Hello–How Are You?

An obligatory greeting, we’ve said thousands of times. When someone truthfully answers, it’s an awkward moment. Because, “nobody’s got time for that.”

There’s not much we really know about those outside our close circle of friends. Relatives pass away and are eulogized with a few pretty words. Did their cries for help go unanswered? Perceived as eternal blackness, for which there was no way out?  Some refuse help, even when it’s available.

My brother-in-law passed away suddenly yesterday. He was a quiet, sensitive man. No one will ever know what went through his mind in the months before his death. Two years previous, he survived another near-fatal health crises.

He bounced back, seemed to be on the mend. This summer and fall, signs were there–his personal demons were back. Emotions are still raw, but there is peace, because my friend’s soul is free.

The Verdict

Maggie has a cancerous mass in front of her heart. It hasn’t metastasized at this point. However, it has invaded the sinus cavities of her heart.  Her prognosis isn’t good beyond a few months.

Of course, drastic treatment measures were offered. Chemotherapy, surgery, biopsies–none of them a certainty. The terrible verdict, we hoped not to hear.

She will be loved, these last moments, months, treasured.  I’m not ready to speak of her in past tense.

Right now, she appears so normal.  Sometime in the near future, the pressure on her heart and lungs will be too much, and her life will end. She is only seven.

One Of the Good Guys

I’m still shocked, in disbelief, that a neighbor and good friend passed away last night.  He was within a year or two of my age.

Rick and I were retired communications workers–for the same company in adjoining states.  We could fall back on telling telephone “war” stories.  Rick always lent a helping hand when needed.

Because of Rick, I have buried telephone service to my workshop.  It’s an old-fashioned landline.  How else were my antique telephones going to work?  With ringers as loud as firehouse gongs, they’d refuse to operate on wireless–the very idea.

Every good thing that will be said, Rick deserves.  He was one of the good guys.  Me and the dogs will miss him.  We couldn’t pass by Rick’s house on walks without Max putting on the brakes.  Max loved to see Rick–go back to his workshop.  I know it was an interruption.  Rick refurbished golf carts.  Rick always found the time.


Moral Superiority/Hidden Battles

It was there. Just write it down, said my conscience.

The revelation came on the evening news.  “Poor people were poor because they didn’t save enough money.”

Old, burned out hippies answered phone banks.  Guys named Randy, Scott, or John, their long gray hair pulled back into pony tails–tied with bandanas.  Uniform of the day was themed Hawaiian, from the looks of their rainbow, printed shirts

“Hungry, need food, out of work!”  Signs were on every street corner.  What good were laws prohibiting panhandlers?

Pity those poor Southern Californians with brown or gravelled lawns, Dwight mused, as he applied lawn fertilizer to lush, green grass.  Wouldn’t want to live like that.

What were their names?  Moved out in the middle of the night; too proud to tell anyone their money was gone.  It wasn’t like that when Old Man Burgess lived there.

Just across the street, resided a pretty young blonde woman, her daughter, and boyfriend.  It turned out they were fugitives from the law; wanted for murder in another state.

Ashley and Jade, embarrassed pre-teens, crouched down in the battered, faded blue, family minivan.  If this were living–they’d just as soon be dead.  Their mom, Mary, sat in silence–stifled tears.  Tom, silent patriarch, drove on in darkness.  Destination: Somewhere, where no one knew their names.

James, moved out after losing his job with a well-known delivery service.  In a fit of anger, pulled the siding off the utility shed–formerly his.  His pet cat, left behind, in the melee sat on the front porch.  Kindly neighbors kept the kitty fed.

Compelling monster movies, billowed into things too scary to watch.  Egos, pride, shed instead of blood.  Did families, friends, disavow friendships during hard times?   No, they stood by through inevitable successes or failures.

Hidden battles are fought every day.  I ask for your good thoughts and prayers.  My brother from a different mother, best man at my wedding, continues to battle cancer.  We served together in the Air Force many years ago.