Can’t Find My Friend

Can’t find my friend – lately,

You’d remember him…hard to forget, just the pleasantest of guys’; he is one of the very few souls that enjoys not talking over coffee – no person has enjoyed the sound of their own voice less ; in the pursuit obscure galleries he takes almost singular delight – wherein could be heard at least once, oft repeated one of two mantras: at the beginning or middle of a walk around he will find something and freeze and then moving like a mastodon during a slow thaw he would circle the piece, studying it, oh so carefully, lovingly…and as a result; stumbling over all manner of nonsense right in front of him- I’ve yet to comprehend how he walked around that painting…it was hanging on a wall…

He enjoys what makes me happy…he just enjoys.

I’ve run into him in the very early hours – sitting in the sand of an empty beach, his long surf rod set in it’s holder, his eyes would be fixed on the tip – lit by what ever moon was available – watching it’s dip and pull, that motion generated where sea, shore, and wind come together and there is nothing alive on the end of that line. On just such an occasion I had noticed that his bait pail had been- well – empty.

Like mine – on that particular occasion.

He hasn’t been there – no…not lately.

I thought perhaps – maybe – if I return to all the old places I’d come across him again; and we’ll laugh about needing props on the beach to just sit and watch the light on the water.

Not that long ago, I was sure I caught a glimpse of him; it was in that little bistro, off S. Detroit and Main, he was looking over his own cup a mud when the image was lost as one line or another of bodies, faces lost to the glow of the tiny screen before them. Hoping to greet an old friend, I did take up my coffee and walk in his direction…to find – it was but a mirror, and the face I was looking at was someone else – someone else indeed.

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The Blue Room

 

 

Much against my better (?) judgement; the octogenarians moved into the SWMBO’s (She Who Must Be Obeyed) house where three, soon to be four, cats reside and I am permitted to sleep.

At first residing there was much like walking through an infomercial.  Representatives from stair lift companies arrived; explaining and diagramming the advantages of having their product…the octogenarians could access the second floor, giving them a sense of freedom (and me a sense of a $15,000.00 debt.  NEXT.

There was a parade of “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” people.  I still could find no way to escape the house and I always heard any and all falls, bumps and complaints.

We moved them into the dining room, recently painted a deep Wedgewood blue; their queen size bed, two night stands, two dressers, pictures, mirrors, two changing chairs (although I never saw any transformation) and a 28-pound cat that had an allergy to litter boxes, she avoided them at all costs (she was cat number 4).

The octogenarian mother of the SWMBO had begun her unsuccessful chemo treatment for stage 4 lung cancer.  The Drs. Attributed this to her years as a smoker…she blamed her older sister for setting a poor example she was compelled to follow.

I answer her nightly, late nightly, very early morning, very very early morning calls for assistance to go to the bath room, get a drink (of water); during which an ongoing argument over the role of care givers.  “No you can’t have whatever you want”.

I remember similar discourses with my son…when he was three.

John, the octogenarian father of the SWMBO, waited impatiently until his partner in octogenarianism returned to bed and he made his way to the loo.

I found it simpler to have a drink of the coffee left from after dinner during John’s time in the purple loo.  There was always a cleaning and restocking required.

After a year had passed things began to change.

The queen size bed was replaced by a hospital bed and one twin.

The very early morning calls were now requiring lifting the octogenarian mother of the SWMBO from the bed to the wheel chair, rolling her into the modified loo and then lifting her from chair to bed.  This was a simple task she had lost most of her weight.

At some point in time, I can’t remember just when, there was only the hospital bed in the blue room; the hospital bed and a pale blue wing back chair in the corner, a tall iron floor lamp illuminated the nurse that quietly sat and read.  There was always an artificial light in that room now.

Conversations seemed to quietly dwindle from within the room replaced by the drone of oxygen pumps.

John’s bed moved (unfortunately not by itself) upstairs and the very early morning cleaning and restocking was in another loo.

And then there was the night the blue room was full of people not talking, conversation had been smothered by the weight of the blue on the walls.  The octogenarian mother of the SWMBO, lay quietly on the hospital bed, oxygen pumps now, also, silenced as the nurse, by the light of the tall iron floor lamp wrote her report.

The next morning (very very early in the morning) out of habit rather than necessity I came down to drink the cold, stale coffee left from after dinner.  I stopped at the foot of the stairs, facing the blue room.

Oxygen pumps had been removed, the hospital bed was stripped of linen, the mattress flat, there was no nurse in the chair, the iron floor lamp was on, lighting the dark blue of the room and nothing else.

I took my cold coffee with me as I went out to sit on the porch, it was warm for an October morning and at that hour the world was full of the sounds of frogs in the culvert, owls calling out to the waning moon.

After coffee, I took the empty cup to the kitchen and started to return to bed stopping at the foot of the stairs…I wanted to look at the blue room again…but it was empty.

I am not a…

I am not a bleeding-heart liberal, a tree-hugging hippie or any other unpopular niches (well there was that time I found myself chained to a rather magnificent fir in Oregon…there were a few others there: some with long hair, there were some chain saws and bulldozers and, oh yes, people in State Trooper uniforms).

But, to me, issues far more important than irreplaceable tree have arisen.

A floppy haired Thumper has taken it upon himself to insult an entire race, as the Irish have endured in the past (before my time), the (not PC I’m sure) Blacks (old enough to have lived through that time and far too simple-minded to grasp it all).

Not long before the Thumper’s rant; the Supreme Court acknowledged “same sex” marriage as, essentially, legal. Loving couples that have been together, suffered indignities, denial of rights and benefits are now “legal”.

One of our major political parties, well-funded, not much fun really are struggling with these events. They’re afraid to confront the Thumper (ass though he is) because he’s a scrapper…but they really want that one group’s vote. Problem.

“Same sex”, well, anything is law…but we have been against it for so long; how are the voters responding.

Not a Party, candidate or current ideal is seeking the human vote, standing up for the persons (a collection of Individuals, unique and yet part of a thriving community).

So much for the political front; what of the home front.

As these events have unfolded, the SWMBO has expressed great fear that the world as we know it will soon end. A gay fairy, I imagine, will be flying over the land touching all the children (and adults, except her) and the United will be dancing naked in the streets, tossing flower petals in the air, boys kissing boys, girls kissing everyone. All leading to the fate of “Sodom and Gomorrah”.

And as for the Thumper’s rant: “We all know he’s right, but you just can’t say it out loud”.

There is no understanding in the house

The Irish have come so far as to have had one of their own elected president; but, in this land, we have a far distance to travel before we look about and find the persons that are around us. And politicians go beyond the quest for the “human” vote and seek the human (within?)