I had just finished writing about adjusting, and some of the things I was having to adjust to, due to weather, age, and other factors. I realized, then, that I had forgotten to write about the time change. Daylight Savings Time, which caused me to have to set my clocks back an hour two weeks ago, was my main inspiration for writing about adjusting!
The dogs don’t understand a time change. No matter what the clock says, they want their dinner at the usual time, which is now an hour earlier than it has been since March. By the time the clock says it’s time for me to feed them, they are languishing around their food dishes as if they think I’m intending to starve them.
We lose a lot of daylight in this northern hemisphere, as winter approaches and the days get shorter. I’m not sure how the time change helps. Maybe nothing will fix that, in November and December. Perhaps it’s not even designed to help. I think in the fall, we change our clocks to go back to “real time,” and it is in the spring that the time changes to the artificial Daylight Savings Time. In any case, it always throws me off. So, that was what had caused all the thoughts about adjusting, and then I forgot to even mention it! I was just about to do an edit, to put in a few sentences, at least, to complain about how it gets dark practically in the middle of the afternoon, and how I’ve had to change my schedule to make up for it. A phone call interrupted those plans.
On the telephone was my friend, Darrell, who I have known since he was twelve years old. I knew him first through his mother, and I always liked him, though we were not always friends. His Mom was my friend. From her, I learned of Darrell’s teen-aged exploits, his disagreements with his brother, and his fights with his Dad. I watched him grow up, settle down, and raise a family. We – from long acquaintance, shared history, and mutual close connections – became friends. He was calling to tell me that his Mom, my dear friend, Chris, had passed away.
I first met Chris in 1978, when we worked together at the Shamrock Bar and Restaurant. We were both new residents to Beaver Island. I loved being here; Chris did not. Moving to this remote island had been her husband’s idea and, like almost anything he suggested, she went along with it. She was unhappy, home-sick, and lonesome for her family back in Wisconsin. Her two sons were nine and twelve; my daughters were three and six years old. We didn’t have a lot in common, but developed a friendship, nonetheless.
We worked well together as breakfast servers at the restaurant, leaning on each other through mad rushes and difficult customers. We had family dinners together outside of work. From griping about our bosses, complaining about our husbands or sharing stories about our children, we always found plenty to talk about. By the end of that first year, Chris and I were lifelong friends.
Chris and her family moved off the island, then came back. Many times. Though she hated Beaver Island that first year, she grew to love it, and always missed it when she was away. I moved away, too, for various reasons over the years, though my heart was always here. Telephone lines and letters kept us connected through all the years, wherever we were. Whenever we found ourselves both on Beaver Island, we’d get together for coffee, and chat like the old friends we were, as if no time at all had passed between visits.
There was a running joke between us. Chris had a hard life, and she often seemed sad, or downcast. Sometimes she vented to me about her troubles; other times it was me complaining about whatever was going on in my life. No matter what, though, her tagline was always, “It’s all gonna work out.” I would tease her about it. “When?” I’d ask, “I’ve been hearing that for twenty years, Chris, when are things gonna work out??” She’d giggle at that, but she never gave up her insistence that everything would get better, in the end.
Now, all the changes that seemed so daunting pale in comparison. Now, I’m having to adjust to a world that doesn’t include my friend. Dear Chris, I hope, with all my heart, that everything has worked out for the best, for you!