Our friend Leslie had Etta and I over for dinner: it was a cold Monday night. The previous day, on our way to run errands, the fossilized outline of now-gone leaves on the hood of my white Saturn had struck me as a sign of the changing seasons. Sure enough, the very next day was the first snow of what the almanac says will be a very cold winter in Chicago.
Leslie is a public school teacher and tells stories of her profession that I find endlessly fascinating, in no small part because my mom and aunt were public school teachers and also because she teaches special ed. She made us a St. Louis hot plate classic for the arctic air: tuna casserole. Pickle, her small green bird, liked us.