Posted tagged ‘friends’

Goodbye … Again

March 16, 2018

Muri_JackieLast week, we said goodbye to our dear friend, Jackie, who passed away after an extended hospital stay.   We had been visiting her twice a week at the hospital, both to enjoy her company and to give her daughters (who both have their own children to care for) some time off.   We watched and waited for signs of improvement but at least to our eyes, they never really materialized.   Jackie was tired and somewhat groggy much of the time but as we sat and talked about our almost fifty years as friends, the Jackie we knew would make regular appearances, the radiant smile and her laugh lighting up her hospital room.   Last Wednesday morning her daughter called us to say, You’d best come down and say goodbye, she’s not going to make it.  She was unconscious when we arrived but we took turns sitting beside her, talking to her, saying our goodbyes.  Late in the afternoon, after the family had arrived, she was taken off life support and quietly passed. (more…)

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Mom and the King

March 10, 2018

muscialsI grew up to the sound of music (and, yes, The Sound of Music) on the TV/Stereo Console in the living room, right under the picture window that looked out on Bradley Street. That is, I grew up to music when Dad wasn’t home.  Dad liked it quiet and I can remember Mom lovingly lifting the needle for one of her favorite LPs at the sound of Dad pulling into the driveway.   I get it.   I would have music playing all the time (it actually is, in my head) … my wife Muri sees it as background at best, off even better.  Like so many things that define me, I got my love of music from Mom.   What did she listen to?  Yes, there was some obligatory Montovani, 101 Strings and yulFerrante and Teicher but mostly she played big bands (especially Glenn Miller), classical music (she favored symphonies) and Broadway musicals.   I still remember the lyrics from South Pacific (Some enchanted evening …), Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plains ...) and My Fair Lady (I’ve grown accustomed to her face …).   Then there’s The King and I.  My Mom’s favorite.   She saw it in New York and immediately had a crush on Yul Brynner.   It was the only time I remember my Mom owning up to a crush.   I think my Dad was OK with it because he had more than a little bit of the King in him.  Then I went away to college and became educated (technically) and sophisticated (supposedly), too cool to listen to Broadway musicals.  Once I was married, my wife and I became fans of live theater, but I resisted seeing those uncool musicals.   It would be years before I admitted my love of musicals and began to add them to our theater repertoire.   Sophistication be damned, right?   At 73, I’m nostalgic. (more…)

Fire

October 12, 2017

Monday morning at 10:00, my wife, Muri, and I set out to deliver Meals on Wheels, our monthly service date. As we left our neighborhood, strong Santa Ana winds were blowing in from the East, filling that air with ash from the recent Canyon Fire.  The fire watch truck was parked at the top of Weir Canyon Road, as it usually is when fire danger is high but we saw no sign of smoke. By 10:30, we had loaded our cooler of meals into the car and were on our way to our first client.  Now, a large smoke plume was rising above Anaheim Hills, so we turned on the radio.  A fast moving fire has broken out near the site of last month’s Canyon Fire.  Evacuation of Anaheim Hills is imminent.   We (more…)

What Would You Take?

September 28, 2017

heloAs I sit here trying to feed my poor starving blog, helicopters fly back and forth at low altitude over our house, rattling the windows, a reminder that the 2,000 acre Canyon Fire, to the east of us, is under control but not out.  Wildfires are a fact of life here in Socal and the heartbeat of anyone who has lived in proximity to the many wilderness areas here is sure to accelerate at the sight of a smoke plume nearby.   And they all look closer than they are.  The Canyon Fire started 5 miles to the East of us, almostcanyon fire exactly where the devastating Freeway Complex started in 2008.  That monster burned 20,000 acres and took 190 homes, several within a mile or so of us.  We were evacuated for that fire and the 2006 fire 2 years earlier because our house is one house-row away from a wilderness area.   As a wildfire veteran, when the smoke first appeared on Tuesday, the first thing I noticed was which way the smoke was blowing.   It was not blowing over our house, which is a good thing, at least for us, but it’s no promise of safety.  In the late summer, early autumn winds shift frequently from primarily eastward offshore to Santa 0926_nws_rpe-l-corefire-wp12.JPGAna winds, which howl westward down the Santa Ana Canyon where we live.   The Canyon Fire spread rapidly eastward toward Corona, prompting the evacuation of 1,500 homes, including our good friends who live in one of the neighborhoods most closely threatened.  It is never good when you see pictures of a friend’s neighborhood on the news. (more…)

Travels with Britta and Barney

February 20, 2017

OLD COUPLELast week, Muri and I traveled to Florida to spend the week on Siesta Key with our good friends, Britta and Barney.  Let me say at this point that Britta has no use for social media, not even high class literary social media like Older Eyes- Bud’s Blog.  Hence, in the interest of preserving a very long friendship, Britta is a pseudonym, as is Barney.  They had rented a small cottage near the beach and invited us to join them and their two dogs, Keppah and Kishka.  Also pseudonyms.  Kishka isn’t fond of social media either.  Because Britta and Barney live on the East Coast (in an undisclosed location), we see them only occasionally. (more…)

Missing

September 7, 2016

cardLast week, I was working in the park, as I often do when I want to especially enjoy the benefits of being self-employed.   There is a picnic bench right next to the lake under the shade of a spruce tree that makes a delightful office.   I was getting my laptop out of its travel bag when a card fell out of the side compartment onto the table.   As soon as I noticed the two kittens climbing a Christmas tree on the front, I knew what it was … it was a Christmas card from my friend, Stan, from the winter before he passed away from pneumonia.  I opened it and read: (more…)

Motown Memories

September 2, 2016

yearsI am an introspective sort of old guy.  Being old … seventy-two, to be specific … is an advantage for an introspective man, providing lots of life to introspect (no, it’s not a word … consider it senior literary license).   I am also a lucky man.   As I move inexorably into my seventies, I am, as they say, comfortable in my own skin.   No, I am not quite perfect … defects of character and irrational prejudices still haunt me … but for the most part, I manage not to act on them.   Mistakes?  Yes, Frank Sinatra, I’ve made a few but I’ve tried to learn from each of them and I think I am a better person for the effort.  Pardon me if I pat my own back and say I have an examined life, which, according to Socrates, makes life worth living.   These days, I find myself looking back over the years not in judgement but in curiosity, trying to understand what made me turn out as I am.  So let me ask you this.  Have you ever asked yourself, What was was the most significant year in determining who you are? (more…)