled the body, which is always good on a late summer day. It reminded me of winter, with the fresh, clean and cold taste it had. Apparently he has a second bottle stashed away, and he said he’d keep it until winter comes around. To compare, that is. I still can’t believe Tarlanc has never seen a winter. To only have seen snow from a distance? Ah, what a shame! While it can be a bit too cold for me at times, snow is still dreadfully fun to play in. We’re going to try to create some snow-fish when the first snows fall. That will be a day to remember, just as tonight is.

Ah, tonight! Grams. Grams, I am so happy. We’ve known each other a scarce month, but there is this connection. Everything is an ease to talk about, even the more difficult things. He spoke of his uncle tonight, a steadfast and hearty man. Spoke of his death, as well. I can tell his uncle was a true hero of his…I wish I could have met the man. Apparently a fish hook caught his leg and it caught an infection that took over his body. It sounded slow and horrible. They actually do let dead sailors into the ocean when they die at sea.. I had no idea it was actually true! When he told me, I tried to comfort him, but I guess it’s so far in the past that it’s a distant ache, much like what happens when I think of you and Dad. Something that will never heal completely, but not something that one breaks down over every time they think of it.

Then he asked me about Dad, if I ever visit him. That is coming up next Friday, isn’t it? I always visit on his birthday, and on mine. Actually having a group of adult friends to talk with and have a birthday party with is new to me, very new to me.. I will make sure everything is set up the evening before, because I want to make sure that I have all the time I need in the morning to visit. I could visit another day, but that’s not the promise I made. We’ll always celebrate our birthdays together, even in silence and without cake. That is not a promise I will break.

Ah, now I think of important but sad subjects. I have a rather peculiar question for you, Grams. I know you can’t answer it, stars, how I wish you could… Ah, stars! Now I am reminded of the part of my evening that was so wonderful. Forget the question, it’s not important. Stars, stars, stars. After drinking our mug of wine each and having a rather tender and simple conversation about berries, we headed outside to look at the stars. Laying down in the grass, the warm summer air surrounding us, nothing between us and the naked sky…it was perfect. He began to name the constellations in his tongue, most of which I couldn’t pronounce properly if my life depended on it! Such lovely names, regardless of my inability to speak them. I will remember the northern star’s name, though. Fornel. A lovely and simple enough name. I certainly won’t be able to find it again, all the twinkling dots look the same to an untrained eye! He promised he would find it for me if ever I asked, he’ll be my compass. Actually, he got a weird look on his face when I asked that, but I didn’t press. It’s as if my question was a different question to him, very odd. I was just asking if he’d find a star for me!

I think my arm is near ready to fall off, and I really should head into bed. I will simply end my telling of this wonderful evening with the following statement: everyone should fall asleep with the one th beneath the stars at least once. Nothing is more relaxing, more fulfilling, or more romantic. I’ll now go (alone, don’t you fret) to bed, and sleep the rest of this wretchedly short night away. Tomorrow, I need to make the final adjustments to my ales and head into town to clean Mother’s earrings. That will be a busy and fun day, to compliment the wonderful night I just had. Good night, Grams.

Your little pumpkin,
Lori

Letters to Grams: Ramblings

June 21
Loriwen Snowberry, 6 Long Street, Wildore, Bree-land

The wonders of talking.

Ah, my faith in just telling someone how you feel has proven to be the right thing to do, yet again. Not only is it nice to have myself proven right, but everything makes so much more sense in my life. Let me apologize in advance, for this letter is going to be even more dull than the previous.

Oh, wait! I planted some strawberries. That’s how interesting I am. Ah, perhaps I’m a bit too hard on myself. I saw Anna the other day, that was wonderful. I missed her so much, and I think she missed me, too. Gave me a right big hug when she saw me! That was wonderful. I love hugs…not enough people give hugs these days. It’s a shame. But Anna. Yes, I went into town to find a dress for that dance I mentioned in my last letter. The best place to go to get a dress is most certainly Anna’s shop. Her work is fine, and I know she puts her heart into every piece she makes. After fussing over me for a bit, she went into the back and pulled out a special order that had never been picked up.

It is gorgeous, Grams. Gorgeous! The fabric is soft and smooth, flowing beautifully. The sleeves are long, which is good because of how much I manage to mess myself up with running into things. Can’t see any bruises if you have longer sleeves on. The bust isn’t too low, but it’s no average dress, either. The color is what caught my eye, both literally and so to speak. It was dyed a wonderful shade of teal, the exact color of my eyes. Ah, I looked at it in her looking-steel and it was amazing how well it matched my eyes. The only thing that didn’t fit was that it was a bit too long, so she shooed me out of the shop and hemmed it right up for me. My measurements certainly haven’t changed since the last dress she made for me, so she knew what was what.

She also gave me a bit of a talk on not letting a man get away from me if I care for him. I feel so bad for her! How could Dad have never noticed? Well, noticed is the wrong word. Did anything about it is the better word. Poor Anna loved him before he left for his travels, and he married Mother later on. She always did love him.. it breaks my heart to think about it. Even now, she treats me like I’m her daughter. She still has tears in her eyes when she thinks of him. It’s not fair to her! She’s such a wonderful and warm woman, why would he not want her, even years after?

Ah, I don’t understand it, but I guess that’s a foolish thing for me to go on about, isn’t it? I never knew Mother, never even knew her name. Whatever happened to her affected Dad so deeply that he never even considered another woman, even years later. I wish I knew so much! Even people around town didn’t know her, it’s as if she didn’t actually exist. The only description I ever got of her was her long blonde hair and stern face. That’s it! That’s all I know of my mother. Anna is more of a mother to me, so I suppose that’s why I seem so indignant on her part. I know Mother didn’t intend to die, no one truly does…but I’ll always wonder. Did she love me? Did she run away to get away from me? Was it something Dad did? Did she run off and get attacked by highwaymen? I’ll never know. I don’t even know her name. My own mother’s name, I don’t know it.

I don’t even know why she insisted on my name as it is. Loriwen. The only story Dad ever told me of her was that one. I asked why I had such an odd name, as all my friends were named Helen and Sue and other short and normal names. My name had that “wen” on the end. Everyone always called me “Lori” as it was, so why was my name different? He told me that my mother insisted my name carry “wen” at the end of it. She liked the name “Lori” well enough, but Loriwen would be my full name. It clearly wasn’t any kind of fight, as it’s just a name, but he did give in and allow it. He told me it changed my name’s meaning from “leaves” to “lady of leaves.” That it made me special. Then he asked me to help you with the dishes, he had to be alone. Now I can only assume that means he wept, but I don’t know for sure. He was quite sad. You remember that day, don’t you? It’s the day I hopped up to help you with the dishware and told you I was a proper lady, my name even said it. That I was going to marry me a rich man and wear lady-dresses. Oh, what a fond memory! I had forgotten all about that second part until just now. I hope you remember it as fondly as I do. What a typical girl-child I was!

In some ways, I miss those days, and in others, I wouldn’t trade now for then. I do miss you both dearly. So, so dearly. I hope you’re reading these letters as I write them. You two are what I miss about those days most. Childlike innocence is nice, and I think I’ve still retained a bit of it, but what I really miss are you and Dad. I look to the past too much in these letters, I think! Probably because I’m uncertain as to the future. My future’s been certain for a long time: I’d grow old, make friends, carve wood, and grow my garden. These same things have kept me happy and content enough for the past ten years since both of you left. Romance, peh! Everyone wants romance, but every time I even thought of it with someone, they turned me down quite promptly.

Even that Camus fellow. I never wrote you about him, but that was quite upsetting at the time. Quite some time ago, when I first discovered the Broken Cask (that tavern I frequent) I met a cousin of the innkeeper. He name is – was? I’m not sure, I haven’t seen him in months – Camus Locksley. Same surname as Rosie’s before she got married, that’s how I know it. He was a quiet enough man, a bit younger than me, though. I figured there would be no chance, but he took what I thought was an interest in me. He’d actually talk to me without others around, and I thought I’d catch him looking at me. Things were crazy then, what with the flood and plague spreading around. He disappeared for a while, and I was a bit worried he had perished along with so many others. I even found myself a vial of the cure and saved it for him. I saw him one time after that, talked with him for a short while. Gave him the vial, it seemed like he enjoyed talking. Never saw him again. Quite odd, quite disappointing. Ah, but there is a point to this little story. I’d gotten over that long ago. My point is that it has happened to me a lot, constantly thinking a man may have an eye for me but then completely ignoring me or showing up one day with another woman on his arm. I’ve become used to being alone, even began to enjoy it. Could go where I wanted, when I wanted, didn’t have to worry about worrying anyone else.

Why did my thoughts turn here? I promise, there’s even another layer of a point: Tarlanc. I know, my letters seem to always begin and end with him. He is admittedly on my mind very often. Strange that I’d find myself enamored with and being courted by a Gondor sailor of all the types of people in the world, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. He took me aside the other day, told me that the risks I take when I gather my timber concern him. He wants to help, to protect me. I’ve never had someone care about what I do. He really listens to me talk about what I’ve carved. He actually wants to hear stories of you and Dad. Whenever I hurt myself by accident, he softly tells me he wishes I would be more careful. He cares about me. It’s new, and I’m still reeling from it.

He told a lovely story last night at the Cask, a most adorable story about a rainbow fish that could feed an entire village for a year. He modified it a bit, apparently, to be friendly for the Hobbit-lass we were…well, we weren’t taking care of her, but I guess we were. She had fallen asleep and missed her Ma. So I held her and he told her a story to calm and quiet her. The story was adorable…I could tell he has those nieces and nephews he’s mentioned before. I’m beginning to wonder if he wants children of his own. He always mentions his family first, warns me that they’d be asking about children in the first five minutes of meeting me, but he mentions it a lot himself. I wonder if he realizes how often it’s brought up, and always by him, not me. Even as early as our second real meeting, he was mentioning how a woman of my age can carry a healthy child just fine! It scares me quite a bit, Grams. I don’t know if I’m cut out to be a mother, at all. I’m just too clumsy. I’d be more apt to drop them or feed them the wrong food than not. I do love children, but to actually be in charge of one? Oh, no. I just don’t think I could do it. I don’t even want to think about it anymore.

Ah, this letter has gone long, hasn’t it? I really should wrap it up, I have to finish cleaning up my house. I’ll write you again soon, and perhaps even with the length I showed here! Give Dad a hug for me, a big hug.

Your little pumpkin,
Lori

Letters to Grams: Danger Comes in Many Forms

June 12
Loriwen Snowberry, 6 Long Street, Wildore Township, Bree-land

Grams! Can I say I’m glad he’s gone?

Oh, I hate writing it down, but it’s true. He.. well, he made good on his promise, alright. Well, maybe it wasn’t a promise, leastways. More of an intention. Either way, he made good on it, to be sure. I daresay it’s somewhat my fault, too.

Remind me to never drink anything strong alone, ever again. I wouldn’t have minded in the past, in fact it’s a good way to pass the night laughing at one’s self. But now I need to lock my office or something. I was foolish and wrote a letter after a lot of blackberry ale. To him. The worst part is.. I slept through the mail carrier coming – the ale again! I didn’t remember of it until a letter showed in response. I was a bit forward in it. What did I do? Ah! Never again, Grams. Never drinking alone again. Not unless all the parchment’s gone from my house.

Now that he’ll be out of town for a few days, off in Buckland for some merchant business or whatnot, I can think about doing some work again. Anything to keep my mind off the past week. I found the perfect maple to make that lute, I’m very excited to get to work on it. Still waiting for the turning keys, though. Won’t start until I have all the pieces together, I think. It’s a present for a wedding, a gift to the groom. He apparently plays lute, and a fancier one is in order for such an occasion! A wonderful gift, in my eyes. Practical, but beautiful and special at the same time.

The town is having a dance, some time from now. A sweethearts dance. I asked him. I figured that wouldn’t be too scandalous or anything, the young women usually ask men they like but aren’t seeing yet. That’s a proper thing to do, I think. Then again, things have changed around here. I have a friend of mine, a young girl from Gondor named Morvel…well, I can’t spell her name. But I call her Morv, she doesn’t seem to mind. It’s a cute name, makes me think of mauve. Quite a pretty color, I imagine it would look very nice against her blue eyes and darker hair. She’s a sweet girl, very clearly a young thing infatuated. She went off and shacked up with a guy her first or second night meeting him! Things have either changed, or those Gondorians are faster than even I thought. Both could be true, I suppose. Can’t claim to know much more about them than what I’ve heard in town and from Tarlanc and Morv themselves, really. It sounds like a very interesting place, full of wild things. Dangerous, too.

Speaking of danger, I really should be more careful out there. Creatures are really woken up now. Managed to escape, but I came a little too close for comfort when looking for that maple wood. I’m not particularly nimble, but I can run well enough…barely enough to escape that boar. They really need to take better care of the areas near those Lone Lands, they’re getting more and more dangerous. The marshes, too! Do you know I think I saw a goblin camp in there? At a distance! It was terrifying. That’s why I ran off and happened to run into the boar. Stupid thing chased me until I threw some of my jerky away from me. Didn’t work at first, but eventually he realized how much food he was giving up by chasing me down and gave up. That was horrible! I’m going to try to be a bit more careful, stick closer to the roads.

My goal is to finish carving all my current orders before he gets back. I’ll do them properly, of course, but it’ll be good to finish my list free of distractions. So, no time to waste! I’ll write again soon, I promise. Miss you both, so dearly.

Always love, your little pumpkin,
Lori


Letters to Gram: What am I doing?

June 7
Loriwen Snowberry, 6 Long Street, Wildore, Bree-land

I’m sorry, Grams!

I’ve not written you for a while, with reason. I have been so busy! Between staying in contact with all those friends I mentioned last time, trying to keep up with orders that were recently asked of me, and other personal matters, I have had little time to myself. Work has been the busiest of all lately.

I’m certainly not complaining about this, though! You know how I love my work. Not much in this world makes me happier than quietly sitting with a mug of ale and a piece of wood to carve. I recently finished a marvelous bookcase for a lovely young woman in town. She seemed most eager to have it done before the middle of this week. Apparently she had bought some books or some sort for her husband, and wanted to surprise him with a new shelf to put them on. Sweet, if you ask me.

I recently got a request for a rather beautiful instrument. A lute, made of maple wood.. darkened with color, and ivory turning keys. Absolutely lovely! I can’t start work on it until I get the keys, though. I’ll spend a lot of time looking for just the right wood. It’s hard to find maple wood willing to bend into a lute’s shape, but they are so sturdy and sound so sweet when you do find it.

I’ve continued to see Tarlanc, having a meal with him here and there.. last night, we met at the Broken Cask. A rather odd name for a tavern, but a lovely tavern it is! It’s run by one who is fast becoming a good friend, Rosemead. She was just married, and quite happy for it. Good on her, I say. She’s a kinder person than I think she realizes, and she deserves it. Particularly after she told me what happened to her last suitor: he apparently just ran off before they were married! How unfair! Who would leave Rosie, of all people in Bree, before marriage? She’s such a sweet person. Well, it worked out for the best in the end anyway, because now she has her Course. They’re quite happy together, I think. It’s nice to watch them interact.. he likes to sneak up on her.

I don’t in truth remember much of what happened at the Cask proper, because I’m a bit aflutter from what happened afterward. Tarlanc has been talking to me about the waterfall near his place for quite some time. We snuck out a bit early, and headed on over there after a little. He did something quite odd. Quite odd, indeed, I think. I wish so much you could give me your opinion on this, Grams. He told me he.. planned on kissing me in the future. Not.. he didn’t just do it, he told me he was planning on it! How strange is that? I wonder if it’s some kind of Gondor thing, announcing intentions beforehand. I’m unsure. It certainly gave me a bit of a scare. Not that I minded, mind you! It just took me by surprise.

I am uncertain where things will go from here, but I’m perishing curious. I take back what I wrote in my last letter: he is far from uninteresting, at any glance you can spare in his direction. Leastways, it seems that way to me. We usually talk of mundane things, work and the like, but I could think of no better way to spend time. Everything he says is different and curious…I think I’m rather fond of him. Oh, Grams! Is it too soon to think such things? It’s been not even two weeks since we met! I fear I said some rather foolish things last night, when he said he preferred plain speech. Ah, that is something you never say to me! I just blurt out what is on my mind. It never ends well. I spoke of my confusion at all this…I have no idea what is going on, that I’m unexplainably drawn to him. I’m a bit worried. He’s more…well, more experienced in this field. He says he’s never really courted a woman before, but I don’t believe it. He’s had to have had at least one woman, he is too interesting not to.

I really have no idea what I’m doing, or why. I just say things around him. Things in my mind.. it’s hard to think straight. I hope this, whatever it is, passes soon enough. I like having my wits about me. Ah.. what am I going to do with myself? I don’t know. I need to head off, to go find some of that maple. It’s going to take quite a time to find the right one. I promise I’ll try to write more often. I love you, Grams.

Your little pumpkin,
Lori


Letters to Gram: New Friends

May 30
Loriwen Snowberry, 6 Long Street, Wildore, Bree-land

Gram,

I’m sure this is a bit odd, writing letters to you. Not only could you not read when you were alive, you’re gone now. Well, I miss you something fierce and it’s comforting to write to you, as if you’re here. I have a few odd behaviors, and another private one won’t hurt anyone, now will it? Not really, I think.

I’ve finally come out of my shell after being sick for such a long time. That plague took a greater toll on me than I thought it would, it put me in bed for two whole weeks! You would have probably scolded me for heading off into the night the way I did, but it had to be done. That poor little girl and her brother wouldn’t have made it without that help, I just know it. It was worth getting sick, in order to help them. I’m sure you’d agree in the end…leastways, after I got better. My appetite was higher than normal for quite some time, guess I was regaining my strength. I’m all back to normal now. At least, as normal as I’ll ever get. I’ve been trying to get better about my footing.. managed to fall off a bridge a little while back, although that rightly wasn’t my fault. My horse stepped on a particularly sharp stone and lost her footing. I managed to fall off when she was stumbling.. and it just happened to be on a bridge. Fell right into the river, cut my face up but good. I’m a bit concerned this small scar will stay there. I hope not. But then again, me falling.. what’s new about that? Hah! Such a boring letter, even when I’m not going to send it. I’ve never been good at writing letters.

Being so sick really puts a damper on one’s spirits. I finally cleaned up Dad’s old farmhouse. It was pretty devastated by the floods. I thought long and hard on the decision, and I moved out. Sold the place. I’m surprised I got the funds I did from it, but then again.. farmland is the lifeblood of Bree. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised that old Wheatley wanted more land. Took the money and bought myself a quiet little house in a lovely town called Wildore. I have a small garden, enough to feed myself but good. Still don’t cook. Don’t trust myself to, I think. I’m clumsy enough without adding fire into the mix! Instead of cooking, I’ve gotten myself into brewing. It’s really quite basic, once you get used to the formula for good ale.

You’d be proud of me. As I said up a ways, I’ve been coming out of my shell. My brewing has turned out to be a surprisingly good tool to meet friends. I finished up a particularly interesting batch of ale, a basil blackberry ale, and invited my new neighbors to come along and try it. It got mostly good remarks, as well as a few unsure “interesting”s. I met a rather interesting man while out at the Pony one night, looking for friends to invite to my ale tasting. It’s a bit embarrassing how it happened, but I imagine you’d laugh and shake your head, given how like me it is. I was talking with an acquaintance of mine on the front stoop when someone else ran up to talk to him. I backed up, and managed to fall right off! It wasn’t too far a drop, I wasn’t hurt…just extremely embarrassed. This kind man hopped down and helped me stand up. Something about him struck me, I can’t rightly explain it. I had an overwhelming urge to invite him as well, stranger or not. So I did!

My tasting went off beautifully, everyone had a wonderful time. It was quite nice to meet my neighbors and create some new friendships. With dark talk from far away lands reaching our ears, everyone can use all the friends they can get, I think. But I’d rather not talk about such sad topics. My tasting was wonderful fun, but in truth, I can’t remember much of it. I spent most of my time talking with the man who helped me up at the Pony. His name is Tarlanc. Just Tarlanc. He’s from Gondor, they don’t much care for surnames down there. When you really look at it, he’s a rather uninteresting man at first glance, and even second glance. That said, it doesn’t stop me from being very interested in him for some reason. I can’t explain it. I wish you were here, I’m sure you would have some wonderful words for me, followed by your finger wagging. Is it normal to be involuntarily drawn to a person? I may be speaking out of turn here, since we’ve only truly spoken that one time, but I find something fascinating about him. I wonder if he feels anything similar to me. Ah, well. I’m used to being ignored or rejected by those I find interesting. I suppose this will be much the same. Leastways, it will be once he sees just how clumsy I am.

Ah, I do miss you, Grams. I miss you so. You’d no doubt be warming up some chamomile tea for me and scolding me about being a starry-eyed fool at my age. And you’re right, of course. I shouldn’t think of someone so much after one meeting, I really shouldn’t. I think I’ll go put on a kettle myself and pretend your harsh but well-meant words are flowing my way once again. I do love and miss you and Dad, Grams. A lot.
Your little pumpkin,
Lori