October 13th, 2006


Cold, Partially Cloudy, with a Chance of Armadillos in the Evening

Looks like it should be a nice, clear to partly cloudly - if a bit brisk - day for the hawk watch. If the wind prediction holds, I believe we'll be on the north lookout.

It's almost been a year since I first - and last - visited the north lookout. Winds have usually been more favorable to the south side. Which actually brings me to another topic of which I will post separately, as it is Important and deserves its own post.

I'll be at the Moravian Book Shop for the poetry circle tonight - then I'll roast up some peppers and onions and garlic. I'll make the pico de gallo fresh tomorrow morning before setting out.

We're trying to see if my sister-in-law can watch Brandon so Deb can go - she hasn't been to Bake Oven Knob yet. It will likely be a few more years before I'm comfortable bringing Brandon up there.

Brandon, by the way, is quite entertaining of late:

Adult: "Time for bed."
Mr. B (sing-songy): "Nooo beh-ahd."
Adult: "No bed?"
Mr. B (invoking Spanky, almost): "Ohhhhhh kaaaaayyyyy."

He had great fun invoking this repeatedly anytime he was prompted.

I also seem to have some difficulty changing his diaper, and he finds great humor in it, giggling like a giggling little kid (which is quite natural, considering he is.) The clean diaper will be in my hand one second, and the next I won't be able to find it. As I search for it in his ears, under his shirt, it will turn up in his hands! Can't quite figure that one out. I'll retrieve it from him, as he calls out "Do it again!" and I will scratch my head in amazement, and somehow the diaper will be gone once more. Once, of course, it actually did show up under his shirt. Another time, on my loverly assistant Rachel's head. Just can't figure it out...

Oh, and his new word of Yesterday: "Armadillo." He hits all four syllables in the correct sequence and fairly clearly.

I'm Okay...

It's been almost a year since I first noticed my father's health might be not so good. We took a short hike along thetrail. He mentioned that he had always wanted to walk on the AT - and had been in and around it, but never on it. He didn't feel so good - just tired - and we almost didn't go, but I insisted, and we went, and got a couple of pictures of him on the trail, with the white blaze just over his head.

By mid November, the vague "eh" feeling had definite symptoms - blood clots in his legs - but no definite reasons. Cancer was ruled out through a series of tests and scans. Nothing definite showed up anywhere. Mid-December - the 15th - it was determined that he had some kind of cancer. On December 23, it was confirmed as gall bladder cancer. On January 26, he died.

~ ~ ~

During the entire course - from the vague nothingness to the clotting to the lying in a hospital bed plugged in to this, that, and everything else - when asked how he was doing, he would answer "okay" and then immediately turn around and ask, "And how are you doing?"

It was kind of maddening when you're trying to keep an eye on his health and want to find out exactly what his state-of-being was, but he was more interested in finding out what your state-of-being was - he wasn't sidestepping the issue, it was important to him to know how you were doing.

That he was dying, he was well aware... but how were you doing? He wanted to know.

~ ~ ~

I've been thinking about this a lot over the last six months or so. There is really nothing more important, although it may seem like it at times. How we act to others defines who we actually are. How we treat others when things aren't going well for us - even when we're almost dying, up until we are about to die (which happens only once, and can excuse certain behavior) - is far more telling than how we treat others when we're on top of the world, happy as a lark, with nothing but blue skies from now on.

So, how are you doing?