Endings and Beginnings
It's Sunday afternoon, clear, bright, and tired. The day is slouching into those limbo hours. Too late to start anything, too early for dinner. My energy level is close to zero, and I'm droning through a bleak, empty mood. Boredom isn't having nothing to do. Boredom is not being able to make yourself want to do anything.
and I spent most of last week getting the house and grounds ready for
yesterday. We worked hard. Yesterday was the memorial service for Mary's
brother, Randy. We hosted the reception, and dinner. I have very little
family: two brothers, a niece, and a nephew, and that's it. Mary comes
from a big clan, and most all of them were in town. We had more than
twenty five people coming to the house for the gathering. Fortunately,
one of the relatives couldn't attend, so he contributed the food. For
once, I didn't have to cook.
I had to wait for a delivery, so Mary left for the service before I did. That was a break. I was dreading going to the service. I'm damn near phobic about masks. I simply will not put one of those filthy things on my face. Period. End of discussion. And I knew they were required. When I walked into the church, some woman tried to buttonhole me at the door. She held up a box of face rags like she was offering me a sacrament. I held up my thumb and first two fingers in the gesture I always see Jesus making on icons, and just shook my head, and took a seat in the last pew.
I don't care for the woman pastor at the church. I've heard her before. Listening to her is a lot like drinking warm flat beer. She spoke about Jesus "preparing a place for us" in the afterlife. I found her neither convincing nor compelling. Then Randy's friend took the pulpit, and treated us all to a half hour eulogy, and the neverending slide show, before giving up the podium. Mary had spent a lot of time preparing. I never got to hear her. I left the service early to pick up the food order, and set up the kitchen for serving.
had over five hundred bucks worth of Italian food, and pizza from one of
the best restaurants in town. Lots of stuff in those big aluminum foil
trays in wire frames with the canned Sterno to keep it hot.
I don't like Italian at all, but it was Randy's favorite. And it may seem cold to say it, but, truth to tell, I didn't like Randy much, either. It wasn't a matter of conflict, or insult; just personalities too far, and too wide apart on the spectrum. He, and the whole family are doctrinaire liberals. They had Biden yard signs. Randy and I were pretty close to being polar opposites.
He was a good man, just a year younger than I. He was a better man than I am by most any measure. He worked hard, sometimes keeping two jobs to keep the family going. He raised five good kids. He was a scout troop leader, and active in the Methodist church. He had just retired after over thirty years as a music teacher when he was diagnosed with some form of leukemia. The bone marrow transplant didn't help. Medicine gave him three years of sickness and misery, and then he died.
The service ran late. It was half past five before anyone arrived. It was already evening, and it was getting dark, and cold. That's So Cal for you. Last week it was shirtsleeve weather at eight at night, and this week the days barely reached seventy before plunging down into the forties. We have lights in the gazebo, and we put lanterns on the tables. Those who came from out of state found it pleasant. The younger folks can handle the cold.
A funeral reception is a party without joy. You see smiling, and hear a
lot of talking, even laughter. But it's all infused with that very
strange giddy euphoria that our hearts generate to keep the shock, and grief
from crushing everything. Nonetheless, all told, it was a great success, despite the chill weather.
I got to bed late, woke up this morning exhausted, and spent the day cleaning up. Which brings me back to this early Sunday evening.
Tomorrow I'll roll out a new project. Something black. With stripes. Last week I was talking about the odd little rules we make up for ourselves, and then have to deliberately break.
Some months ago I was thinking of doing a project based on the fender ornament from an antique Whizzer motorized Schwinn. Worse than just thinking about it, I said I was going to do it. But neither of the stones I had for the project were workable, so I did other stuff. But I said I was going to do the fender bomb. That made it a rule, a promise that I have to keep.
Who says? Well...uh... not sure, but...
So I decided that the fender bomb would be the next project after the red stone. But I really don't want to do that project; I want to take on the big black stone.
Cut to the chase. I gave myself permission to take on the big black stone, instead.
The thing spoke to me at the stone yard. Here I am. Check out the blade. Your work is almost half done before you even start...
It's embarrassing how liberating it felt to allow myself to break my own rule. Feels like I'm getting away with something.
So here we go.