Sunday, August 31, 2008


Saturday evening. A warm, beautiful time of day. I had spent time at the farmette and now I am heading home. Ed swings his Honda motor bike over and I get on, throwing my backpack in the yellow crate over the rear wheel.

A beautiful ride. The sky is clear, the air is turning cool.

At the condo, I unpack the back pack and reach into my dress pocket for the cell phone.


We retrace our spin, staring down into gutters, patches of grass – nothing. It’s dark now. I dial my cell phone – it goes into a no ring mode. My gut tells me it’s been crushed somewhere between the farmette and the condo and I bear the burden of its demise.

The next day, I spend $200 on a new phone, but even that is, most likely, a mistake. Look, Ed tells me, ebay has these at half the price. I shrug and cling to my purchase.

In the afternoon I attend a memorial service. I hesitate before going. The person who died was a friend, but few would understand why. She was part of what I perceived (mistakenly? who can tell) to be a hostile neighborhood. Except, she was herself anything but hostile. She was kind and caring and so, along with a million others, I mourn her sudden and untimely death. In the end, I get on my bike and pedal over.

It is a beautiful memorial service and the room is packed with family and friends. Family and friends. I think about how easy it is to sequester yourself in pursuit of God knows what, oh, those ever important projects, so that, at the end of the day, you plug in the most important numbers into your new cell phone and you realize that you really never want to talk to anyone anymore with the exception of a precious handful or two.

I have attended funerals of older people – the grandparents and great grandparents out there, and they have been sad occasions exactly because these people have outlived their circle of influence. So that at their memorial service, the rooms are quiet and no video clips of rich and full lives fill the auditorium.

At home, I have much work to do and tomorrow I plan to delve right into it. Tonight, I am watching (of all things) the Sound of Music and thinking about the last time I saw this peculiar movie – it was in Poland, with daughters, eight years ago, under most unusual circumstances. I’m watching and thinking how even as early as five years ago, when I was just fifty, I was very forgiving of myself and how now, I am much less inclined in that direction.