First there was a short message from my mom letting me know that her Aunt Maggie passed away today. Aunt Mag lived in Massachusetts, and growing up we would always stop at her house on summer vacations to New England. Her house was on a rise above an old Aquaduct in a tiny town, and her son had collected all sorts of stone that was displayed around the grounds. (She had a cobblestone driveway.) She lots of cats, and a complete set of vintage Hardy Boys mysteries on her shelves. I remember pulling up in our Griswold-esque Chevy Malibu station wagon and spending the night sleeping on the floor of her guest bedroom.
She had a rack of firewood that sat in a metal rack by her firelplace, and on top of it was hand-lettered sign warning against using it in a fire. It seems that this wood was split by her son before he went off to war and was killed. (I can't remember where -- France in WWII sticks in my mind, but I'm not sure the timing is quite right. It might have been Korea or Vietnam.)
I had not seen her in a long time, but she would send me a card every year on my birthday, and I would write back occasionally. (Although not as much as I probably should have.)
Shortly after I received this news, I got an e-mail from my grandmother on the other side of the family letting me know that my cousin was laid off from his job at Micron, along with over 1000 other people. As a result, he has decided to head back to the DC area for a while, and is driving a U-Haul across the country. It appears he may pass through Nashville sometime in the next few days.
I am not real close to this cousin, but it would be nice to see him again. The circumstances are kind of unfortunate, though.
All this is pretty much the most news I've gotten out of family e-mails in a long time.