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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

HOSPICE PARTY FOR VOLUNTEERS

      louise nevelson, 1967


This evening a free dinner for hospice volunteers at the Silver Dollar in Glade Valley. A strange energy place, but probably I'm the only one that feels it, if I indeed feel it and am not projecting it. Whatever the case, it was an enjoyable evening. I took up right away at a table of 4 women I knew through the hospice. It was a trip sitting with women in their 70s and us having a grand time talking. We did. I realized these are my peers; they're not just a bunch of old women. I had white hair too. They were fun. We did have a good time talking. The Junior Appalachian Musicians of Sparta school entertained us on the stage with half a dozen old-time tunes like Sail Away Ladies, In The Willow Garden, aka Rose Connolly, among them. They played slow and tentative, but they had music. It was foot-tapping music. I said to the women at the table, They are the future of mountain music. They truly are. Not all will go on playing, but some of them will and some will stay in the region and be the respected musicians of their generation. One or more may turn up in bluegrass bands in the future. And none of the above may happen. It was an enjoyable entertainment. A few of the kids were already musicians.


Changes happening in the hospice offices in Sparta. Vickie, the director of the Sparta office, is leaving for a teaching job. Mary Lee, grief counselor, is moving into the director's role and Amy Douglas is taking the grief counseling role. Just seeing the names means nothing to you, but knowing these two women I see a perfect shift into the new style. Mary will be just right for her role and Amy just right for hers. I heard Amy at one of the talks given at hospice for volunteers on various issues concerning elder care. She's good. Got her ducks in a row. Pays attention. It's an excellent bunch of people there at the hospice office. They're all caring people. It seems like with all the bad news we're told every day on all varieties of media, caring people are rare and hard to find. That's not necessarily so. I find a lot of caring people, fewer that care enough to commit, but plenty that care.


Like I've said before, in this time of my life I want to only be around the people I care about who care about me. I find I have so many I don't need more. I don't need to go about like a flashing neon light that says Like Me. No need to advertise myself to strangers with a smile that says, I'm Nice. I'm not always nice, so it wouldn't be truth in advertising to let on like I'm nice. Therefore, I advertise myself somebody you don't want to know. That's the only thing I can truly advertise about myself. I'm as boring as Andy Warhol's 24hour film of the Empire State building. I don't play kick volleyball, and I'm not a team player, only meaning I prefer to work and play alone. I like George Thoroughgood's song, I Drink Alone. I like his sassy manner with it. I drink with others, but I also drink alone. I have no problem governing myself where liquor is concerned. I can go with it or without it. Thus, I do both; go with it awhile and without awhile. I tend to think of it as candy and don't overdo it. When I want a candy bar, I eat a candy bar. When I want some liquor, I drink some liquor. I like the buzz and I like to get shit-faced, but I don't like the next morning so well. It's the next morning that taught me moderation. Moderation for the sake of virtue means nothing to me.


I've just talked myself into putting some good liquor in a wine glass to have a sip or two. Or three or four. Or seven or eight. I poured the last of a jug of good liquor my friend Jr Maxwell gave me about 4 years ago into the orange juice glass he drank his liquor from. The glass he drank his liquor from was the only souvenir I asked for from Jr's objects. It was the only thing I wanted. About an inch and a half in the bottom of the glass. Just like when I drank with Jr in the evenings. Good memories. The kind of memories that are warm in the heart. Like the New Years Eve we decided we'd stay up til midnight. By 12, both our faces were on the table, neither of us could move. When the big hand and the little hand were both straight up, the party was over and we went our different ways to slumber. It was fun for both of us. We usually stopped drinking after 2 hours. This night we went on for 5 hours. We laughed like silly penguins giggling and flapping their flippers.


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