Friday, July 11, 2014

Big Events and an Old Case Reopens

The Fourth of July weekend was one of the best I've experienced in a long time. For once, I was not away on assignment and could spend time with my family. We had a cookout in the backyard, stuffing ourselves on burgers and ribs. Then we drank too much beer and wine and watched the fireworks. It felt a lot like the Independence Days of my youth, except the composition of my family is quite different now.

My new family includes two people with whom I have no biological connection. I'm speaking of my mother's fiance Bradley Huggins and his daughter Roxanne. Bradley Huggins used to be my old high school principal and he and my mother worked together many years ago. After my dad died, he and my mother started dating. It was a big adjustment for me, trying to think of the guy who used to yell at me for putting on makeup in class as the object of my mother's romantic yearnings. I knew intellectually that he was not replacing my father, but emotionally I felt a little bit of betrayal. Anyway, all that's behind me. After all I've been through over the past four years, I'm only concerned with my mother's happiness and, for some reason, Brad (still can't get used to calling him that) makes her very happy.

I'm even getting used to Roxanne. When I met her almost four years ago, she was a bratty, superficial college student who was more concerned with wearing the latest fashions and having rhinestones on her phone than with any serious academic or career pursuits. I thought she was a real lost cause. Today she's...well, she's still kinda bratty and superficial, but she at least has a good job with a public relations firm in DC. She brought along her boyfriend to our cookout. Dark, smoldering good looks and smooth banter. He wore a crisp polo shirt and madras shorts. I wasn't surprised when Roxanne told me he was a lobbyist. Oh well.

Actually, I think I buried the lead.  Brad and my mom decided to get married this weekend! It's going to be a small affair with a few friends in our backyard. They know someone who is one of those Internet-ordained ministers, so he will be officiating. Best of all, my Aunt Trudy is in from Wisconsin. I thought it might be a little weird for my father's sister to watch his wife marry another man, but she and my mom are like sisters now. We had had almost no contact with Aunt Trudy for quite some time, but after my little adventure in the land of cheese a couple years ago, Aunt Trudy has become a regular fixture in our lives, even if it's often through the virtual world of email and Facebook. So she's been here since July 3rd and is hanging around for the wedding and my birthday on the 17th.

Which reminds me, in honor of my birthday, I've planned a little surprise. I'll let you know more about it next week. Now it's back to work. It's funny how people never quite go away when you are in the intelligence business. Once you think a case is closed, some aspect of it resurfaces in another form or fashion. The name Horatio Zaman has popped up again. I wrote about him in my book. He left us a little present and there's some very smart people in Princeton who are looking it over. Since I was the agent on the original case, The Colonel has asked me to work closely with the research people up there. I might be taking a long drive up I-95 in the near future.

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