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Monday, September 14, 2009


Today was doctor appointment day for old man Wiley. That's Jr's other name. The appointment wasn't until 3, giving him time to get used to it being a day. Today the Hospice nurse came by for whatever it was she did having to do with a patch for a bedsore on his left hip, which he got from lying on that hip bone 23 hours a day. I sat on the porch talking with the woman from Hospice who came with her. We talked about all sorts of things, Jr's care the focal point.

It's truly refreshing for me to talk with these women involved with Hospice. They're all people who think about things. They've all come to a crossroad in their lives where they chose to take the road to giving genuine comfort in every kind of way, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, to people in the hardest time of their lives. They understand why I have committed to stay with Jr all the way. They understand it is not a sacrifice on my part, it's just that this is what I choose to do during the days and nights. Time would pass at home just like it passes at Jr's. I don't feel put upon in any way. On my part, it's what I want to do. That's all. I really do have what it takes to help someone in my world, who is an important figure in my world, someone I respect in very real ways, not idly.

In the martial arts, taking it has equal importance with giving it. If you can kick somebody in the chest, you also have to be able to take getting kicked in the chest. Jr has taken it like Job all the way along. Today in the Dr office waiting room while I was waiting, looking at the Winston-Salem Journal, in walked an old friend of Jr's last wife, a woman I've known since before then. I'm sure she was thinking how odd it is, just like I was. I'd not seen her in a lot of years. She didn't get to see Jr, and I was glad, because I had a pretty good idea there'd be an email or a phone call before the end of the day.
I was glad to see her for herself, though it threw me into a complexity of feelings I was uncomfortable with, like Spider Woman and what she did to Jr that broke his spirit as a man, as a human being, in front of everyone he's known all his life, family and neighbors, humiliated him down to the ground, pushed his face into the dirt. A man who was already humble as a natural man can be, humiliated to the Nth degree. One of Tom Pruitt's sayings: I don't mind you shittin in my face, I just don't like you rubbin it in. I see this broken man in a wheelchair, his mind gone, dependent absolutely on people he can trust, friends who will not allow him to be abused further by institutions and thieves. The man has taken enough.

On the way out the door from the Dr office was Judy Halsey, one of my favorite people and Jr's too. They worked together at a Massey Ferguson dealership, them in the parts department, for several years. It was where the Pines new location is. Jr had not seen Judy since then. She didn't recognize him and he didn't recognize her. When she recognized him, tears about jumped out of her eyes. He caught onto who she was when she reminded him of the tractor place. They talked a little bit, and I was happy for Jr, because he liked Judy an awful lot. His mind was a blank most of the time, but he was aware of who she was and it did feel good to him to see her, though he wasn't particularly happy being seen in a wheelchair. I was happy for both of them. 2 of my friends run into each other after at least 20 years and I'm happy for them. Makes me feel good too.

Jr and I did pretty well as a team getting him in and out of the car. We took our time. No hurry. Then I had to make 4 stops to pick up various things like a prescription for him, and every place I went I found a parking spot in shade. First stop was the library where I saw Sherry, Doug and Debbie all at the same time. I had only one minute, so felt like it was good timing seeing them all three at once. If you want some examples for what I mean by real people, they're all three good ones. When you're in touch with them, you're in touch with who they are, not some fake image they want you to believe about them. They don't need for you to think they're way high up. If Jr could have stood it, I'd have liked to have wheeled him in there to meet them, but he doesn't know them. It would have been torment for him. Maybe. Maybe not. He would have said no if I'd suggested it.

For the drive home, I went out 21 to Bledsoe Creek Road and took it to Spicer Mtn Road and it on back to 18 and the house. It's all been paved and changed totally since he saw it last, esp the Cuban subdivision the water pipe from the river made possible.

At this moment I'm hearing Thelonious Monk's album from about 1962, Straight, No Chaser. Charlie Rouse plays tenor sax. Monk on piano. It is the perfection in jazz to my ear. It's like hearing an abstract expressionist painting by Willem DeKooning. There's something pure about it, like Tommy Jarrell and Fred Cockerham playing together. It's pure. It's art. It's the real thing.

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