I’ve said it before. There are certain types of courage I do not possess. The long-suffering patience required to be Fred The Nurse is hard-come-by for me but it is payback time. I owe Jill a lot. I’m not complaining and in fact appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate my love. I am bound to stick within a short radius of home and that’s a tall order for my restless soul. I am a good cook but it is hard to produce tasty repasts for someone who presently has a hard time eating much. Yummy bird-sized portions are a challenge and a body can only endure so much quiche and soup before rebelling. My wife is slowly recovering from her cardiac ordeal. There is a long road ahead but she’ll get there. A sure sign of progress is when I catch hell for serving more budget-priced groceries. “But it was thirty percent off!” Cheap bastard! I’ve got to be the rock she can rely on and I’m almost at the back of my Spam cookbook. Then comes ‘Beans For All Occasions.”
A friend is in Mexico for the winter aboard his boat. Another amigo in Sweden has me looking for a local boat to suit his needs and budget. I’m back in the world where I belong but may not indulge while in the middle of my urban land-bound penance. Another dear friend, ill with terminal cancer, has chosen a medically assisted end. I respect the dignity of that choice but find myself beneath a cloud of will for a miracle to bring him a return to good health and happy camaraderie. I don’t want him to suffer but I hate the idea of him no longer being around. I’ll never again be able to telephone him and hear a cheery “Allo Fritz.” I did get the chance to do that recently and now he’s sailed on already. But sailors are like that, gone before dawn with little warning. Nothing is forever, grab it while you can.
I got the notice today. He’s gone. Just like that. He went at his own will and avoided the indignity of fighting the miserable inevitability of a terminal illness. His celebration of life will be next weekend. I’ll have a drink or ten.
There’s no point in blubbing about anything and I’ve got on with the long-overdue business of submitting manuscripts to literary agencies. That is like buying a lottery ticket. One realizes the chance of winning is impossibly small but it is the faint hope which sustains. It doesn’t take much to keep inching forward through the unbearable heaviness of being. As I try to write this my wife is in the bathroom dry-barfing. There is nothing a person can do except wish you can help. Bowing down at the porcelain alter is horrible and so is listening to someone kneeling there arguing with Ralph and Huey. All that altercation (pun!) cannot be good for a damaged heart. It must be her medication and it certainly does not sound like a path to wellness. Swear words!
Once Jill is well again this mundane existence has got to change for both of us. I just can’t resolve myself to sitting around waiting. How many folks end up like this? Once you adopt this mindset, you’re dead already; just a stinky corpulent fartsalot in the way at the checkout counter trying to tell folks how you used to be able to live on twenty bucks a week. You shuffle along in your plaid slippers pushing a squeaky walker and then one day the walker is for sale and no-one can remember your name.
I was in Duncan yesterday to get the doctor to pump my knees full of cortisone. (He refuses to simply install grease nipples.) The relief was almost instant and I celebrated by going off to my favourite vegetable market. Their produce is never hosed down, some of the delicate items are displayed on a bed of ice. Wet fruit and vegetables is a favourite rant of mine. It enrages this old farm boy. It is the worst thing you can do to preserve organic items and perpetrates yet another urban myth.
While in the store I came upon a lovely display of firm, full, juicy blueberries. One of the icons of Canadism is the humble blueberry. A few hour later I’m slurping them down with a bowl of ice cream. Damn they were good! I perused the little box they came in, wanting see to see their exact origin. Peru! My rage was instant. Next I’ll find maple syrup from China!
So finally, what’s in a name. I thought that changing my blog’s name to Driftword.ca was clever and artistic. It turns out that even I found myself wanting to say Driftwood. Perhaps deadwood would have been better. Earlier this year I was trying to work with a web host who suggested that anything “BC” is a hot handle and I should adopt a name which includes the implication of British Columbia. I had to leap through flaming hoops to be able to legally use that name, just in case I was representing something government (Oh sigh) but it’s official, my new blog name is about to become bc-bog-trotter.com.
Historically the term bogtrotter refers to the lower class of Irish peasantry who roamed across the countryside, among the bogs of Ireland. It is not intended as a compliment with any use but it was what my Scottish mother-in-law called me and I chose to accept it as a term of endearment. It is also where you’ll often find me, in the backwaters and backwoods, where I choose to explore. You’ll seldom find me near any bright lights.
The weather has been descending rapidly into winter in recent days. Today the first steady, cold downpour has settled over us. It suits my mood. The dogs are huddled near the fireplace and I may go join them. Tomorrow may come. Maybe not.
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
― Mark Twain