My Father’s Day began on the Lake Erie shore. I got there from the Covenant Woods’ laundry room by reading Katie’s essay “A Day at the Beach.” Katie writes, “you hear the slap, slap of the wave on the shore.” I had to settle for the slap, slap of the washing machine, but that was alright.
“The children are a delight,” she writes. “They scamper in and out of the waves, laughing and shrieking. They throw pebbles into the water with enthusiasm and an awkward overhand throw.”
“The sun sinks lower in the west…The sun is bright over the water, long orange rays streak across the surface. Boats drift in and out of the streaks pulling some of it with them as they go.”
Her piece sparked memories. As the washers went through their cycles, I thought about the quiet walks I took through Lake Shore Park. And I thought about the more raucous times, when we took Russ and Beth and let them spend the day in the lake.
Katie’s essay is in Good Words Two, a compilation of the essays and poems our writing class presented at the reading of the same name last month. Don had them printed and bound, and Elaine sent a copy to me. The quiet of a Sunday morning provided the perfect accompaniment to the musings of a very talented bunch of scribblers. After being with that group for five years, I still can’t thank Mary enough for luring me into their company.
Russ and Karen came over in the afternoon, bringing dinner with them. Pork chops cooked with sauerkraut and apples was the entrée. Very, very good.
Russ’ time with Barnes & Noble came to an end Friday. B&N is downsizing, and his job was eliminated. They will, however, continue to pay him for a couple months, although he must agree not to go to work for Books-A-Million for at least a year.
On a positive note, Russ did sell a cartoon to The American Legion Magazine. It came as a surprise. The magazine had told him it wasn’t interested in any of the cartoons in his latest submission. Then someone had a change of heart and decided one was worth keeping. That wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago when the rejected cartoons would have been put into the submitter’s SASE and returned. In these days of e-mail submissions, however, the stuff hangs around in the queue, and who knows.
When Russ, Karen and Molly headed home, I went out for a lap or two around the Covenant Woods’ parking lots. In the lot behind C Building, a woman whom I don’t remember seeing before and who must have been here to visit someone – she looked too young to be a resident – was walking from her car toward the building. We said hello and talked for a few minutes about the weather, which at quarter after seven, with sun getting lower and the shadows longer, was very pleasant. Then she asked me if I was diabetic. When I told her no, she handed me a Snickers bar.
“I’ve seen you riding around here before,” she said. “You’re a real inspiration.”
I thought about telling her there’s nothing inspiring about cruising the parking lot in an electric wheelchair. The real inspiration is watching some of the older residents walking up and down the long hallways, forcing themselves to take a few more steps to get to a bench, where they can sit for a moment and rest before going on.
“How are you?” I’ll ask.
“I’m making it,” she’ll say, as she sits on the bench catching her breath.
And she is. So many of the residents are, slowly, but with determination, making it. Now that's inspiring.
But there was a Snickers at stake, and all I said was “thank you.”