Friday, October 22, 2010

On Spirit Day, Political Debate & The Hunting Trip: Part 2

As we sat on the new sofa sipping wine she scanned the room offering decorating ideas, her gaze fell and fixed on an 11X14" photo I shot years ago of my grandmother as we enjoyed coffee with chicory and beinets at the Cafe du Monde in the French Market in New Orleans. It is one of those once-in-a-lifetime shots of her in one of her favorite settings, and she is glowing.

GM: Who is that in the picture eating a piece of cake?

me: That's my grandma and it's not cake, it's a beinet. I related the whole story to her and she smiled.

GM: I never knew of this side of you. (Our glasses clinked.) I truly understand what you have been through these last few years; I was there myself not that long ago. (very personal stuff followed) I know how you feel about not being able to go out to dinner or even buy a friend a drink once in a while. I also know how this hurts you deeply; you're so used to giving, and you will again. I know it. I have been there.

The personal stuff  floored me and (to my mind) was far worse than my situation. Different, she said, not worse.

GM: Did you read the label on that bottle of wine I brought in?  No? Go get it and read that label.

The wine was called "To Hell and Back"

GM: That, my friend, is where you have been and the best part is that you are 'back'! Though you've had little support here, your friends around the country and elsewhere have supported you and that support gave you confidence and the strength to move forward. Mine was provided by the Dos Locos guys when the times were very dark and I made it through, too.

I didn't have anything to say to all this. We sat in silence for a while, sipping the Merlot. Then...

GM: You know, you need 2 more EXPEDIT bookcases for that wall to frame that large painting over in the corner, which will help cover that old thermostat in the process.

It was time to part company and this wee Irish lass with a big heart took all the packing materials, tossed them into the back of the truck, turned and gave me a big hug, and was gone.

I came back upstairs and sat on the new sofa once again. It was so still after all the noise and activity assembling furniture. Looking around at the difference a few furnishings and a single person can make, I began to cry. Quiet tears, not big sobs. The knowledge that this very private person would share such intimate details of her dark times had a calming effect; allowing for the release of 'aloneness' (is that a word?) I've held in for so long.

Exhausted and a bit drunk, a shower was taken and the bed felt warm as I drifted off to dreamless, restful sleep.

There has been a marked difference in our relationship since that day; one that is most welcome by both sides.

And so it goes.


  1. good story; thank you for sharing it.

  2. W, it's not only a word but a feeling too.

    Those Dos Locos guys are realy psychotherapists, without you knowing they bring out the best in their staff and new friends on the way.


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