Tag Archives: Samantha

Hitting the Wall

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Isn’t this the most beautiful baby?? My newest little great-grandchild, Lincoln…I’m so glad I had the chance to meet him!

I had never been to the east coast before, either. I have always wanted to see New England, so this was a great opportunity. My daughter and her family were fantastic travel companions. The trip there and back was tiring but fun; the time spent with Michael, Samantha and this new baby was a treat. All of our side adventures were memorable. I don’t regret a thing.

Still.

Back from Connecticut, one night in Lapeer, then a four hour drive to Charlevoix, a twenty minute plane ride to Beaver Island, a rush to go pick up my little dog, then home.

The next day, it was back to work. Plus attend a meeting, mid-morning, at the Community Center, pick up a week’s worth of mail at the post office and collect my luggage – which arrived a day later than I did to Beaver Island – from the airport. In the evening, three hours of computer work regarding the news-magazine, then bed.

Yesterday, up early to write my blog, nine hours at the hardware and  a visit with Aunt Katie before going home. There, I had a stack of subscription renewals and address changes to enter into the database, several phone calls to return, one story to rewrite for length, my personal bills to pay, two bank deposits to prepare, laundry, play with Rosa Parks, then bed.

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that vacations – no matter how joyous – are exhausting!

I’m so tired!

I have this day and two more to work at the hardware before I have a day off. I am also in the thick of trying to get one issue of my magazine to the printer, and the next issue plotted out and written.

Today, for my daily writing, this is it. I have hit the wall. A complaints list…a bit of whining…that’s all I’ve got this morning.

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Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig

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It was wonderful to get away!

I had good visits with two of my sisters, both of my daughters and three of my grandchildren…plus quality time with Lincoln Phillip, my tiny new great-grandson.

I waited at the airport on Beaver Island for more than four hours with a driving snowstorm going on outside, before finally making my way to Charlevoix. The flight was good, Charlevoix was clear, and the four hour drive was uneventful. That was Tuesday.

On Thursday I met up with the Clark family: my daughter, Kate; her husband, Jeremy; their two youngest children, Madeline and Tommy. They would be my traveling companions for the next several days. We were headed for Connecticut to visit with Kate’s oldest son, Michael, and his little family.

I hadn’t seen Michael in a couple years. I had not yet met his girlfriend, Samantha. They had recently added a new family member, that we were all excited to meet.

The drive was long, but good. There was plenty to see (except in Ohio, of course) and lots to talk about. Kate and I had each brought stories to read aloud. She brought a short story collection by Steven King; I brought essays by Evan S. Connell. We played travel games; we napped.

Jeremy is a good driver. He doesn’t get nervous, or angry, or impatient. He can change lanes quickly and safely when needed, and he doesn’t mind if we miss an exit and have to backtrack. He doesn’t get agitated when a passenger (me) audibly sucks in her breath or says, “Oh, shit!!” or “Yikes!” or “Look out!” He doesn’t mind stopping for rest rooms or hunger. He doesn’t seem to mind driving for hours on end through pouring rain.

Kate is a fantastic navigator. She was in charge of the map, directing the driver. She had the trip plotted out ahead of time. Kate helped us avoid areas that were costly or that would slow us down, but she also was on the lookout for areas of interest that we might want to see. She could tell us how far we’d gone, how far yet to go and what our elevation was at any given time. When we crossed a bridge, she’d tell us the body of water. When we came to a new state sign, we cheered.

We had a lovely visit with my grandson and his family (I’ll devote a separate post to that).

We took a slightly different route back to Michigan, to change the view. We made a couple detours and stops to enrich the experience.

I spent Monday night back at my sister Brenda’s house, and drove back to Charlevoix Tuesday. I caught the last flight of the day, went to pick up my little dog and came home.

Happy to get away…so glad to be home!

 

Larry, My Friend

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I heard the sad news this morning that my friend, Larry, has passed away.

There, that’s it.

I was going to tell this story another way.

I’m taking a little course in creative writing. I’ve also been reading about the craft of telling a story well. I’ve been learning about talking around the thing you want to say, until there’s nothing else to do but say it. Anticipation, suggestion, forewarning, premonition.

I was going to start by explaining how the owner of the hardware store where I work is also a veterinarian, and that his clinic is in the back, and about how I first met Larry and his partner, John, when they came in with questions and concerns about their two old dogs.

We became better acquainted over pipe and wood stains and plumbing fixtures as they struggled to get their little house in shape.

They came to the opening reception when I had an art show here.

We met for lunch a few times.

Our friendship deepened.

I’d grumble to them about my problems while helping them pick out a paint shade or compare the qualities of different snow shovels.

They’d talk to me – separately and together – about changes and issues in their own lives.

They sold one house, and bought another. They moved a piano. John made drapes.

One year, Larry taught a class on making Christmas ornaments from long strips of colorful papers; my daughter attended with me. What a hoot, watching Jen and Larry tease and cajole and laugh together as she tried her very best to grasp his technique!

Larry played Santa at Christmastime for our charitable animal fund: “For a donation to the Animal Fund, have your pet’s picture taken with Santa!” He was a big hit! He even had his own Santa suit! I’ve never seen anyone so capable of handling animals of all types and sizes, while keeping hat, belly and beard on straight!

Larry came in one day alone, to tell me that John had been diagnosed with cancer. We just hugged each other tight with that sad news.

One day after I had quit working there, Larry called the hardware store regarding an urgent problem concerning his dog, Samantha. To Larry, all problems with his pets were urgent. He doted, fussed and worried over his animals like an over-protective mother.

The young girl that answered the telephone was new to the business. When Larry said, “I need to talk to the doctor!”, she replied, “Sir, this is a hardware store! There is no doctor here!”

Larry and John came to the little downtown gallery where I was working that day.

“This is crazy,” Larry shouted, after relating the telephone conversation. “What are you thinking? You have to go back! You are needed there!”

And then he broke down.

And we sat there, side by side, and I held both of his hands in mine as he told me about Samantha, and her nervous stomach, and the diet they tried first, then second, and the meals they were now making for her themselves, with organic brown rice and yams and chicken. He told me about her arthritic joints and how he could sympathize because of his own aches and pains. He told me about the puppy they took in, to replace the old dog they’d lost, and how it terrorized the entire household, especially Samantha, until they regretfully had to find it another home. He told me about their house-guests, who understood nothing, and stood in judgment of his doting and worrisome nature…

Every single painting could have been carried out of the gallery, and I would not have been able to turn away from Larry that day, he was so distraught and sad and in need of a listening ear.

Every now and then I caught a glimpse of John rolling his eyes.

Mostly, having missed Larry and his sweet disposition as much as he’d missed me, I was content to just hold his hands and let him talk.

I was going to tell all of this first, so that the message of Larry’s death would be a shock to you, as it was to me.

Having gotten to know him a little, you might feel the loss, too.

I just couldn’t get my heart into it.

It seemed manipulative, for one.

Two, there’s really no dressing this up.

Sometimes, a sad story is simply that.

And the loss of a dear friend is always a sad story.