Monday, June 1, 2009

Unlikely endings

Every Friday, Barb and I spend the day in San Francisco caring for Ravi, our grandchild. He has now been on the planet for all of 21 months, and it is a better place since he's joined us. This most recent Friday, we walked with Ravi down Irving Street to the Arizmendi Bakery on 9th Avenue, where we bought bread. Ravi asked for a choppachip cookie with no hot sauce, and I bought one. He loves chocolate chips, hates hot sauce (which the bakery man promised, sincerely, never to put on his cookies). Later we went around Hippie Hill to the children's playground in Golden Gate Park. We spoke to a giant bearded man who had a Dutch accent and was following a tow-headed boy around. The Dutchman said, "I can't wait to be a grandparent. Your job is to spoil the child and have all the fun." There is a carousel, which we always ride. On this day, Ravi rode on the ostrich with us - probably the tallest animal on the carousel - while the big machine played the song "Tijuana Taxi" and then, I think, "Cherry Blossom Pink and Apple Blossom White." Nearby, a mother rode on a carousel pony, bobbing up and down while chatting on a cell phone.

Saturday Barb and I took our two dogs for a long walk in the La Honda watershed, a lovely climb among forest and meadow with views to the ocean. And sometimes, fog. It's a splendid spot that always refreshes our spirits. Walking back down, we stopped to remove stick-me-tights from the coat of our small dog and discussed what would happen if one or both of us should die right now. We're both over 60. Sometimes you have to talk about these things. Back home, I spent the afternoon catching up on the bookkeeping for Barb's business. She's a therapist (and miracle-worker, in my opinion, bringing light to the lives of hundreds of children); my job is to keep the payroll running and the bills paid and the supplies ordered. In the evening we watched a dvd movie, a ritual in which Barb and I and the two dogs all snuggle up with a blanket on a loveseat. This night, we watched Last Chance Harvey with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, a story that moved me to tears - the theme of putting your art aside (jazz piano, in this case) to earn a living strikes home with me.

Sunday Barb took a long walk with dogs and a friend while I answered e-mail from friends I made in Italy. I made some repairs to our drip irrigation system. Barb cooked my favorite dinner (which I sheepishly confess is hamburger - the way she prepares them, it is no ordinary burger but a gourmet delight) and roasted vegetables: red peppers, beets, and portobello mushrooms. After dinner I washed dishes while Barb gave our small dog a bath. Then we watched another dvd movie on the loveseat with dogs: Ballet Shoes, which is kinda sentimental and imposes an unlikely happy ending. But then, we need a few unlikely happy endings imposed on our lives.

Sunday night in bed, as I’m dropping asleep, Barb rolls over and says, “Happy anniversary.”

“Holy shit," I say. Then: “Have you been thinking of it all day?”

“No. Only once. Then like you I forgot about it.”

It’s our fortieth.

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