Doc’s 90th birthday party was a grand celebration. A beautiful table was set by his son with linen, lace, china, place cards, the works. The table filled with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues from the dental office. There was laughter, talk of days past and days ahead, and Doc loved every minute of the event. This week, Doc is moving to a memory care wing of a nursing home. In just three years, we have seen our once robust neighbor go from mowing his own lawn, plowing his own driveway, running his own life to a man who can’t remember if his wife has died or not (she has), who has lost complete track of time, and who often thinks people are taking cars from his garage. He has not completely lost his memory. There are times when he seems perfectly fine..the way Doc used to be. But things are getting dangerous now. He needs full time care. He can’t be on his own, in the house he has lived in for 60 some years. We all understand that this has to be done, but none of us like it. We will miss having our dear friend next door.
I had always wanted to play guitar, but just never had the time to learn. Then my girls grew up and went on to college, and I decided that it was time to make my dream a reality. So I found a teacher, my husband found me a great acoustic guitar at a tag sale and I was ready to begin. We started with a few basic chords, and I was on my way. Those few chords seemed to be the entry into lots and lots of songs. It didn’t seem too hard. My teacher would pour me a glass of wine, we would sit down and play a few tunes and it was fantastic! But then I got serious and the work got hard. My lessons began to delve into music theory and my teacher demanded that I understand major, minor and dominant. The chords became more difficult and remembering all the shapes was taxing on my aging brain. My fingers hurt after playing. I was frustrated when we ventured into different tunings and moving chords up and down the fretboard. OK, there were times when I almost cried it was so hard. I thought about quitting my lessons and just going back to playing songs with those few open chords I had learned, but there is something about the constant challenge and those times when I work hard and finally get things right that is so powerful and so addicting, so I carry on. I want to find ways to make my students love the challenge and the growth that comes from learning something new and trying to be the best.
It’s Friday. The week is behind us. The weekend before us. Friday at our house means time for friends. Tonight we are serving a sausage casserole with polenta (kind of like a fancy shephard’s pie). We are waiting for our friends to arrive. They have been away for the month of Fenbruary. The fire is roaring (another Friday night ritual), the food is cooking and making the whole house smell wonderful, the puppy is curled up on her bed and we are sipping on a glass of wine. It’s quiet. Soon people will arrive, the dog will bark, the conversations will start (and sometimes those get pretty heated), the wine will flow, the food will be eaten, new logs will continually be added to the fire. And then, coffee and dessert will be served, the conversation will settle down, the puppy will fall asleep, the dishes will be washed, our guests will head home, the fire will burn down, and it will be quiet once again.
It was one of those raw winter late afternoons in New England where the rain mixed with sleet and the sky was steel gray. One of those days where you can’t get rid of the chill. One of those days when all you want to do is go home, pour yourself a cup of hot tea and curl up on the couch with a blanket and a good book. But that wasn’t going to happen today as I am now the owner of an adorable and rather energetic puppy! So on went several layers of clothes, a winter hat and coat, gloves and warm boots. The pup went in the car and we headed out for a walk.
Mine was the only car in the parking lot. We headed out on the trails. It was cold at first, but as we got going, I quickly warmed up and began to notice how beautiful it was to be out in the world, just me and my dog. We walked and stopped, and stopped again, to look around (and sniff around). We walked some more. I remembered how I used to love being outside when no one else was around. I used to love being up in the early morning when it was quiet. I used to love going out in the rain to play when everyone else was inside and dry.
There is something about overcoming the elements that I enjoy.