It's a quiet Sunday the 5th following Saturday the 4th that made taffic on Hwy 18 with hardly a break of silence between all the tire sounds and the Harley pipes. Today it's reversed; the quiet time between vehicles is stretched out for a long time, a car or something passing every once in awhile. Almost no motorcycles. It's up in the day, too. The church traffic has been rerouted while they change the bridge over Little River at the point where two branches come together to make the Little River. I've seen maps where the branch that flows from springs this side of the Parkway from Brinebgar's cabin is called Waterfalls creek down to the bridge on Pine Swamp Road where Air Bellows Gap Road meets it, and other maps where it's Little River all the way.
All the branches that flow into Little River have their own names. The branch that runs downstream over the waterfalls from Willis's and Stern's lakes I believe is considered the beginning of the Little River that flows into the New, then the Ohio, the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean that goes north from here to Nova Scotia and Greenland to Scandanavia, the British Isles and on down to the west coast of Africa to the equator where it makes a turn and goes over to Central America where it turns and goes northward again. Down there off the African coast, below the bulge that is called West Africa the flow of the Gulf Stream turns to the east, then abruptly has to turn west to cross the expanse of ocean to Central America. In that corner below the bulge of West Africa is where hurricanes are born. Probably something about like a dust devil occurs, those little dust tornadoes we used to see on gravel roads when the wind was right for it. Maybe hurricanes come from dust devils made of water mist that grow as they head across the ocean to Cuba or Florida or both. Hurricane season is on the horizon.
The day today is overcast and gray. It rained in the morning. Jr is having a blue day. The last couple days he's had the blues. Bernice Edwards was buried yesterday. He's at a place where his mind is locking down on given subjects until he wears them out. Like today he couldn't find his billfold. He worried about it for hours until he finally engaged my help and I went to pants he'd worn yesterday and it was in the pocket. He couldn't remember what pants he wore yesterday. He wanted to hug my neck for finding it and relieving his mind. This, primarily, is how I serve Jr, simple things to soften the fading memory, like remember things for him, find things. About every morning he can't find his glasses. They're on the bed or on the floor beside the bed. He takes them off in the night. Something that would otherwise be a big problem for him is rendered not a problem. I just pay attention to him and when he needs an assist, there I am. As of the last few days I'm punching numbers on the telephone for him. His fingers don't always go where his mind sends them.
Bernice was his "first girlfriend." They'd known each other all their lives and were neighbors all their lives. She's been in his mind all day and night yesterday and all day today. He spend most of both days lying down, sometimes sleeping, sometimes awake. He even expressed regret he didn't get back with her after Lois died. He said her husband had died by then. But Spider Woman already had a bead on him, and it would not have been possible.
In his time of lying in bed most of the time thinking about his life, he feels tremendous regret, especially considering he and Mary, his first wife, were talking about getting back together. Spider Woman put an end to that and everything else: the banjo, his music, the old homeplace, self-respect, his money. She stripped him down to nothing and left for greener pasture in exactly the same manner she'd done Henry Lyon before him.
Everyone in Whitehead told him she'll do the same to him she done to Henry, and she did. This is part of the case he makes for himself a fool. He let her take everything from him because he loved her so much he thought it was a gift. For years he believed she'd come back. His friend Jean told him many times she'd not be back, but he held out, nonetheless. He finally realizes she won't be back.
This is a man who has a need for feminine energy like a glove needs a hand. All three of his marriages ended tragically, the way you never want anything to end. And none of it was his doing. It all came from outside, like what we call "out of the blue," which I've come to believe is where gifts from God come from. I suppose to myself that Jr must have on the soul level a yearning for wisdom such that he became a living version of Job, just different circumstances. Why? God's whim? Like the night Jr and Lois came home from making music around 1:30 on a Saturday night, the house totally burned down. Lightning. That's what I mean by out of the blue. Jr has been dealt some heavy blows to the heart.
He loves hard work. Sawmilling is his favorite work. He got up at 6 and was well on the go at 8. It was like the harder the work and the more mentally challenging, the more he liked it. Jr was born to work hard. He knew how to do it without wearing himself out. His intelligence he kept to himself, using it to figure things out, everything that came up. He told me once he believes God puts things in front of you for you to deal with, so that's what he does, essentially solves problems God puts before him. A couple nights ago he said he lay awake worrying all night about what was going to happen when he's gone. In the morning he was feeling a bit down from it. When he told me he what he was worrying over, I said, "What's going to happen when you're gone is you'll see brilliant light like you've never seen before and you'll go to that light and everything back here will fade away in an instant. So don't worry about it. You have light ahead and no telling what all else. Everybody here will just go on like we do only you won't be here."
I feel like he's dealing with leaving and being forgotten, seeing how close he is to forgotten already. It is somewhat unsettling to be looking at his life as Wiley Maxwell go poof and nonexist. He knows that's how it is, but right now he's considering it his actuality, not just his fate. He apologized to me today for all the trouble he is to me. Again I told him it's what I want to do, my own free will. That's what I'm here for. I smooth the bumps in his way. It turns out I'm able to gently ease his worrying mind and help him settle it to a place where he can sleep. Bernice going on signaled to him that he's soon to be making the journey, himself. Someone he's always known was there is not anymore. He's not afraid, neither is he apprehensive. He's uncertain for sure. The infinite void of the unknown. I don't talk hospice talk to him. I prefer to let his mind lead the way.
As I watch where his mind goes I see him preparing for the crossing. I know he's "right with God," such that it's not an issue. I've committed in my heart to stay to the very last breath with him. I believe an honorable man has a right to the dignity of who he is up to the last moment of his life. That his love was used and abused was not his doing. I see it as putting everything on the table at the roulette wheel and losing. It's all gone in one swipe. He lives his old age in poverty because he couldn't stop loving, despite all. That seems to me honorable.