Oh, what I would give to have the energy of my friend and neighbor across the street. He’s 71 years old and rises at some ridiculous hour and works until he wants breakfast at which time he goes in and either takes it from his wife, my age, or fixes it himself. Then he works some more.
Later in the morning, Felipe goes into his garage “office” and works a little more, but it’s in the shade and at his own leisure. Then, during the heat of the day, he takes a nap in the cool of his basement bedroom. Everything seems to be at his leisure. By late afternoon, he is up again, working outside, spraying his plants or cleaning the sidewalks. By six PM he is sitting with family outside, laughing, telling jokes, observing passerbys, partaking in the women folk playing with the grandchildren. All I can say is “Amen”.
I should have known there was some stipulation on my life. I should have known that there was a price for being a loner, being a drifter of sorts, free from the price of pain—you refuse to become involved and the price is you fall with the lightest of challenges. I go to AZ and Colorado to see how people are doing, to be of relative comfort to them and I realize what I offer is nominal. It’s not like you are there with them for any prolonged period of time. It’s a little scarey.
First I see my Mom and the days fly. I am sure she doesn’t remember my presence, that if anything, I am just a dream image and she said “hi” to me and visited with me, but then I am gone and it was really only a dream. Then I go to Judy Ann’s and hang out while I visit intermittently with cousin Gary. Again, is it just a dream for him or for me? Each day I see him it becomes more vague. Until by the time I say good by to him and Gary Bailey it’s not even real. I want to cry—tears are coming out of my eyes—but there is nothing I can do, short of hiding the truth from him, i.e. I can’t ease his pain one iota and I am not about to let him see me weeping for the loss between us!
Cousin Mike was the same thing. Mike and his wife Donna are like tortoises, wounded, limping around yet strangely, they are better off than me who looks superficially okay. It’s because they are married and POSITIVE! I’m not stupid, but rather only ignorant. Their youngest, John 33, lives in the basement—he’s made it a beautiful home down there—working on indian artifacts. I liked his work so much that I gave him the names of at least 25 friends and said make this for him or her…I don’t care what it costs (because I am thinking it will benefit him, his parents Mike and Donna, and my friends and family members will receive quality gifts). So I told Mike who is bound and determined to hike a 200 or 300 mile camino in a year from now to put me down for Portugal. I will meet with my female friend, Alexis, a year from now and who knows, maybe end up in Morocco. I don’t know how any of this will really happen, but as Francesca states “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue” (proverbs 18:21) so I will project this as a reality…and maybe it will happen.
And last, I go to my friend James Lysaght’s on the Western Slope. Is there any place as beautiful as the Western Slope in Colorado? Maybe not. Is there any place as expensive to live? Maybe not. If you have a half million dollars then you can afford to live there. Are Jim and Linda any happier for living there? I really don’t know. Maybe it is just one of those things where some days you are, and some days you’re not.
When I arrived, Jim’s wife, Linda, was with a friend in Las Vegas. She said she had to get away every once in awhile. I hope it wasn’t my presence that chased her off, but who knows. I don’t want to think to deeply on the matter. But she had told me Jim was suffering from MS. And so he was. I was shocked that he was as “crippled” as he was. He talks about a cure in the next couple of years, but being the single guy, I don’t have the optimism he has. What is it about married men, whether they are happy or not, that drives them to eternal optimism? My dad was the same way at at 70. I would ask him how he was faring on a given day and he would whisper back that he believes in science. I could only think, “wow! What faith!” Again, I am single.
So Linda fixed us an exquisite steak dinner Monday night and put a good look on things. I imagine Jim and I had the place looking pretty raw by the time she got home late Sunday night (and thought we were doing really well, hah!). I was glad I went to bed just before she got there. I cut my stay short a day early because I suspected my presence was a greater tax on her, being that she was already looking after Jim and I am a basic bum, sad to say, the least I could do was leave early.
I did enjoy my stay there, but Jim was really struggling despite his will. He’s got great energy, but he is also really hampered. It should be really interesting to see where he is at in a year. I hope they come up with the cure.
I left Tues. morning and drove hard and steady for two days straight to get back into good old Fresno. I stopped outside Las Vegas and paid $55 for a room and $30 for a huge prime rib dinner in an empty casino of 2000 rooms, but that’s Las Vegas. Kind of lonely, but as Sierran worded it, it’s just the place I chose to stay. To hell with it—-I wanted to treat myself so I did. It always feels good to be home (in the nick of time to make my doctor appointments and then head up to the East Bay Area Saturday).