The Times We’ve Had


A classic, eccentrically unflattering stance captured on one of our dessert-only dates at the fanciest eatery in town

This picture to the left shows my two sisters. My sisters are beautiful. They have elegance and poise. My husband tells me that HeatherRose should be called “Reese HeatherSpoon.” He means it as a compliment, but I shamelessly strut a vicious Hardt pride, and proclaim that my sisters are some of the loveliest creatures ever. Reese Witherspoon can just set her smile on the shelf when in the company of my sisters. Unfortunately, this picture doesn’t argue strongly in the “beauty court.” Let’s be honest here: HeatherRose looks a little faddish, and Anna just looks out-dated. Not super flattering. Instead, this picture captures the precious innocence of my sisters’ humor and individualism. HeatherRose in her posh, retro-fitted attic find. And, in those glasses! Anna, sweet girl, dressed like a little milk maid. And, that goofy, braces-hiding smile! And, we went out in this get-up? Oh, yes, indeedy, just like prancing heifers fresh to pasture. Oh, sooo elegant!

When my sisters stumble  across this post on my little, abandonded blog, I guarantee you — give it 24 hours at most! — they’ll call me and leave an angsty, miffed voice mail on my answering machine. “Grace! Grace Hardt! Grace Breer! You devil! Take that thing down… NOW! We’ve talked about this.” We have talked about “this.” I’m not supposed to post pictures anymore. I always pick the “unflattering” ones.

Thing is: I adore this picture. It memorializes the best of the relationship between me and my kin. Hardt Hollow and I — that beautiful place where I nurtured my greatest dreams and planted my roots deep — Hardt Hollow and I don’t always see eye-to-eye these days. No big, I suppose. I guess it’s part of growing up. A little divergence in tune makes the final harmony sweeter and stronger, they say … and I believe. I believe that’s how it works … eventually. In the mean time, while we’re working out our differences, patching together a new pattern of relating, cultivating a new breed of fruit, in the interim, we’ve got this: a string of fantastic memories made possible only by the presence of one another. This picture wouldn’t exist without HeatherRose’s riotous guts. It wouldn’t exist without my insistence that we schedule Silly Sister Dates. It wouldn’t exist without Anna’s willingness to take marching orders, dress up, play peacemaker. It wouldn’t exist without the union of my parents.

And, by the way, to my sister, when she discovers this thing: Relax, baby! I’m processing your big news. I wish you the best, and one of these days, you and your “man, and me and my “man,” we’ll go on a double date. Now, how did that happen!? Geez! And, one of these times, when it’s just me and you, you’ll have to tell me what color of hair your babies are gonna have, just like, once upon a time, I promised you my babies would have brilliant red thatch. Shocker! Time moves too fast! Congratulations, beautiful girl. May God bless you richly! The times we’ve had … the times we’ll have.


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