Letter, March 5, 1975

Dear Jan,

Got your letter 2 days after I sent my last one. I hadn’t gotten a letter from you or the family since early January & so was feeling kind of uptight. You hit me with so much information & questions in your letter that I’m going to go through and sort of react to them all in order (if possible).

Was glad to hear from Mom the 18th that Dad was feeling better after his operation. They must have it pretty rough at home with Dad laid up, and Mom, Donna & Bruce “wounded”. Hopefully it allsounds worse than it is though. Glad to hear you’re looking out for the calves; sometimes I’m sure it seems that no one else is!! Thanks for the Christmas pictures, seeing Dad sitting contentedly in his chair, I can almost hear him saying, “God has been awful good to us this Christmas”, like he always does. I had to look at that picture of Tom three times to make up my mind that it had to be him. His hair is turning darker, and he looks taller, & his face seems to be changing unless it’s just the look on his face!

Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip to Florida; it sounds like it was fascinating. If you go to the Smokies I’ll be downright envious! I did get the birthday card & thought I said so somewhere, but must not have. I never quite know when & if my letters get through, & that with the time lag sometimes makes me doubt a little whether I’m actually communicating with anyone, or if our letters just pass in the dark!

Don’t need books as they have pretty good book stores here, & the Peace Corps has a lot of paperbacks. Have finished “East of Eden” & Solzhenitsyn’s “August 1914”, and am going to get his newer work from a friend to read.

I don’t do any cooking (in fact I’ve never used the fry-pan I bought), since there isn’t good electric current here. In my first town there was none except at night. I think you’d be disappointed in the cooking here. I get a lot of purple-colored beans they grow here, white cheese, rice, thickened cream and of course tortillas made from the white corn they grow here. They make some good soups using yucca, potatoes, avocados & other native vegetables (soups are always for lunch). The woman in my “comedor” (eating place) makes a fantastic warm pineapple sauce once in a while, and there are good sweet breads, though regular bread is seldom used out in the country. None of these things are hard to prepare (though time consuming); getting ingredients would be your big problem!

I wish I could have gotten some of that Johnny cake! I really love corn bread. I don’t know why they don’t make something like that here to break the monotony of the tortillas. Maybe making it over a wood fire would be too tough.

I’m really pleased to hear Donna is doing well in school, and developing a life outside the family. It’s what she’s always needed to do, get away from the rest of us & just deal with the world as an autonomous person, instead of worrying about being as good as her sisters, or trying to satisfy Mom & Dad (God knows they never tell you if you do satisfy them).

Well, I didn’t leave much space for my exciting adventures. But I really haven’t done anything exciting lately, except perhaps for the fact that daily life has more of a flavor of adventure to it here. For example, one of my roommates (an extension agent) goes hunting at night with a 22 and a light that he can wear on his forehead. And he has a pistol which he carries in his belt at times (that is extremely common in this country). Riding a motorcycle here is a little like motor-cross. Where the road isn’t sandy or thick with dust, there are rocks all over it (& ox carts). I have crossed a little creek a couple times with the motorcycle, but am cautious about trying the Rio Suquiapa. A young lady here in San Isidro seems to be taking an interest in me already, so I’ll have to be careful (nice girls have only marriage on their minds)!



P.S. – Have bought a guitar for $16, and would still like a learner’s book if you can find one. Hope that letter with the $4 got through!

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