Saturday, January 27, 2007

Write About Ordinary Things

It’s Saturday morning, a little after 8:00. John has taken the dogs to the park for their totally illegal off-leash romp with the other lawbreakers. On a typical Saturday there are 15 or 16 dogs having a wonderful time sniffing each other’s butts and chasing tennis balls. I have a cup of coffee within easy reach. I am drinking it from one of the cups Aunt Gladys gave me when we visited her last summer. It’s white with a silver band around the top. When I was a teenager, visiting her at her house on Norcova Drive in Norfolk, I ate breakfast in her sunny dining room and drank my morning coffee from this cup.

The phone rang as I was finishing the last sentence. It was John’s Uncle Bill calling to tell us that John’s Aunt Kate died this morning. Death is an ordinary thing, unless the woman you have been married to for 60 years is the one that has died. I heard the pain in Uncle Bill’s voice and groped for the right thing to say. Selfishly, I said how glad I was that I’d had a chance to talk to her last week. She had sounded so good then. After weeks in the hospital she had been moved to an assisted living facility and she talked about how she was looking forward to getting home. She complained about the food. “The fruit has no taste” She told me how her daughter Barbara was bringing her good coffee. She bought it at a 7-11. Uncle Bill was bringing her meatloaf. I didn’t know that would be the last time we talked. I ran out of things to say to her and handed the phone back to John so he could say goodbye. Goodbye



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