Gene Autry's song, Back In The Saddle Again, plays in my head this morning. Back where a friend is a friend. I'm back to looking out the window at the sycamore tree with leaves a bit ragged after the hail storm a few weeks ago. A cowbird flew up from the meadow and perched on a limb, looked around, straightened some feathers, looked around some more and flew on. The channel of clouds is the same following the air currents from west to east above the river. Another cloud current follows Hwy 18 through the gap from Wilkes, but it goes over the house and I can't see it from inside.
Three crows are marching around on the lawn close to the house, checking to see if there might be a piece of apple missed by earlier birds. One found a piece of apple. He or she is holding it down with one foot and pecking while the other two stand by watching, waiting. The bird pecking the apple walked away and left if to the one of the others standing by. Then it flew. The first flap of the wings lifts the bird into the air and the next flap sets him in the direction he's headed.
It gives me a good laugh within when I think of my new role here that began during the period of Jr's incarceration. I've become something like a dog set on protecting his master whatever it takes. When the master is threatened, the dog growls, bares his teeth, lowers his head ready to strike, glares at the intruder with eyes that say, 'I don't care who you are--back away.' Jr's last dog was named Gypsy. Yesterday I was telling him how I feel like a guard dog since he returned home. I said, "You can call me Gypsy." He had a good laugh out of that. Laughter is healing too, so I attempt to make him laugh whenever occasion rises. Old-time humor, which is Jr's, is situational. Sick jokes that have been the rage since WW2 pass him by. Jokes at other peoples' expense are not funny to him.
The dog brought to mind my great great grandfather, Jesse Carroll Worthington, Confederate veteran from Ninemile, Tennessee. He shot himself in the barn lot when he was 74. His dog wouldn't let anyone near the body until the third day. I suppose because his scent changed. My 4th cousin by one of Jesse Carroll's brothers, Wendell Walker, told me the story. My response was, "Good dog." Wendell looked at me a moment like to say no one ever said that before.
Jr's most recent period of detention clarified for him who his friends are. One morning when I went in to see him, he was in a depressed state. He was feeling sorrow to find that some of the people who make a fuss over him when they see him five minutes every two or three months, don't care. They don't visit him, they don't call him. When they do see him, it's a whirl of noise and smoke for a few minutes pretending he's important to them, then they're gone. Now that he's been home a few hours short of two days, the ones who have stopped by to visit and stayed an hour or two happen to be the ones he realized in the nursing home bed are his only real friends. Of the ones attempting to keep him locked down with lies, professions of love and caring, talking at him instead of to him, not one has shown up or even called.
Jr's physical therapist walked in while he was telling me about his new understanding. She was struck by his demeanor on sight and asked what's his problem. I said, "He's had the misfortune of living long enough to see who his friends are and who his friends are not." A pained look came over her face. She looked at him to affirm or deny what I'd said. He said, "That's right." She said, "Oh. That hurts." And she set about cheering him up. Over and over I've seen the healing power of feminine energy on him. When a woman takes hold of his hand and talks to him he is fully present. It's not romance, nor is it a sexual feeling in him. It's feminine energy. When almost any woman stops by the house to visit with him, I ask her to sit beside him where he can feel what for him is life energy.
His first day home he went to bed at three in the afternoon and rose at ten the next morning. Nineteen hours. Sometimes asleep, sometimes awake. He drifts back and forth, largely staying in that place between asleep and awake, which is both and neither. It is, however, restful. He asked me why he was so tired. I thought of what we call jet lag. I told him I've seen in people I've known who go away for an extended period of time and return home, all they want to do is sleep. I don't know that, but it seemed like a reasonable answer to his question going by my own experience. It was the best I could do. I added that all he has done for the last 2.5 months is lie in bed, maybe he got used to it, which I doubted and he did too. Last night he went to bed at 7. It's 10:30 the next morning and he's still lying down. He's been up a few times to pee. After some time thinking about it, I've come to 2.5 months of incarceration against his will caused much anxiety and tension. When he was released, those months of tension fell away and left him feeling drained. He said that felt more like it.
We both had surprises come up concerning who our friends are. When somebody I thought was a friend shows me they're not, I think of it as illusion-busting. I had an illusion and it went pop like a balloon. It doesn't feel so good for awhile, like a friend died. But I don't carry that illusion anymore; it's a relief to have it gone. Jr feels the same way. Back where a friend is a friend.