~ George Santayana
Strange Life of Ivan Osokin
BREAKFAST IN NJ, LUNCH IN DE
23 August 2004
One thing about being from California, you have to go a long way before you get out of California. It's always a shock, then, to come back east and find states all bunched up together so that you can have breakfast in one state, lunch in another, and dinner in a third and hardly put any mileage on your car at all.
Our morning began with the goodbyes, as first one and then another and then yet another car was packed up with suitcases, food, and craft supplies, hugs were given, promises to see each other again soon, and goodbyes were said.
It's been--despite my initial misgivings--a very special weekend in the company of some very special people. I am glad I came.
After most of the group left, Phyllis' son, Evan and his father spent time in the pool. Evan is 11 and has cerebral palsy and it's been quite an education watching what is involved in taking care of a handicapped child. Both Phyllis and Ken are terrific with him and you can tell the boy is smart. It must be so terrible to be trapped in a body that has such a difficult time expressing itself. This evening Ken and I talked a long time about Evan and the progress he has made. Ken is realistic enough to know that Evan is always going to have serious limitations, but also determined that his son is going to be all that he can be. He is also very much in love with his son!
Along about noon, Ron arrived. Ron and I have been good friends for nearly 10 years, meeting on line through CompuServe. He's the 6'5" "little" brother I never had. We've been through a lot together, he and I. Lots of ups and downs. It's been about five years since we last saw each other, so when I knew I was coming here, I told him (of course I didn't ask him--I told him and like a good little brother, he did what I told him to!) to come and pick me up today so we could spend some time together, since he just lives about an hour away.
It was so wonderful to see him again.
We spent about 4 hours together, doing the nostalgic tour of Ron's youth, bouncing around from his childhood home in Deleware to the University he attended, his grammar school, stories about things he had done and places he'd been. Kind of the same sort of tour I give of San Francisco (our friend Stan never let me live down the fact that I showed him where Gilbert's chiropractor's office was, when I gave him the "grand tour" of San Francisco!)
As we drove, we got caught up on each other's lives. We used to write daily to each other, but that kind of went by the wayside some time ago and now we may write a couple of times a month. So there is no longer the "how I spent my day" intimacy, but we are aware of the big events in each other's lives. Today we filled in all the gaps with the little things we used to know about each other. It was very special.
We ended up having lunch at Harry's Seafood Grill, a fancy riverfront restaurant in Wilmington, Delaware, where I had even better crabcakes than I had the other night in Ocean City (which I thought then were the best crabcakes I'd ever eaten!)
We then did the "getting lost" thing. New Jersey has these lovely highways with overpasses that go from one side of the highway to the other only, unlike California, there are no offramps so you can't get to the overpasses, which, of course, was precisely where we wanted to go. A few heartstopping moments doing several u-turns (hi, Pat) and we finally got back to where I started recognizing things again.
It was sad to say goodbye after such a lovely day, but I'm hoping to convince him to meet us in New York next month when we go to see The Big Voice.
The day ended with my packing my suitcase, watching a bit of the Olympics and Six Feet Under, a nice debriefing between Phyllis and me about how the whole weekend had gone, and then a very long chat with Ken about Evan. And now the house is finally quiet. I'm going to get this posted and get some sleep myself. Tomorrow I'm taking the train in to Philadelphia with Phyllis, leave my suitcase and things at her office, finally see the friggin' Liberty Bell, then take Phyllis to lunch for her birthday and finally head on out to the airport for my return flight home.
I sincerely hope that the flight home will be less eventful (and significantly shorter) than the flight out here.
I don't have a clue when my next entry will be written, but undoubtedly at some ungodly hour, with Sheila at my elbow bumping me with a toy of some sort.