Monday, June 30, 2014

We Had A Party

We had a deck party.  It was grand.  It was Ubaldo's 55th birthday and a fine excuse to celebrate the deck and life.  It was wine and cheese and music and magic.  Friends came bearing plant gifts and wine and cheese with messages to Ubaldo.  Pat and Julie were there to meet and greet and help at every step. 
"Have you lost your mind?" was Ubaldo's first comment when he realized I had hired a band for the event.  And, to tell you the truth, I wasn't sure that I hadn't, but as the evening went on it became clear that it was all perfect.  Everybody danced.  The children, and all of us silly ones.  We even had a Congo line, the young and the was just perfect. 

Jed was watching, I know.  Ubaldo dreamed that he was dancing on the deck.  It's just too short, life.  Opportunities to dance don't come often enough.  I'm so glad we did.  I'm so glad we all did, the newly divorced, the newly widowed, the babies, the cautious, the anniversary celebrants, the special ones, the newly in love, and the lovely.  We all danced and let life seep into our bones and bring us joy. 

I can remember when Jed and I were just beginning to form the idea of the deck.  He was excited about the job.  I was excited about the final product. We talked about the size and the purpose.  We wanted to extend our living into the beauty that was outside our back door.  So many memories of pouring concrete and placing boards.  My dad even helped in the final product and Jed would tell how he just had to finish the railings because my dad shamed him into finishing the job. 

We had many gathering on the deck, but none so grand as this one.  For me, it was such a tribute to Jed, honoring his best friend with such a fine party on his amazing deck.  It was just all perfect.  And, right at sunset, Jed flew by.  Slow and careful and proud.  Our wonderful hawk, who I have named Jed, was watching it all with great approval.  Happy birthday, Ubaldo, and Jed, thank you for not only building the deck, but building us, strong and confident and able to go on without you.   

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Buying Trip

Dad and Mom bought a farm many years ago.  My brothers and I grew up on it and have varied connections to it.  However we see it's future, we all agree that the heritage from the dirt and grit of that little spot in the middle of Nebraska has given us the strength to be who we are, and the fortitude to move beyond the memories.  But now we have a farm, the four of us, and we decided to gather to discuss it's future with us.  The gather time was quite wonderful, with opinions shared and aired.  What our future with the farm will become is set in motion, and we are comfortable with the power of family. 

Me?  I decided to make the trip to Nebraska a "buying trip."  So I gathered my tax refund and my two friends. and we made our way back to California in a 17 foot U haul.  Why fly when you can buy is my motto.  My brothers got into connecting us up and we crawled through basements, barns, and attics. At each place we shook hands and loaded up treasures.  We were the real American Pickers for nearly two weeks, and had to hand wash our underwear the last three nights because the truck was too full to risk taking out our suitcases. 

So here's what I learned road tripping. 
  • It's a necessity of life to spend time with good friends.
  • This country of ours is very, very beautiful, and at every turn there is magic.
  • Buying stuff is easy, picking stuff people want is not.
  • Buying stuff is way more fun if you sing to the shopkeeper and make him laugh.
  • Sometimes you have to go down dirt roads for quite a long distance to find a treasure. 
  • You really don't need much luggage. Motels have sinks and clothes dry before morning. 
  • There are delightful people everywhere, all just trying to get by (with a little help from their friends.) 
  • I "ain't gonna be nobody's powder monkey."  This I learned in Colorado in a mine tour.  The powder moneys were the young kids who had to do all the disgusting work for the miners.  So, we made up a song and sang it half the way home. 
  • I miss my parents.
  • I love my brothers, and my sister in laws just totally rock. 
  • Jed's presence is always with me. 
Back in California, I find myself wanting to be on the road again, but for now, tending to undone tasks seems a better choice. 


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Deck

Jed and I bought a simple little house so many years ago.  Salt box looking with a lovely touch of wind and breeze, picket fences and laughter.  I was so happy, a dream house, old and needing some love touches. 

And then we built the deck.  We, is a bit of a stretch, but I did carry water and find tools.  We had a view, and Jed wanted to live in it.  We had boards and concrete and nails and every kind of metal building attachment that Home Depot could provide.  All this we had for what seemed like years.  Jed loved a good job.  He just loved working on a project.  Jed was never very concerned about finishing a good job.  He'd always tell Reg, "You don't want to kill a good job!"  They would laugh and drink a beer while studying the next phase of the project and I would cringe.  I, naturally, really wanted this "good job" to get finished.  Silly me. 

Memories pick and choose.  I pick the amazing joy I got from decorating the deck.  I would hose it, and clean it, and move furniture and hang plants...oh, what relaxing fun.  And, how wonderful that he finally finished the deck and started on the porch and bathroom.  Me, I just walked around on the sturdy dream and felt  happy. 

Fireworks, friends, children, oh, the children...Oh how the deck became an extension of who we were.  We were the ones with the amazing deck with the sky rocketing view.  We were the ones who loved to share it with our friends and family.  Graduation parties, wedding receptions, good ole beer fests, homemade ice cream on 4th of July...the deck gathered us all for what our hearts needed. 

But then Jed fell.  He fell so hard that he broke the spirit of the deck.  Years went by and no one even walked on it's boards.  It was left to the raccoons and squirrels.  The spa grew a foot of crud, the boards warped and creaked.  The tree branches threatened a final deck death. 

But, deck death will not be a near future reality.  It is being resurrected.  The dead boards are gone.  New boards assure longevity.  And paint.  Heavy duty paint, along with hundreds of plants and piles and piles of well placed dirt are  singing the happy deck song.

After Jed died I decided to have a two year plan.  Home, business, body.  Get them fixed up.  So, I'm fixing up the deck.  It feels like a memorial to Jed and that is what I need.  Of all the things we did together that  were so filled with joy, the deck stands out among them all as quite remarkable.  There's a lot I cannot do.  I cannot bring him back or start over with him.  But I can bring the deck back to life and even though it's not totally satisfying, it feels remarkably wonderful. 

Early this morning I took my coffee out to examine the deck in it's resurrection glory.  A huge and brave hawk swooped over the deck, made some sounds of either stress or approval and gallantly sat on a close by tree.  I knew it was Jed telling me how pleased he was.  It was a lovely morning. 
Not only is the deck becoming once again a place of joy, but it shines brightly as a tribute to the love of my life for his remarkable vision.