April 2018

Sunday, November 28, 2010

P.S. 19 Giving Thanks

Ann and I spent Thanksgiving with "The Nitwits" in a kind of cross between "Eight is Enough" and The Big Chill. Initiated, as I understand, by three college friends from Iowa, the group--from Seattle and Chicago and Santa Fe and San Francisco and so forth, has been celebrating their changing lives together for about 25 years.

This year there were 22 of us around a large table for dinner in The Big House (on Big House Road) in Cle Ellem, Washington, just down the road from Rosyln, where "Northern Exposure" was filmed. Most folks were in their fifties, I'd guess, though Bucky and his friend David are teenagers. At 46 years of age, I got called "Kid" a few times. I liked that.

After our drive across a snowy pass, we arrived at The Big House, and I went directly to sit by the fire, where fortunately Pat noticed that I was smoking, or at least my leather coat was. Now my coat's left shoulder has that wrinkled newspaper look that I love. Character. Ann will make me get a new one--also called a Christmas gift. She doesn't like the fact that the lining is coming out or that the back seam has unravelled either.

For the weekend, as far as I could tell, there weren't really assignments, but everyone pitched in to help. There was always someone eating and someone cleaning, always a group playing a game like Dominoes or Taboo and someone pretending to read on the couch, generally someone was in the hottub and someone was on a walk in the winter wonderland. I was doing an experiment and not taking my adrenelaine stimulant, so I was generally napping, but I don't think I was the only one.

Between naps, my new friend Toby and I talked a lot about life after tumors and surgeries and radiation. He had chemo, too, which I didn't have. My first tumor, in the fourth ventrical of my brain, was diagosed about three years ago and my second, also in my fourth ventrical, was diagnosed last year. Toby's first tumor, in his throat, was diagnosed two years ago, and, about six weeks after surgery, he had fifteen more throat tumors. That's a significant tumor to throat ratio. I haven't talked with anyone else who has had a similar experience, so his openness to me was a real gift.

Toby looks great. If you didn't know he had been so sick, you wouldn't guess it. He's running a couple of miles a day now and looks fit. His longish hair is pulled into a ponytail and his skin has the look of someone who has spent some days at his ranch riding horses. We've had some similar struggles, though. He talked about how tired he has been, about losing sixty pounds, about hand tremors, and about learning about what he called "the new normal."

This Thanksgiving, I am as always grateful for my partner and family, long-time friends, my work, my spiritual community and my online community (viewers like you). I am also thankful for new friends and the new normal, whatever it may be.


1 comment:

  1. And I am thankful for you and your partner as well! I'm glad you had such a lovely Thanksgiving. I've always wanted to call you a Nitwit so I now I won't hesitate!


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