Wednesday, May 11, 2005

News from Florida: Nobody Dead Yet. I Mean, Nobody We Know

We arrived here in Winter Haven, orange pit of the Bible Belt, in a poignant mood, figuring that Moms Landrith was hanging between life and death, and that if not quite a bedside vigil, our visit was likely to be pretty grim -- tears, idle tears as all tears are in the face of extinction, but there the tears are anyway!

But what to our wondering eyes should appear on our arrival but Moms Landrith looking better than she did when we dragged her through Scandinavia last fall.


In retrospect, we conclude that her congestive heart failure was in process as we struggled through Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, with that 36-hour hiccup in Paris on the general principle of Who Knows When We Will Pass This Way Again? In the fall she was puffy, inert, not in a foul mood but more or less in no mood at all, which was disturbing.

As of this morning as she sits here drinking coffee from Peerless Coffee in Oakland, California, our having hand-carried that fine product to her, I must say mum-in-law is thinner, her features more defined, her affect pretty darn good. As of tomorrow, she's 94. Of course, she might die overnight, and won't I withdraw this post faster than an actor in a soap opera who finally gets a sitcom?

That might be -- then. This is now.

We had come to my wife's home in sorrow and trepidation, and we are pleased that at least the shell of my mother-in-law's health is intact. Who knows what goes tick tick inside? At the moment, however, we are free to think of other things, such as all the Bush-Cheney stickers on the SUVs, which makes us wish we had borrowed Arnie's Hummer for the weekend, the big one with the spiked collar and the horn that snarls when you punch it.

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