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Global Pen Pals
Joy Matter Global Pen Pals: Letter 1
From IF’s Ellen Baron, Maryland, U.S.A
To her lifelong friend, Joy Matter, Berne, Switzerland
Ellen Baron

Dear Joy,

Winter has come and gone, and come again here in Baltimore. The crocuses popped their heads up one spring-like day last week at the edge of the woods in back of our house. The cherry tree on our front lawn displayed its delicate pink blossoms the next day. Two days later the yellow crocus heads drooped in freezing temperatures, and the cherry blossoms lay on the ground all around the tree. Now, snow and freezing rain are forecast. Still, winter here has not been nearly as severe as it has been in Switzerland where you are. We've read about all the avalanches in the Alps, and people stuck on mountain passes desperate for food and blankets. But even with all your snow, I'll bet they never cancel Maxi's school, like they do for my grandkids.

Speaking of grandchildren, we're flying up to Boston this week-end to help Ben celebrate his 7th birthday. He's the smallest little guy in his class (he exists on a diet of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiches), but he packs a big punch! We always say that he was born with an extra dose of testosterone!!. Ben loves his x-box and can name every car that passes him on the road. His favorite is the Enzo Ferrari. He has a big red one above his bed -- his Gramps-given poster.

Speaking of birthdays, a Happy, Happy one to Ueli. I can't believe he's 39 years old. I remember him still as a baby when we lived side-by-side in Cambridge, England. Now, I am picturing you and the family celebrating Ueli's birthday, sitting at your round table. A lovely tableau I see -- one of embracing love and good wishes for him.

Just as an aside, when I was in the grocery store this morning, another shopper read a headline in a tabloid -- "Vice President Rumored to Have Girlfriend" -- and she exclaimed, "Who would want him?!" Precisely. You often ask me about Americans' view of Bush and Cheney. Nasty words about them are plastered all over the newspaper op-ed pages every day. There have been no end of jokes about Cheney since he shot his quail-hunting buddy in the face and neck a couple of weeks ago, including one by the Academy Awards emcee on March 5. But his policies are no laughing matter to many U.S. citizens.

Hope by now your respiratory infection is entirely cleared up. I don't know how it is with you, but these kinds of bugs seem to be a lot harder to throw off the older I get. But I have a wonderful concoction that we got from the chef during our French canal barge cruise last year. Seems to clear the head and the chest all at once. Worth a try, anyway.

CHEF BETH'S BREW

Juice of 3 lemons and 1 orange
5 Tablespoons of honey
3 shots of brandy (or to taste)
1/2 piece of gingerroot, grated
3/4 pint boiling water

Mix ingredients together, drink the mixture and inhale the vapors, et voila, restored health!!

Hope this finds you well and warm, Much love,
Ellen


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