Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Yesterday, after much petty strife, I achieved a small domestic triumph: I finally got a set of patio furniture I’ve been dreaming of and plotting to acquire: reasonably priced, attractive, simple, and with chairs you can move without pulling a muscle (a pet peeve of mine). With the help of my good friend R. and her roomy minivan, we had it purchased, home, and set up by late morning, and enjoyed a lovely lunch al fresco. As we relaxed and digested, I said to DP, “See, this is what it’s all about—why we put up with all the nonsense we’ve been fretting about this week. It’s so we can enjoy this.” It was, cliché though it sounds, an idyllic early-summer afternoon: DP and Miss B played catch in the backyard; I transplanted my herb garden; my friend T. and her daughter came over for a walk in town and a lemonade at the soda fountain. I thoroughly enjoyed it all.
It was all the more shocking to have it end with news coverage of the tornado devastation in Joplin, Missouri, hard on the heels of a phone call from New England to tell us of the sudden and accidental death of one of DP’s younger cousins. Surreal and terrifying to think that, only a few hours down the road from where we were enjoying blue skies and sun, a whole community could be destroyed; and that someone else’s husband, father, brother, son could be taken away with no warning in the middle of a Sunday afternoon.
For those of us who stand, unscathed, to see another day dawn, these are sharp reminders not to take any aspect of life for granted. Anything and anyone we love can be taken away from us at any time. That’s what the people who were predicting Judgment Day for this past Saturday got wrong: the world ends every day for someone. And for me, the only response to that is to be as mindful as I can of my good fortune, and to cherish whatever time I am given with the people I love.
RIP RCB, 8.12.76 - 5.22.11