Fat Tuesday

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Fat Tuesday started off with a flurry of New Chef—remember? This was his first day. And he did it right, let me tell you: crème-filled crepes with a berry topping for breakfast. Wow. Lunch was cream of tomato soup with basil: this guy knows there are more spices than salt and pepper! And he got brisket right at dinner. It was too bad Crusty Al wasn’t here to see it, though I can’t quite hear a compliment coming from his sour, wrinkled lips.

So the chef’s arrival was the excitement of the day—well, a part of it, anyway. It was, of course, Fat Tuesday so OC staff came around to our rooms with a 10 AM snack: paczki. Up here in the Polish North Country, the elaborate festival of Mardi Gras has dwindled down to jelly doughnuts. But it’s the same idea: live it up before Ash Wednesday and Lenten Fasting. The Poles made paczki to use up all the fruit, sugar, and lard which they would have to forgo during Lent.

Here at Orchard Creek we indulged in our paczki in the mid-morning, and then at lunch staff put on masks and waved gaily-colored streamers and marched through the dining rooms to raucous music and clapping. Some of the residents looked a little confused by the interruption to the noon tv news, but we pretty much all joined in….

I was celebrating on my own: a visit to the infectious disease doctor revealed that the MRSA seems under control, and slow progress is being made. I don’t let myself think about dates or milestones or any such potentially devastating markers, however. I feel as though I am suspended in time, maybe caught in a spider web where thrashing about in protest will only bring disaster. I imagine when my house renovations are complete I will go home, but I will miss the sounds of laughter which erupts continuously around this place.

And I will miss the celebrations—Valentines Day, Mardi Gras, or Paczki Day, or Martin Luther King’s Birthday, even. And the sharing—the little physical triumphs which are such huge challenges if you are disabled. Or the quiet goodbyes of those who are heading home or to another living space. In physical therapy, Miriam did a fine job of polishing a slant board with a piece of sheepskin today: real difficult if you have a frozen shoulder. And this morning Trudi went home after six weeks here, happy to eat a frozen dinner and read a good book in solitude. Her mealtime companions, Irene and I, wish her well . Whatever makes you happiest, Trudi, we say. “Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez”

Let the good times roll

Let the stories be told
They can say what they want
Let the photos be old
Let them show what they want

Let them leave you up in the air
Let them brush your rock and roll hair
Let the good times roll
Let the good times roll-oll
Wont you let the good times roll

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