A Winter’s Day, 2017
This year I’m accompanying juniors from to one of their service learning sites, a retirement/assisted living/nursing home community. It’s like the one you were in but MUCH nicer–I’ve seen the pool room with hot tub! While the students help out with various tasks, including the residents’ computer questions, I parked myself in the library with my laptop, saying hello to residents as they go by. Some older ladies come to play bridge and we exchange pleasantries. I tell them how much it reminds me of Dad and you, seeing them play this most challenging of card games, one that I never tried to play because it seemed like so much memory work. But hearing their talk during the game brings me back 40 years to your play in our living or dining rooms with your bridge buddies.
They are asking “what did she bid?” and I’m thinking of you. It’s cute and reminds me of all those bridge games I overheard growing up. “What’s trump, diamonds?” They are helping each other through the game. This probably would have driven you nuts. 🙂I miss you a lot. As Jane said the other day, we’ve been thinking about Dad and you a lot lately. Oh, I think about you daily but I guess it’s the Trump presidency (gulp) that has really brought you forward into my consciousness even more brightly. Saw you a dream the other morning.I know you probably would have liked what Drumpf has been doing but it’s so regressive and unjust to me, as you could have predicted. Or you know already, LOL.
“They are making her go to assisted living. That’s communism.” The other ladies laugh, even as the one who made the comment says “What? Isn’t that true?” But she has a smile on her face.
“What do we have on now? 1 Club?” “I guess I’ll pass….”
“Maybe I’ll go to another bid then…” “You’re doubling two spades, correct?”
I think this game mirrors the confusion I’m feeling about our country right now. We’re all in different realities, seemingly feeling our way through. There is truth, even if one doesn’t want to acknowledge it. But as these ladies show, the truth could be based on hearing things incorrectly or not understanding what is actually happening.
“Keep me honest.”
“I have mixed emotions about that…”
The computer player piano in the other room is playing something I don’t recognize. I often wonder when retirement homes will switch the music that they pipe through the place; I expect to at least hear rock’n’roll stuff from the 50s but it still seems to be the “music of your life” format that you would like. Remember when I worked in New Port Richey at WGUL, playing that music during the graveyard shift in the late 80s?
“Gift from God…”
I think Dad would be amused and shaking his head over Trump. I don’t believe he would have voted for him–remember how he liked John Kasich so much? Maybe you would have voted for Kasich, if not Jeb Bush, in the primaries. I wonder if Dad would have voted for President in November. I feel 90 percent confident that you would have voted for Trump. Maybe you can send me a sign that would assuage such thoughts…
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph…”
“I’m hearing things….”
“We’re not anywhere where we should be…”
One of the women just took a call on her cell phone at the table during the game (!). I can’t imagine you ever doing that. I remember how you played cards with my college friend Clark and me when I was home from college. You good naturally kept trying to get him not to talk during the game. “C’mon Clark, it’s your turn! Keep the game moving!”
The others are waiting with their cards in their hands; ah, now one is going to the bathroom. The woman who took the call apologizes and explains that it’s about a friend she’s been worried about…
Why am I narrating this when I believe you can see all now? Hilarious.
We have another group of women who has come in to play “Phase 10.” They tell me it’s like Yahtzee with cards. One of the women has had her hair colored. She asked if one of her partners had noticed. The other woman says “No.” We all laugh.
Back to overhearing the other group as the Phase 10 group is not all here yet….
“How does it feel to shuffle?” One of the women is asking as the person who has just dealt has been dealing with arthritis. The cards. But I love thinking about this question in terms of other things as well.
“…and everything is connected to everything…”
“I have to get rid of this wild card. It’s not doing me any good…”
“Ah, damn, I’m so sorry…”
“The weather is dreary.” “I like dreary…” I do, too, as you know, Mom; we called them “Olney days” in the winter.
“We have all day…and then we can just sleep.”
I so wish I could hear you and Dad play bridge today, Mom. And realize that so much that would be said would sum up my feelings at this point in our history.
“Mercy, I can’t stay awake…”
But we have to #staywoke. I’ll explain that phrase to you sometime, Mom. I bet you would get it now since you’re on the other side. No, I have to believe you already get it.
“In the social and civil context as well, I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges.” Pope Francis