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Dear Mabel

Dear Mabel,

You gave me a gift before I learned how to talk, much less how to write a proper thank-you. A $25 savings bond, invested at the time of my birth, to mature sometime in my early adulthood. It matured, and so have I, and now this 30 year-old has $150 to spend.

You left no instructions about how to spend this money. Instead, you placed blind trust in an infant you barely knew, that some day she would use your investment well.

But then again, I guess your trust wasn’t entirely blind. After all, you invested much more than $25 into that baby girl. You raised my grandmother, who nurtured my mother, who married my father. And by the time the seeds of your love reached me, it was lavish and extravagant. Your love compounded like interest. I bet you knew it would.

But back to the matter at hand. How to spend it? You left no instructions, but did you have dreams? Did you want it to make me happy?

Comfortable? Did you want me to use it for something responsible? Whimsical? Did you want me reinvest it for later? Did you want me to give it away? Or did you simply want to be a part of my adult life, a part of my own dreams, whatever they turned out to be? Is there anything so profound that could do all those things?

Groceries. I think I’ll buy groceries.

  1. Lactase I think you’d love the man I married. Christian is kind and funny and gentle and good. Unfortunately, he’s also lactose intolerant, but don’t worry, there’s pills for that now. I know that your dairy farmer blood runs in my veins. Rest assured, we only eat cheddar if it’s sharp, and I promise we’ll never use margarine.

  2. Cucumbers I’ll get some from my farmers market on Saturday to make pickles. My mom found a letter addressed to my other great grandmother from my great great grandmother tucked into the pages of an old family Bible. The letter was in answer to the question, “how do I make pickles,” and the response was meandering and approximate with very little concrete instruction. I love it. She cooked like me. I don’t really like pickles, but I’m a sucker for nostalgia and kitchen improv. So, I need some cucumbers.

  3. Pecans Your daughter made pecan caramel Christmas candy to give away every year, and I picked up the tradition a couple years ago. Turns out your side of the family writes charmingly vague recipes, too. But I figured it out, and last year, I made a big batch. Christian and I rode around our new town giving candy out to strangers. It was well received and hopefully not as creepy as that just made it sound. We’ll do it again this year. I’ll make the candy in early December (close to your daughter’s birthday), but I’ll buy the pecans now and put them in the freezer. I’ll see if I can get them from The Peach Truck.

  4. Eggs It’s almost September 22nd. I’m not sure if you know this, but that’s Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’s birthday. My new coworkers definitely know that. I just started working for a place called the Rabbit Room. It’s lovely and good and very difficult to describe, but suffice it to say that I feel the need to bake something for them as an elevenses meal on September 22nd. If we wanted to, we could eat it next to a fireplace that used to belong to J. R. R. Tolkien. I’ll get the eggs from an orchard down the road. And while I’m there, I’ll probably spend a couple more dollars on a frozen cider slushie.

  5. Coffee and tea Your daughter was a coffee addict, and your granddaughter has a bit of a tea obsession. You may be pleased to know that I’m addicted to both. I’m low on coffee, so I’ll run by E&B roasters in town on the way to my mama’s porch this afternoon. We’ll have tea when I get there and solve the world’s problems. We might need two cups each. There are several world problems at the moment. My sister may swing by while I’m there. She lives right down the road. We’ll see my parents off before they head to Paris. Oh that reminds me, I need some

  6. Cheese My Mama and Daddy will have been married for 40 years on Sunday. They had considered running off to Europe to celebrate, but then the world shut down (temporarily, I think), so now they’re adorably going to picnic in Paris…TN. It’s a small town, but I still doubt their visit will make the paper like it did when my Daddy used to come visit you and hunt on your farm. I wonder if Oh My Chives has any of that good sheep’s milk cheese I could give them. I should check.

  7. ? That’s about all I can think of, and it’s already more than I need. But there’s still about $75 left. Over the time it’s taken the bond and me to mature to this point, I’ve come to realize that I’ve been extravagantly invested in, in every imaginable way. Because of your vision and generosity, I’ve enjoyed much more than you started with, and I’ve still got plenty to share. So that’s what I’ll do with the rest. I’ll invest in and nourish someone else who maybe doesn’t have the generations of support that I have.

I love my life, and I’m glad you’re a part of it. Thanks for the gift.

Your affectionate great-granddaughter,

Rachel Y Matar

[Editor’s note: You may have seen under Rachel’s entry for “Eggs” that she recently began working for the Rabbit Room. She’s been shipping store orders, and before that, she generously volunteered during the Mystery Moot Kit-packing process. If you received a Moot Kit for Hutchmoot: Homebound, there’s about a 96% chance that Rachel played an instrumental role in getting it to your doorstep. So, welcome to the Rabbit Room, Rachel. We’re already so grateful for the investment you’ve put in us.]


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