“See that sunrise?”
“How can I not? It’s flamboyant, coming over the trees there, all red and orange.”
“It’s wonderful—not a cloud in the sky. And it’s going to get up to 42 degrees today!”
“Holy cow! Do you mean we’re gonna have sunshine and warmth at the same time? What a concept!”
“Spring is finally here in Northern Michigan—I just know it!”
And that’s the first sign. Here’s the second:
“Hi there, Gertie. How are you today?”
“Just fine, thanks, Quick Dr….er, Doctor.”
“Well, you know what? You ARE just fine! Your lab reports from yesterday are encouraging! They’re a really solid indication that you are making good progress at last. Here—I printed off this graph for you so you can see the trend in your progress! Even Bug Doc will be happy with these. I can’t give you a date yet for surgery, but as soon as I get back from vacation, we should be able to get really specific. I’ll see you in two weeks.”
(TWO weeks? Argh….)
Here’s the third:
“Hi, Judith! It’s your old buddy Martha!”
“Marty! How are you? What a wonderful surprise to year your voice!”
“Well, I have a proposal for you. Since you didn’t go to Eleuthera this year, I couldn’t house sit your cabin in the Northern Michigan swamp…and I SO wanted to take a vacation from Wisconsin. How about if I come to visit? I could help you in whatever why you need, and take over getting you to the hospital so Jon and Lisa can have a break for a few days….”
“Really? You’d just jump in your car and drive here? Just like that?”
“Well, yes. But if you don’t want anyone around, you can say no. I really will understand…”
“Oh no, no, no…it’s a perfect plan! We can reminisce about our Interlochen Arts Academy teaching days. And we can have good long ‘girl’ talks. And look at the old photos from our trip to Brittany. How soon can you get here?”
“What day is this? Sunday? How about if I get there on Tuesday, early evening?”
And yet another (excerpted from an early Monday morning e-mail):
“Hey, Gertie! It’s me, your old Los Angeles buddy, RT the Gurdy Guy. I wanted to tell you some news.
I suggested to our friend Neil that he devise a practice hurdy gurdy for me—maybe a small electronic one using a synthesizer, so you could play into headphones. He though it was a weird idea at first, but he built one for me. Then he built one for himself. Then he made a couple more for two other California players, and I know he’s just finished another one. These are great little instruments and the kicker is—you don’t have to CRANK! You can just practice the keyboard with your left hand and leave the cranking until you get that IV line out of your right arm! Here’s Neil’s contact info: maybe you could pick up that last one he just finished!”
Followed up the same day with an email from Neil in England:
“Judith, your payment has arrived via Pay Pal. Send me your mailing address and I will get this instrument off to you tomorrow. Thanks for your business. I know you will enjoy being able to play again—five months is a very long time without your music. Neil”
And finally, yet another email:
Attached, a photo of our house in Eleuthera. You and I are now the owners of a wonderful two-story cottage overlooking the Caribbean. It has a roof, decks upstairs and down, and two walls of Hardie Board. The other two will be up by the end of the week, and Kervin the Builder promises that I’ll be able to in the house when I come back here in June.
We’ll have so much fun here: the view is spectacular, the breeze is wonderful. Hurry up and pull yourself together so you can get down here and paint the inside! You’re gonna love this place!”
Now,here‘s my message: Things are looking up!
I know this because of yesterday’s sunrise and beautiful day—winter is grinding slowly into spring. For the last two nights, Punkin the Cat has been growling and spitting at the raccoon visiting the deck in search of food. Of course the melee is in my temporary bedroom and is interrupting my sleep but whatever…
The doctors (both of them, Quick Draw and the Bug Doc) are pleased with my progress, and the hip surgery is in sight (maybe three or four weeks, but who’s counting?)
My good friend Martha is here. Yesterday she passed her wheelchair competency test, proving to my son that she really could push me up that wheelchair ramp outside my door. Last night we celebrated with a cheese fondue dinner; today we’re on our own, and we’ve scheduled a trip to the beauty salon.
My buddy RT, known as the Johnny Appleseed of the hurdy gurdy, has found a a solution to my music deprivation syndrome and my practice gurdy is on the way!
And my partner in the Bahamas cottage project has things under control—the roof is on and the walls are up and the place should be livable by June.
All these events which have happened so quickly are the product of waiting, waiting with hope and with a great deal of patience and trust in the future. Thank you, my friends, for waiting with me.