I am so blessed.
Not just with my family (and family to be)… not just with the fact that this treatment seems to be working thus far… not that I am comfortable with my life and the way I’ve lived it to this point… but also for the “force” that led us to this house in this neighborhood and with the neighbors and friends that we have here; and for their support and concern especially over the last two years.
When we moved here a little over four years ago, we met our neighbor on the left and the part-time neighbor on the right… but that was all. When Father David announced from the pulpit at Mass that there was a parishioner that needed transportation we were introduced to the “Posse”. Those friendships have grown over the past two years and have expanded to the other neighbors we hadn’t met. There was Bunko Nite and the Bunko Husband’s dinner… the quilting relationship that developed for Ruth Ann and the woodworking relationships that developed for me. Ruth Ann found other teachers, too. Others to commiserate with!!!
But the outpouring of support and concern that I witnessed on Saturday afternoon was beyond all expectations.
These neighbors… no, friends… from this neighborhood put together a “Welcome Home, Don” picnic that blew us away. To begin with, everyone there when I got there had surgical masks on so I wouldn’t feel out of place with mine! With food, a craft sale, bake sale, a huge water slide for the kids (oh, and for Gus and Karen), face [painting (for kids and adults) it was a complete success. My lawn guy, Juan Carlos, donated a popcorn machine, a sno-cone machine and a bunch of the tables and chairs. The neighbor ladies had been sewing up a storm and baking up a storm. Everybody pitched in… even Rod Stout. Rod is a medivac pilot currently serving in Afghanistan. His wife Linda (a young Vietnamese woman, ironically) brought along to the picnic, a flag that Rod sent. The flag was flown from his helicopter on the 4th of July this year. It came with a certificate signed by all eight crew members. I can’t tell you the wave of emotion that came over me and Ruth Ann… I was absolutely speechless.
Even the weather cooperated: We were completely ignored by Irene and we had about 5 minutes of heavy rain and wind about an hour before the festivities started… and some wind during. But the air was downright cool and with no humidity… pretty atypical of August in Florida!
But we’re back to heat and humidity, and Ruth Ann is back to school. We still have Nittany. Becky and Sean got back from Hawaii this morning at 7:00 AM. And I have to go for some sort of inhalation therapy this afternoon… busy day. I’ll probably end up cooking tonight. Made a great pasta last night: I made some fresh pesto the hard way, by actually chopping up all the basil with the garlic and pine nuts. That was some back-breaking work! Cooked up some penne and before the penne was done I threw in a slew of fresh string beans. Mixed the penne, beans, some fresh chopped tomatoes, fresh mozz cubes… WOW, what a feast!
I’ve been a hurtin’ cowboy the past couple of weeks: the lower back pain is still here and I’ve got some really stiff joints and muscles. Fortunately, the stiffness has abated a bit and except for walking stooped over for the first hour I’m awake, I’m doing OK. Finally got back to exercising and walking, but I have to be careful not to overdo it.
Geesh… lostsa news. The chair that I was making for the church has been finished and is now being used for Mass. I remember, right after I was diagnosed this time, I went to Greg Wolter’s house to pick up the wood (Florida Cypress) to build it. It took a while to come up with a design that would work with the altar and ambro that Greg and Terry Robinson had built. With the help of posse member Gene Clark and the keen eye of another posse member, Mike Callinan, it was finished, save for the application of the finish, just before I left for Tampa back in April. The finish is a special beeswax and it gives a really nice natural sheen to the Cypress.
Yanks are two down to the Sox... but, heck, it's almost September! UConn's recruiting efforts landed a really talented kid from Middletown... Life is good.