Friday, September 16, 2011

Dispelling the Darkness

When I walked in the Assisted Living Home, Comer and Evelyn were sitting side by side under the entry way chandelier. They were holding hands, looking straight ahead, dressed in Sunday clothes. Evelyn wore a beautiful necklace, and pink leather shoes. Comer wore a sports coat, and pinstriped shirt.Their expressions and posture were poised in expectant waiting.And I was 5 minutes early. I wondered how long they had been sitting there, leaning forward in their seats, dressed in all their finery, waiting.

I smiled when I caught sight of them, so eager for their outing, and waved. Comer, the 93 year old new author of a book of poetry, stood to greet me with a bag in his hand. Evelyn's face broke into a beaming smile of recognition, always surprising me in her struggles with Alzheimers, and threw her arms around me.
"Ready for lunch?" I said. She hugged me tightly.
Comer handed me the bag, "Six of my books, one for each neighbor."
"Oh, they will be thrilled! Did you sign them?"
"I did."
"Well then let's celebrate. How about Kentucky Fried Chicken?"
"Yes," smiled Evelyn.
"Extra crispy," said Comer.
"You got it!"

Our outing was our typical peaceful drive, while balancing fast food on our laps, and meandering through rich people's neighborhoods. Asherel was in charge of the music, and switched CDs from Engelbert Humperdinck to Romantic Melodies from the 50's. Even Comer sang along on a few of them today.

"I got a short story I want you to read," he said.
"Oh I would love to! Are we printing a book of short stories next?"
"Oh no, I don't have but three of them. But this one is particularly poignant. I wrote it years ago."
"What's it about?"
"I'm not going to tell you. You will have to read it."
"Haha! Well ok. Bring it next week."
"I sure will. It is about a Canada Goose."
"Oh, I love Canada Geese!" I said, "You know they mate for life."
"I know," he said, "That's in the story."
"I thought so," I said, glancing in the rear view mirror. He sat next to Evelyn, clutching her hand.
"Did you know Evelyn when you wrote it?"
"Oh yes," he said.
"I thought so."

I remembered my walks to the swan pond this week. I have been going twice a day, hoping against hope that I am not seeing what I am seeing. All week there has only been one swan. One lone swan, where for a year there have been two. I keep hoping I will see the second, hidden behind the brush. The lone swan has not moved from a little feeder island in the middle of the pond. A huge flock of Canada Geese float on the other end of the pond. The swan is all alone. His mate appears to be gone. My heart breaks every time I see him. Swans mate for life too, and his mate is gone.

"I've been editing my second book," I told Comer.
"What's it about?"
"Oh dear, I'm afraid I just spilled my entire drink on your floor. I am making a real mess."
"Don't worry, it needs cleaning anyway. Hey, have you been working on your new poems?"
"I have written 2 or 3."
"Well soon we will be publishing book #2 for you too!"
"Oh no, I'll die before then."
"You just never know what God might be preserving you for," I said.

Sometimes things seem so unbearably sad- old people with terrible afflictions, swans just reaching the age of producing cygnets, and the mate dies...full drinks spilling before we have a chance to sip them. But it is life. It is all part of life. Like Asherel's writing prompt yesterday said, do we truly value what we have not had to struggle to obtain?

Brother John texted me from his flood zone house last night. He'd been looting again, when the sun set.
"Scored a stakmore table!"
"Good for you! This flood is really turning out to be worth it after all!"
"I think tomorrow I'll just go to the Stakmore factory and ask them politely for the things they don't want."
"Haha, with your shotgun in hand?"
"Of course not. Way too noisy. I'll bring the Derringer."
"Got power yet?"
"No, but we ditched the generator and hooked into the neighbor's deck."
"The neighbor's have power?"
Oh good. Then John is not all alone in the flood. The neighbors are there, and they have power and warm showers, and light to cast away the darkness.

2 Samuel 22:29
29 You, LORD, are my lamp;
   the LORD turns my darkness into light.

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