...With a Little Help From My Friends

Sorry I missed ya’ll last week. We were traveling for a soccer tournament (surprise) and I missed my normal writing windows. In any event, news last week is that Joey Feek passed. I think she and I were diagnosed at about the same time, and over the year I’ve seen updates on her pop up in my Facebook feed. I don’t really feel a connection to the Feeks (I’m not into country music), but we’ve been on a parallel path so I felt compelled to at least mention her passing. RIP Ms. Feek.

Greetings from Blackberry Farm, where D and I are enjoying a little escape from the “real world”. Sadly, we are here shortly after the passing of the proprietor- apparently a heck of a guy (and one who spent time at The French Laundry). When all this went down last spring, an international coalition of C.Rushing cronies pooled resources and treated us to a cabin at this remarkable resort. It’s been a challenge trying to find the right time to come- but in the end we figured that we had to make our own time and just do it. As fate would have it this turned out to be the perfect time- pure sunshine, 75-degree weather, and the place isn’t crowded. We can only offer our sincere and heartfelt thanks to our friends for giving us the vehicle to spend some special time alone in a special place. Having been so blessed to do the things that I’ve done in the last year, life’s bar has been raised. Now that I’ve seen and tasted how the other half lives, it's going to be mighty tough to go back to the “real world”.

This is an auspicious week for another reason. Returning to the list of things I would like to see before I check out, we can cross another item off. My oldest was accepted to the Baylor School and will join the class of 2023. I could not be more proud of him. Baylor seems to be tailor-made for him, and he has an awful lot to offer them. Would that I could see that relationship grow and flourish over the next seven years. As it is, I will be content in the knowledge that he will be in a caring and supportive community, (and will settle for paying his tuition from beyond the grave ;)

That's a good looking young man.
Thankfully, he got it from his mama.

As for me, I’m doing pretty well. I’m dealing with some side-effects of the chemo and pain meds, but as I’ve mentioned before, those things don’t seem to effect me as much as some other folks in my situation- so I can’t complain. We’re set for another scan in early April to see where we stand. In the meantime, there aren’t enough hours in the day. There have never really been enough, but now it’s even more of an issue. I’m continuing to work both in Chattanooga and Iowa. I love my projects, my clients, and the people I work with (to the point that it's tough to call it work). I have a lot of writing to do- I don’t suspect I’ll be able to get it all done. I’m going to do it for as long as I can, however, and I suppose that’s all any of us can aspire to anyway.
Calm before the storm.

 As I’m writing this from the boathouse dock at Blackberry, D is canoeing around a small pond. In five short minutes she has managed to run aground three times. Bless her heart. No moral to the story- just a bit of local color. 

The pond was angry that day...

We returned to the “real world” on Friday, and in getting back in to life as a normal person, I met a friend for coffee. As we settled in, he reached into a bag and handed me a gift. The bottle I pulled from the bag was a princely gift indeed. Thanks to my friend, I've had another literal taste of how the other half lives- so much for returning the "real world".

Which brings me to something that's been on my mind. It's been fun to share some of the things that groups of friends have done for me over the course of the past year. I've shied away from sharing many of the things that individuals have done- I don't want to put anyone on blast (as the kids say these days), and most of these folks are modest and would probably feel uncomfortable being written about anyway. On the other side of that coin, I don't want any of you to feel slighted because I haven't written about you as I have written about others. Please know that I've cherished every gift, prayer, thought, lunch, email, and letter I've received. Each of you are a blessing to me and my family.  

I must admit that I’m starting to feel the pressure to die already. Having been the recipient of so many kind gestures, I’ll eventually have to pay this all off. (just kidding Mom, calm down)

As many of you know, I’m an introvert, can be awkward around people at times, and I’m no social butterfly (I see cocktail parties as a close approximation of Hades). For those reasons, my perception has been that I don’t have a large number of friends. If I’ve learned anything over the past year, however, it’s just how many friends I do have. I suspect that this number is low when compared to some of my more gregarious and outgoing compadres, but the depth and quality of my connections have been made apparent over this last year. I’m so incredibly lucky to have had this year to discover that truth- lots of folks never get the chance to find out just how many people care for them. So, to all of my friends, from Atlanta to Albuquerque, Athens to Aspen, Birmingham to Birmingham, California to Colorado, Chisholm to Chattanooga, Henley-in-Arden to Highland Park, Iowa to Indiana, Mississippi to Montgomery, New Orleans to Nashville, Ringgold to Richmond, and everywhere in between- I love you.

Chemo music of the week is back! I was going through a rough patch a couple of weeks ago (both physically and mentally), and pulled out an old go-to album. This one is just as likely to put you in a morose mood as pull you out of it, but maybe that’s the point. Despite the fact that they can be dark, I do love The Cure. Their remix album Mixed Up, is an all-time fave of mine. I’ve been wearing out Fascination Street, A Forest, The Walk and Lovesong.

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