Day 60: On the Mend...
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Last night when I went to bed I had no more than started to drift off when - *hack* *hack* *hack.* Mmphf. Turned over, just about asleep - *hack* *hack* *hack.* Dammitoll! I got up, found the cough syrup, and took a dose. I bet it wasn't fifteen minutes and I was sawing logs, sans cough. God bless codeine. And the blood glucose wasn't up much this AM either, so... it's all good, ain't?
* * *
Yesterday I learned a friend of mine from high school had died. I hadn't seen him in, oh, probably over 20 years. We were in a group of six or seven kids, some of whom have stayed in touch (as I have with my BFF, who was also in that same clique). Even the ones who aren't on my Christmas card list were still on the periphery - you know how it is. You always think that you could get in touch if you wanted and have a natter about the good ol' days, but you're comfortable putting it off, because - well, heck, we're young, there's plenty of time, right?
My school buds have developed a little communication system thru Classmates and Facebook and a couple of the other social networks. If we're not in direct contact, we're in contact with someone who is, if you follow my drift. So word gets around.
I've written here before about my not making it to my 40th high school reunion last fall - but emails were flying and the cyber reunion probably saw more people than the 'real' one. I'd heard our friend was sick, too sick to attend the reunion, and I had one of those frissons - one of those little chills - of foreboding, but dismissed it.
Well. We're 58 now, and there are plenty from our class who are gone already, so it's not surprising, in a way. It had been so long since I'd so much as talked with him - he and I were two of the 'indirect' contacts - that he may have been a very different person from the one I knew twenty years ago. He'd gotten married, had a family, gone off to a career... I'd gotten married, moved out of state, had kids. Lots in common simply because we were in the same stage of Life, but nothing in common anymore, really, except that we'd graduated from high school together and had once hung out with the same people.
All day I've been thinking about a field trip our Anthropology class took to Washington. My friend and I were the only two seniors - the rest were underclassmen - and we hatched a little plan on the way there. As soon as we got off the bus, we dodged the class and wandered around on our own, carefully avoiding the rest of them. Keep in mind, us Maryland kids went to DC at least once a year for school trips, and lots of times our families would go to Washington to spend a day at the Smithsonian, so we knew the Mall very well.
We already knew which exhibits our teacher was going to tour, and we were long familiar with them: the Museum of Natural History has been a favorite haunt of mine since I was nine years old. So once we'd ditched the rest (we were one month away from graduation, the teacher - poor man! - was only 21 and in his first year of teaching) we had a terrific time.
The highlight was going to the top of the Washington Monument. The elevator cost 10 cents per person. Take the elevator? Not at 17 you don't! We walked it. Every step. The view from the top was glorious - we watched planes going in and out of what is now Ronald Reagan Airport, across the Potomac. We were looking down on the tops of the planes - heady stuff for a couple of farm kids, because while we'd been to Washington many times, neither of us had ever gone inside the Monument.
After we'd had our fill, we walked over to the stairway to head down again. The security guard (no doubt recognizing us because not too many people came up the stairs) said 'You don't have to pay to ride the elevator down. Anybody who walks up can use it for free.' We looked at each other: 'Nah, if we can walk up the stairs, we can walk down!' So we did.
And that's what I've been thinking about all day. That, and his beautiful eyes. He had the bluest eyes I've ever seen.