Distracting myself with trivia


Burtons on campus of University of Arkansas
Looks like a cold day!

We have some heavy stuff going on in our families right now, so I’ve been distracting myself with trivia (as for the heavy stuff, I’ll post when appropriate). The Burtons are in Fayetteville, Arkansas tonight where they got a tour of the University of Arkansas campus, where Jacob thinks he might like to go to college. From Jordan’s email, the campus looks lovely, with buildings old enough to have some character and history. The institution is nearly 150 years old—somehow, I find comfort in academic institutions with a long history. Newcomers make me a tad nervous.

My Jamie came to stay with me for the two nights the Burtons are gone, and I am enjoying his company thoroughly. Jamie is one I don’t hear from often enough, and that frustrates me. But when I do hear from him, I get long discussions of deep subjects—tonight it started with the afterlife and ended as a discussion of comparative religions. This morning, he took me to Central Market, and tonight he fixed dinner—a chuck roast in the crockpot all afternoon, loaded baked potatoes, and sauteed spinach. Now he is in the house on the telephone, but he has promised to come back and strum some Joan Baez songs on his guitar for me. His father and I at one time owned five LP records—all Baez. Jamie grew up hearing her music and loves it as much as I do.

I made an astounding discovery today—there is a new, two-story building almost right outside my bathroom window. The wonderful Zenaida was here to clean today and put up the shade to let some sunshine into my rather dark bathroom. I happened to glance out the back and saw, one house to the east, a large structure that hadn’t been there before. For a couple of weeks I’ve heard pounding and hammering—sometimes the rat-a-tatt that I was sure was a nail gun. It didn’t bother me, except when they revved it up about the time I wanted to nap. I meant to ask the neighbor directly behind me but never did. So now I know. I’ve still written to ask for details. Like what they did about a kitchen, since I am still struggling along with my kitchen that is restricted by zoning codes.

Speaking of naps, today was National Nap Day, begun in the late 1990s. The couple who founded it chose this date because they figured on the first Monday after the switch to daylight savings time, people needed a nap. I certainly did. Some people can’t sleep in the daytime, others say it makes them too groggy the rest of the day, and finally there are those who scorn daytime naps as some kind of weakness. I am happy to claim my everyday daytime nap. If somebody calls me between two and four (the hours are a bit flexible), I know they don’t know me well.

I’m judging a blog contest for a writing organization, and today I read a blog about the fragility of friendship. I thought the writer titled it all wrong, but friendship is what it was really about. A woman recalled a friendship so close, so enduring that it was like they were sisters. And then, suddenly one day, it ended. Her reaching out brought tepid responses at best and finally she sort of put the problem of “What happened?” on the back burner. But then, with pandemic and other troubles all around her, she thought it time to confront her former friend. So, gathering her courage, she went to the other woman’s home—only to be confronted with a bare lot. The home had been demolished, and the woman left no trail.

I was moved by this, because I have a friend who suddenly dropped out of my life. Distance is not the problem—he still lives about ten minutes away, and his wife and I are still cordial. But the couple of times I’ve talked to him, I can sense something in his voice, a distance, a chasm he doesn’t want to jump. Apparently, I have offended, but I have no clue as to why or how. I miss the casual camaraderie, the delicatessen lunches, the friendship. I too have been tempted to confrontation, but I have finally decided to let it go.

I read somewhere long ago that when someone disappears from your life it means their part in your story is over. Over the years I’ve lost and gained friendships as interests change and life moves on in different directions. More important, some friendships have kept constant, despite distance and time, and these are the friendships that I hold close to my heart—my BFF from high school who lives in Mississippi and who I haven’t seen in years and likely may not see again; friends from my days in Missouri, who keep in touch though visits are years apart; two or three friends of forty or fifty years to whom I am still close.

I have always insisted friendships are like gardens—they require constant attention.

As for you who read my blog, I thank you for your cyberspace friendship, and I value each and every one of you.

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