Cloister Commentary, Day 186: Nothing Black Can Stay

We started the day with a looooong neighborhood walk. Our departed companion was represented by his leash, which I put around my neck, his harness, which Nicole carried, and my trusty pocketed doggie doo-doo bag, because…well…at my age you never know. It just so happened that along the way we saw some folks walking a reddish dog with a flag-like tail and some seriously billowing bloomers. This brought back memories of a retirement idea one of our colleagues long ago proposed for us to bring to fruition collectively: we’d each employ our special talents in a one-stop wedding service called Groom ‘n’ Lube. My friends Karen Downey and Becky Sarrazin (the braintrust) would organize and decorate, I’d perform the service, Nicole would style the wedding party’s coifs, and our buddy John Steitz would take care of all the mechanical and security chores (“Call Guido: 443-KILL”). Anyway, watching this dog and remembering Louis, Nicole proposed a similar venture for us, Plume and Pantz: a grooming service just for border collies and their Aussie likes.

We hate this pandemic, but it enabled us to work together from home, and we really needed to do that yesterday. Fortunately, we each had our ugly cries at different times so we were able to calm each other rather than stoke the fire of our grieving with more coals of sadness. But just as nothing gold can stay, neither can anything black.

A story about Louie, which I’ve told before but I’ll try to spin a little differently: one summer day when Louis was a puppy, our friend George Frissell swung by to brainstorm with me about what would be the 1st and only Rock and Roll Quiz Bowl fundraiser. We were sitting at the kitchen table, I made a suggestion, and a look blossomed on George’s face akin to religious (or perhaps another kind of) ecstasy. I furrowed my brow as if you say, “The idea wasn’t THAT good”–then I peeked under the table to see Louis tongue-bathing George’s be-sandaled toes. I ’bout lost it. The dog could be a menace to visitors, but his true soul manifested itself in this case.

Streaming for Strivers:

Why not? We need it and it’s the anniversary of his birth.

Cloister Commentary, Day 102: Big Girl Pants

Yesterday morning, my mom and I sprinkled my dad’s ashes on their asparagus and horseradish. The morning was still and cool, with a beautiful sun beaming down. I look forward to this harvest.

Jane has had a few rough mornings, of course. After the visiting of a cloud of grief, she told me, “It’s time to put on my big girl pants.” I replied, “You’ve had those on all along. Big girls aren’t made of steel.” Also, she cooked a pork loin, some more of those killer petite potatoes in olive oil and rosemary, and a salad of garden cukes, tomatoes, and avocados. She apologized for the lack of actual lettuce, but it was a perfect salad without.

Thank the stars this Stephens class is so hardworking and committed! Again, meeting them each morning is a welcome respite from personal sorrow and political despair.

I opened Dad’s safety deposit box and found a couple interesting items: a certificate for two $10 shares of Sigma Tau Gamma stock, bought in ’61, and two very early scribblings from Brian and me.

I spent most of the day on the phone with customer service specialists, which resulted in me looking up what other than Sprite or 7-Up mixes well with Canadian Mist (answer: Co-Cola with a couple maraschino cherries and a splash of cherry juice). I admit to having one in excess of my need.

Fell asleep reading The Week and listening to The Flying Burrito Brothers’ The Gilded Palace of Sin.

Streaming for Survivors (the toggling back and forth is deliberate):

This gentleman could convey sorrow.