"I miss my kids, I miss the boat, I miss the path alongside Granville Island, I miss Mr. Plineart, Gomer Grunt & Ivanovitch, I miss the Noon Signal, I miss cheap rotisserie chicken at Safeway, I miss FloCat, I miss being at anchor, I miss the Sally Ann clothing store, I miss the library, I miss blue mountains with snow on them off in the distance, I miss..." Shelley paused after her wail and looked up at Brian.
While Shelley experienced some gut wrenching home sickness at about the 6 month stage of being in Ecuador, these days it's a fleeting thing and then tucked into perspective. We've had some disappointments the last little while and it's easy to fantasize if only you were back home or somewhere else things would be better. They wouldn't be. Pandora follows you forever. Last year at this time we were worried about Brian and his bout with cancer. Everything turned out great and we were very relieved and pleased. When you're a kid, you think that all you need to do is grow up and then you'll control your world and all will be well. Then you do that and amid working & relationships & taking care, you have sneaky little retirement fantasies that involve freedom & security & a letting go of worries & pettiness. Guess what (?) people are people at any age, the world does what it does without consulting you & your health is a precarious thing, hinged on more than just taking care of yourself. (This, of course, excludes those magical people who slip through life protected by luck or ignorance (lots of people work hard) and in the end cease to be, quietly and in their sleep.)
Brian & Shelley have agreed that once Fredi & Brian have gone to their reward, then Shelley can travel the world, 6 months at a time in each country. Fredi & Shelley have agreed that Brian doesn't really need a Volkswagon and feel somewhat and semi-secure in their 2 votes against 1. (Brian pipes in: Fredi hasn't decided any such thing!) We're coming to the end of yet another year and as has been the standard for more years than can be remembered, we are grateful we have made it this far and are very happy we're in this place in time that we are now (for now).
A crazy elf dance was e-mailed to us from Shelley's youngest daughter. A Christmas elf earnestly boogied to music with the face of daughter number two superimposed on the graphic. A small thing but, it made us laugh and cheered us immensely. Monday we shopped. The store was filled with Christmas baskets & boxes and cakes & there was a special aisle with cartons of wine & rum & liqueurs. They wouldn't let us buy wine because the census embargo continued from Friday morning until Monday noon. Arriving home, Shelley made an appetizer and chocolate pot pudding because we were having company on Tuesday. While Shelley was pottering away in the kitchen, Brian went downtown to pick up tickets for the opera next Friday. He and a couple of other friends are going to see what it is all about.
The last day of the month was Tuesday and we did our rounds, paying our bills. We have out-of-country company coming mid-December and were sort of determined to go into hibernation for a couple of weeks before that happens. The problem is, we have company coming tonight, the opera on Friday, a soiree next week & two other outings tentatively in the works. Once the Christmas season is over and things have settled down again, it looks like it'll be time for another holiday out to Vilcabamba or the coast or maybe even some place new. It's nice to get away and not feel any obligation except to lie on a strange bed & read and to go for a long walk once a day. In this sense, and many others, retirement is the fantasy long thought of. In any case, after Brian's nap, he poached a seafood medley and Shelley set about making chowder. In due course our company arrived, lovely people, and we ate well, drank wine, talked about this and that and generally had a very nice evening.
It'd been awhile since we'd ventured to Parque Paraiso, so we hopped on the bus and headed there. The bus was very crowded and as we worked our way to the back a young man got up to give Shelley his seat. Shelley thanked him but demurred as it would have kept Brian standing in the middle aisle, not a great place for a big man to be. We finally made our way to the back of the bus and hung on around the curves and sudden stops. Eventually someone left and Shelley stepped over an indigenous woman's voluminous skirt and the packages she had on the floor and sat down in the seat next to the window. Fredi in her lap, she nodded to the indigenous woman and the woman with a stern face nodded back. We sat quietly for the rest of the ride, mostly looking out the window and when our stop came, once again Shelley stepped over the packages & skirt and followed Brian from the bus. Hitting the side walk, Shelley turned and looked up at the woman. She was looking back at Shelley through the window, again with her dour visage. Shelley picked up Fredi's little arm and waved it at the woman and the woman looked away quickly and then back at Shelley and then a small small smile broke out on her ancient face. Then the bus drove away.