Chivalry

It is not dead. It lives in Texas, the north (certainly not the northeast coast of the US) and midwest. Perhaps the Rockies a bit if it’s truth to tell and old pickup trucks, not just snow bunnies.

We’ll be married 14 years next month and actually dated for 16 months before marriage. Dating, that’s not a concept I recall. Now it’s Roku and Netflix. I digress.

I told you my father died yesterday, after a long, hearty, mostly healthy, always interesting life. He was a gentleman. My husband is one as well, with his Texas verbiage. No, ma’am, yes sir, thank you ma’am.

Since Dad died I’ve had a few visitors, mainly older and male. They know my husband is en route home right now and was not here when the news came down, so came to call. One brought two beautiful red roses and said one was for me, one was for my Dad, and May He Find Peace.

That was my old neighbor, the retired architect. They now live three blocks down the street.

Another said he thought I needed company yesterday morning so I got to make him breakfast. Good, as I needed it as well. Eggs, biscuits and bacon and tea. He showed me his place and it’s the neatest living space I’ve ever seen. I told him when he has a date he has to put out an empty pizza box with a few crumbs, an empty beer can on the coffee table, and a child’s handprint ashtray with a cigar that has gone out.

Otherwise I’d be frightened to enter his abode. Now, he wants me to cater his dates as he’s never used the stove, oven, dishwasher or w/d. While I prep and clean everything as I go, I believe he may have physical pain as I mess up his pristine environment.

The Three Amigos. That is what I should call them. They were a bit of a clique the other day. Now each of them has called on me. The roses guy was my next-door neighbor. My husband is away a lot and he’d stop by once a week and knock on the door to see if I was doing OK and ask when my husband was coming home.

The last amigo asked to visit this morning. He could not find the number on our door due to macular degeneration so went home and got a magnifying glass. He used it to see all my photos and artwork, and couldn’t believe that Dad started painting at age 80. My father¬†died yesterday having recently turned 85.

Now that both my parents are gone my husband’s parents have already said I have a new family now. I would like to thank my husband, who arrives in about 40 minutes (his pizza will be ready) and his family who took me in nearly 15 years ago. J’s “Nanny” is mine, she offered that first day. I’m an honorary “grand.” Of course there are great-grands, and now more.

I treasure my Three Amigos for taking care of me these past two days. There was another knock on my door, a huge evergreen basket to place by the fireplace. Something to place by a hearth. No hearth, much heart. Thank you, you know who you are. I’ve lived beside you for nearly five years.

Might this all have something to do with a nun’s desk? Nah, it’s all Dad’s magic. He had a way with people, I always learned from him, and will instill some of our knowledge into younger folks but as he is gone I will not be able to ask him for more. I always wanted his take on things. That will no longer be available as he is gone. Cheers, Dee

 

“Hi, Dee!!!”

That’s how he sounded on a good day. His voice just made my day. I’m going to ask my husband when he is home this weekend to find a voicemail message with that on it because it’s priceless.

My Dad passed away early this morning. He was calm, comfortable and under 24/7 hospice care since this past weekend.

Luckily we got to spend a few days together before Thanksgiving, swapping stories. Interesting lives, interesting stories.

Why will this venue not accept my photo? I was six months old, at a picnic in the mountains, on Dad’s lap. He was holding me to protect me and I was reaching out to pet a neighboring picnicker’s dog. All I wanted was the dog. “But Dad, I just want to pet the dog!” Yep, that’s my brain at six months. No vocalization needed. Just be a horse and strain at the bit. You’ll get to pet the dog.

My entire life he looked out for me, and let me reach for whatever star I wanted. He is loved, and already missed, by many. He lived his life trying to make things better, education, world affairs, the arts.

I certainly do not wish to bore you, but there are two brief stories that show the man as who he was. Tomorrow. A teary cheers from Dee

 

Outfits

I remember trying a thong 20 or so years ago. Ick. Now I’ve a cropped top to wear under a lace bodysuit. Yes. Buy something to cover something else!

The cropped top, I keep trying to tuck in. It will not, nor is it designed to do so. As everything is in the wash I’m wearing leopard print pajama pants. For bed, and a strenuous interview in a few moments with a man I haven’t seen in fifty years.

He was a truck driver. My father had him take an IQ test and of course he’s a genius. He went to college and became a psychologist. Before age eight I was allowed to visit him and his dear wife, an artist, once a week. He would give me a psychoses and I’d look one up and define it for him the next week. My favorite was triskadekaphobia, fear of the number 13.

We have an appointment by phone. Why take a call from a neighbor from the 1960’s? Because my father is now under hospice care and taught him to play handball in an indoor court. He’s 87 and still plays and credits my father for that. He arranged for a lengthy appointment.

I need to call my husband briefly before the doc is in. I just talked to a clinical psychologist (dear wife of an old work friend) and she says I’ll do OK. Cheers! Dee

Snakes on a Plane?

I’ve heard of a movie of that name, never saw it. I’ve a worse nightmare, a bodysuit on a plane.

There’s a place I go to buy clothing that has bodysuits with no snaps. OK, you get to the airport with plenty of time to check in and hang out in security lines then go through TSA. After security, you buy a bottle of water for the plane. Often they don’t even give you a cup of ice cubes with a tablespoon of water in it.

So, you sip your water at the gate. Then you need to use the restroom because you’ll never get a chance to do so on the plane. No snaps means that in the airport or on the plane, you’ll have to strip down and life will never be the same. Three snaps means an annoying five minutes you’ll never get back. I suggest wearing something easy under layered sweaters. It’s always hot when you board. Then once the engines are engaged, it’s freezing.

Gals used to tell me to wear linen on the plane. It wrinkles like crazy but they said they’ll know you only want the best so you may be upgraded. I prefer basic black or white “dressy”tees under a sweater or two, coat above if needed.

Today I made a “cheater” brussels sprout and cauliflower gratin that eliminated about 17 steps from my usual recipe. Hopefully our nephew will be able to make it tomorrow as his grandfather and our cousin, Zoe’s vet, enjoy it.

I also made a cranberry orange sauce for parfaits. I may just have to make another as I will not be allowed to take it on the plane. I was supposed to take Zoe today but am holding on for now. She is a comfort to me. Note to self: do not ever wear a bodysuit on a plane again! Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving! Dee and Zoe

Older and Giving

Our dog Zoe is over 90 in “people years” but she keeps on going. She spent some time at a retail business last week and will again do so this Thanksgiving week.

I’m told she’s a hit. I just need to comb out the undercoat she is shedding so she looks presentable. She is so kind with people of all ages and all dogs (except the one that wants to eat her) and even cats. Squirrels and mice should watch out but she’ll never catch them, especially on my 6′ leather leash with Martingale collar.

When I move from room to room in the middle of the night, she follows me within three minutes. Now it’s an hour before she knows I am gone and displays her herding skills, not letting me go anywhere without her say-so.

As the sun begins to come up, I do receive regular emails from Stirling Castle in Scotland. It was home to several monarchs from Scotland and even James II who ruled both Scotland and England after Queen Elizabeth I.

The new parliament and nation that is Scotland is an inspiration to me and has been since our long-term visit a few years ago. While there I called my uncle/godfather and asked if he wished for me to contact any of his relatives while there. He said no, that his family had left in the 1700’s to kick the French out of Canada. Well, that didn’t work. Montreal is now French, centuries later.

He did say that if I was in a Scottish pub, any pub, and used his name someone would stand me a pint. I never tried it.

Just as Zoe is getting older and more frail, so am I. So are our families. That’s the way it goes when one attains a certain age. I think we have to embrace life, collect mental memories, and rage, rage against the dying of the light. I never understood Dylan Thomas as a kid, but by age eight, I understood both Anne Frank and Death Be Not Proud about the son of John J. Gunther.

This time of year I usually cook a lot and drive my dog halfway across the country to see my husband and his family. This year, she’ll be taken care of and I’ll fly in with minimal cooking. So, gals, does this mean I need to do dishes??? Happy Thanksgiving, Dee

 

 

We Have Light

I’ve only gotten a tabletop tree for the past few years, to use our ornaments. Much is missing including tree lights and many ornaments that must be in storage.

My husband has always been here to bring home the small tree. This year I lost the lights so got two clamps and spotlights from above and below. He is away at work so wants to make sure I’m not burning the place down!

We’ve some cool items. A Texas snowman with a lasso. White deer in an apron, standing with a tray of cookies. Santa in a Scottish kilt with bagpipes and his other as a thistle, the national flower of Scotland, for our cherished time there.

I’ve a copper pot and a whisk from the old days, and tagboard ornaments kids gave to me after a holiday play I coordinated as a fund-raiser years ago. There are two wooden planes from a nearby air museum, and the two wooden stockings I bought us two months after we met.

There is a recycled glass star from the eco-center down our old street, and a mitten from there, handmade for the dog, that I’m missing. The dog Zoe does have a few ornaments and we also have a fake teeny mouse in bed under a blanket in a half walnut shell from a dear elderly friend for which mice ornaments are a passion.

I did it all myself. Even the lighting solutions. Husband said to go buy lights. No, I’m not taking 100 ornaments off now. I already had to clean up enough pine needles for one day.

Leaving Wednesday for Thanksgiving, I look forward to seeing family. When my dog and husband return we will have a few days with which to look forward to sharing time and meals and walks together. Perhaps even a Star Wars marathon! He saw this when he was a kid, it took meeting him to introduce me. I like it, but he knows every line and the differences between original and remake.

I wish you a happy Thanksgiving. I know it’s all about tradition but I try to do something new every once in a while. Have a happy! Dee

 

 

The Fog Comes on Little Cat Feet

Carl Sandburg, about Chicago. I wrote an illustrated paper on it at age 8 for Mrs. T. Thinking I got an A++.

Now this fog is messing with my family. Cancer shows up, sneaks up. Unlike Mr. Sandburg I would not attribute it to a cat. Often cats are mascots in nursing homes and I have loved them over the years. My two talked and were not very stealthy. One taught himself to jump over the sofa and retrieve crumpled post-it notes! He also knocked my keys down from the counter, playing hockey with them. Anything but quiet. The older one never let me get in the last word until I held him in my arms and he was gone at age 13.

My mother died of cancer eight years ago. My father now has two kinds of cancer. His dear companion has another after surviving a different one years ago. I wish to ask when does it end? Not with death.

It ends when we finally have a cure for cancer. I’ll get it. My in-laws and husband will get it. When is enough?

I believe the organizations who raise money for diseases make the most money for themselves. Cancer is cancer, whether it be breast, prostate or whatever. Fighting among themselves for money is doing a disservice to all. Get rid of cancer, no matter what celebrity has a certain type that is popular for donors as of this moment.

Angry at the medical profession and scientists who depend on grants for specific cancers I am skeptical, however optimistic that someone will see the light. Dee