She walks through the room where I am working and says, “I just wrote a piece about you.” I got sidetracked and told her a story about hearing the pseudonyms of David Dennison and Peggy Peterson for Donald Trump and an alleged paternity case. As a young kid my parents shared cartoon characters named Denny Dimwit and Winnie Winkle. I loved the alliterations as much as I loved the comics. Denny was asked by his teacher to use the words, defeat, deduct, defense and detail in a sentence and he said, “De feet of de duct went over de fense before de tail.” I looked forward to the Sunday newspaper and what we called the funnies, another word for comic strips.
One of the many adorable characteristics about S is her sense of humor. She and I both love comedy, laughing that releases all kinds of good endorphins and relief from some of the more serious shit that’s going on that makes you want to cry. We share that as well, which helps because we can talk about it, how absurd much of it seems to be and yet we understand that there is a serious dimension to living with a mentally compromised person in the WH. Being isolated and quarantined, most of the time, we are watching a varied selection of movies and documentaries. Two recent ones, quite different from one another are “A Boy Called Sailboat” and “I Am Not Your Negro.” If you haven’t seen them, consider. And, for pure fun and fantasy, “Palm Springs.” We also read a lot of books both fiction and non-fiction and usually have one going continually.
That we agree with each other on so much about who we are, where we are and what we’re about is only the beginning. After 24 years she continues to be the light of my life, bringing a good measure of happy contentment as well as stimulating further thoughts and questions.
I often wonder if it’s because she is a survivor and knows what’s important and what is trivial and of little consequence. At age 37 she suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage (aneurysm) followed by a stroke a week later and that experience changed her life dramatically. Thirty-five years later, she is fine, even successfully battling cancer in 2009 while we were in London. She’s one tough bird, like her mother, with whom she talks regularly, recording some conversations lately. Her mother is 106, very alert and will probably celebrate 107 in January.
One of many things I have learned from S is the importance of convenience. She is willing to pay for convenience. I used to think it was a frivolous expense but she changed my mind. Extra $$ for comfort and convenience, making it better and easier and why not at this stage of life? If you’re wondering what “this stage of life” is, I’m not sure except to say we bought a new mattress. It’s one of those with electronic wireless controls that can position head or feet according to your desired levels. And it’s a split, California King, which means we can select what each of us wants when we want it without inconveniencing the other. Great for reading in bed too.
S invites me to join her in yoga and I invite her to go on a hike with me. Neither of us accepts but we know that each of us has good intentions for the other as well as ourselves. She is like that, wishing that I would do more for my good health and likewise, I wish the same for her. It’s a kind of mutual and hoped for health maintenance and improvement program that has made some progress.
We started walking a couple of miles each day before we left on a recent 4,000 mile road trip and now we walk in the early mornings about two miles, down to the Santa Cruz River and back along Santa Gertrudis Road. FYI, the Santa Cruz River is one of few that flow north in the U.S. Our normal route takes us up and down small hills, along a dirt road past a couple of ranches, across the Union Pacific railroad tracks and then to the edge of the river. We often drive across the river as long as it’s not flooding, cutting off 6 miles from a trip to the village. I use those descriptions as a metaphor for life, ups and downs, on a path, a short journey and so much to see and experience along the way. On we go, moving soon into our new little house in the village of Tubac. Blessed and grateful, As my PCP said to me this morning in a telemeeting, “I like your energy.” So do I.