Sunday, November 8, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 11-07-20: Christy/Everett/Riley Update, Reading, A Billy Collins Surprise and My Last Four Years

 1. The best family news of today: Christy's Covid test came back negative.  This is a great relief. 

As far as an Everett update, Christy dropped off a letter and card -- maybe other things -- I don't know -- and, as the day progressed, found out that Everett's CAT scan results are pending and that he's hanging in there -- no real changes. 

I dog sat Riley while Christy was in Coeur d'Alene. This is the third time in the last week that he has stayed with me and I wondered if he might be less agitated today. He was. For about a half an hour or so he paced, jumped up on the empty chair next to mine, jumped up on the love seat, and cried a tiny bit. I didn't unleash him. I walked him in the house and, when we did this, he was calm, the leash was slack. At some point, he completely relaxed, jumped up on the love seat, and for most of his visit (unless I got up to do something), Riley sat and lay on the love seat, slept some, and acted like staying with me wasn't that different from being at home. 

He lit up with excitement when Christy returned. He always does! 

My hope is that Riley really has come to accept staying with me as a source of comfort, not of anxiety. Either way, he's always welcome and he and I work things out, no matter how he's feeling.

2. With the help of saltine crackers and cream cheese, saltine crackers and sardines, a small bowl of popcorn, cups of tea, a bowl of brown rice seasoned with Bragg Liquid Aminos, and the warmth of the house's heating system, I spent much of the day experiencing family conflicts, secular and ecclesiastical political intrigue, successes and set backs in cathedral construction, and grisly attacks and battles in the south of England in the 12th century as I devoured more of The Pillars of the Earth

3. I don't have the reading stamina I once had and, during one of my breaks from The Pillars of the Earth, I was on line and received a notice that Billy Collins was, surprise!, on Facebook. He was live. I tuned in. He was playing a John Phillip Sousa march. He sat in front of an American flag unfurled across the wall behind his desk chair. He'd poured himself a Jameson's Irish Whiskey. His wife Suzannah was home after visiting newborns in Utah and was drinking a Moscow Mule made from potato vodka. 

The came on the air to express their joy and relief that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had won the election.

Billy Collins wrote the poem, "Launch", upon request from the Associated Press, for Barak Obama's 2009 inauguration. (He was one of several poets the AP invited to mark the occasion with a poem.)

He read that poem today and it was fitting for the launch of Joe Biden's presidency, just has it had been for Barak Obama's. 

Stumbling upon this surprise broadcast was fun, a fortuitous accident. 

Afterward, I did some thinking today that I would have done no matter who won the election.

I find these presidential elections a convenient time to review what happened in my life over the past  four years of a presidential term.

I might write something in more detail at another time. For now, I'll just say that I'll always think of the Donald J. Trump years as a time of great change in my life, a time of many months of separation from Debbie, many of those months living alone, and as a time of profound loss. Mom died in 2017.

I thought today about how the first year of Trump's presidency, for me, was marked by daily concern about Mom's declining health and by trips to Kellogg to help Christy and Carol take care of Mom and then to be with her daily during her stay at Cascadia across the street. It was during President Trump's first year in office that we decided to move to Kellogg. As the Trump presidency progressed, Debbie took a job in Eugene and lived there; in 2019 Ellie was born and Adrienne and Josh needed help and Debbie spent extended time in New York helping care for Ellie. Debbie returned to New York just a couple of months ago to help out because of how the pandemic is affecting Adrienne and Josh's family life. They needed Debbie to help them out with Jack and Ellie. 

I'll leave things there for now. If I write it, in another blog post I'd like to reflect a bit on how I decided to deal with no longer living in Maryland, near Washington, D. C. Leaving the east coast was difficult. I also had to make decisions about how to live well while alone, first while Debbie was in Eugene, mostly without a pandemic and then how to live well while alone under the restrictions I imposed on myself (and still do) with the pandemic's onset and, by the end of August, Debbie's departure to New York. 

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