Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Patty Griffin Making Pies



I don't make pies. I make cobblers. Exactly the way my mama taught me. Butter, flour, sugar, milk and fruit. Easy.
I have made cobblers for church socials, friends and neighbors. They are all eaten quickly. Something comforting about the crunchy crust and warm fruit with vanilla ice cream melting and puddling around it...

A friend from college sent me the link to Patty Griffin's song "Making Pies". The images and words pull me in, remembering strong women in my life. Time spent in the kitchen with my mother patiently teaching me to cook, and also learning by just watching her cook. Talking with friends over a piece of pie and coffee on a rainy day. The pies in Dottie's cafe in Horse Cave KY when I worked at the theater there, cobblers too.
Cakes have their place in the world: weddings, birthdays, celebrations of note. But pies, they are for everyday. For small moments and big memories. For intimacy and shared stories. For rainy days and small talk. For comfort, love and remembrance.
Thanks Dave.

Little Mo



So today Mo is at the vet's office. And I am playing the anxious mother. These past few years have been so difficult. At one point we had 2 dogs, a fish and 5 cats...
Our animal family has dwindled in the past two years. First was Molly the dog, a gift from God, no question. She graced our home during the last 5 years of her life. A funny, peaceful, easy to love Golden Retriever. Next we lost Sniffy Pie and Dennis the fish and more recently Buddy Love, a 22 year old Brooklyn St. cat who was Mo's constant companion since Mo came home as an 8 week old kitten.

Now Mo has begun to decline at age 15. My kitten. My little geriatric kitten.
In the midst of a summer where some of my most beloved human family members are struggling with cancer and fighting for their lives, my cat may be too.

I have sought solace in animals my whole life. Their unconditional love, their willingness to absorb tears, endure long hugs and their ability to calm me with their presence has saved me emotionally countless time.

Especially Little Mo. I carried him around in my pocket as a kitten at the vet clinic where I worked. He has slept beside my head for hundreds of nights, his purr lulling me to sleep. He is a lovebug, seeking out people, greeting them and welcoming them to our home.

And now I am waiting for the outcome of a test. I am at home while he is at the vet's. I have concerns. As with my human family, I know a little too much about the medical world and this leads me at time to anticipate the worst, to feel their pain, to ache with them, not for them, but with them and to be afraid because I have no answers.

I hate the unknown.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

In the Waiting Room

Some days the waiting is too hard.
Time either runs swiftly or barely moves at all.
It is disorienting
this time of daily, hourly, minute by minute change.
I feel as if the world is a transient space,
ebbing, flowing, lives intertwining
and then breaking apart never to touch again.

It is a world of strangers
who become friends briefly.
Common theme touching each one
lightly or darkly
weaving strands of lives together
to complete one row in the
tapestry.

These rows are the ones
deemed slight imperfections
to reflect the reality of the maker.
Slubs will occur to testify to
"a slight irregularity in yarn
produced either accidentally
or purposely
by knotting or twisting or
by including uneven lengths of fiber in spinning."

Which are we I wonder as I stare about
at faces transformed by scalpel, age, and pain.
Which are we? Accident or purpose?
All uneven fibers
twisting, twining, spinning...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

An indeterminate time...

It is the first day since surgery two months ago that the hubster and I have been alone in our home together.
His mother came to stay before he was discharged from the hospital. My sister and I cleaned feverishly, to make room for a visit of indeterminate length.
He came home from the hospital with an eight inch incision, no jugular on his right side, no nerve to his right ear, 4 lymph nodes and tumor gone from the curve of his jaw...
He recovered from that invasion to his body, only to be told that he needed teeth extracted. Not some, but all. He has spent his life with words, living and breathing them, uttering them dramatically from a stage, whispering them tenderly in the night, drawing people in with humor and pathos, now he would lose them for an indeterminate time...
Once recovered from the extractions, he had a feeding tube placed. They pierced his side and now water flows into him, to be replaced by food, as needed, in an indeterminate time...
His mother has stayed with us, cooking, cleaning, helping organize so that we could find a new normal for us. Things have settled into a routine: up at 7, coffee for me, feed the pets, shower, open the Ensure, lay out a lot of pills for him. Flush the tube, change the bandage, leave the house by 8 to get to radiation treatment. Wait. Go home, feed him and myself. Nap through the heat of the day, do the crosswords with Mum, cook in the cool of the night, more pills, more bandage changes, more waiting...
Now Mum has gone home for an indeterminate time. Waiting for our call if we need her.
Today we went to church, he sang in the choir, his voice winding its way to my heart, me crying on the song where we sing "I'm lost without you", the words taking on a new meaning, a nuance in my soul where God and husband meet as the loves of my life...
Today he wrote, the house feeling strangely empty without Mum. I understand her going home, she is needed elsewhere for now. We are OK, we have the routine down. Still it was strange to be alone together. We were quiet, words on paper, nestling and curling around one another in a long nap. Gentle touches, a few tears, and his beautiful smile...
I know that this won't last, but today we were in a magic time. A healing time. A strong time. It was just us, alone together, and Cancer was not invited in...