I'm getting ready to go to live for two years in Pinellas Park while I work on my master's degree at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. I've been loading my car with boxes of books, so I'm taking a break and having a small dinner of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and vanilla milk.
Vanilla milk is a treat taught to me by my brother, Arden "Ned" Packard II (1942-1996) when I was something like 7 or 8 years old. The recipe is simple. In a glass, put one or two teaspoons of sugar and about 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (vary measurements to personal taste). Add milk to fill the glass. Stir. It's yummy, and one of my favorite treats. I do not indulge it very often, but when I do, I think of my brother.
My brother taught me lots of useful stuff. He was five years older than I am. When I was five years old, he taught me how to clean a fish, something our father had taught him. We lived on Perdido Bay in Pensacola in what seemed to me at the time to be a large house, but then, everything looks big when you're five years old.
Ned died in 1996, of acute myelocytic leukemia. The last thing he taught me was how to face death with dignity and courage. That is the most important lesson of all.
And by now, I'm sure he has taught the cherubim and seraphim how to make vanilla milk.