We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
To cheer me up and to distract me from all of the family death and all of the memory tape loops that keep running through my mind with no "pause" button that I can find, Mrs. BD is treating me to a little trip later this summer. Carpe diem in the face of death.
She thinks physical effort will help me feel better. Usually works for me. I love physical effort as long as it doesn't require brains. It's a birthday present for me too, I guess. Or for both of us. She is a world-class trip-planner. It's hiking in the Dolomites above Lake Garda, then a few days banging around the Veneto (with no Venice, thankfully. I hate that tourist trap. We fly into Milan and then drive right out in a rental sports car. I don't care for Milan either.). I intend to rent a little speedboat on Lake Garda and to try to act Italian. In the upper Veneto, some speak German, some speak only Ladin, some speak Italian in public but Ladin with family.
For her birthday, what shall I offer the gal who has everything she needs (except perfect financial security - still waiting for Powerball - however, her material wants and expectations have always been minimal but her cultural, relational, and spiritual desires are considerable. And I have lotsa life insurance...)? Ah, I know just the thing. Tix for Rigoletto at the Arena di Verona.
She can hum a lot of it and recite the details of the tale, but has never seen it live.
Got 'em. Don't tell.
We took the pup for a long off-leash walk two Saturday mornings ago. We ran into a 92 year-old Norwegian neighbor and friend on his daily morning hike. He has climbed the Matterhorn, Mount Blanc, some of the Himalayas. We asked him about the Dolomites. He knew every town, every mountain. Had climbed the Five Fingers. "It's soft stone, Dolomite. Easy to climb." Well, I'll hike all day but I don't climb mountains. Heights have a bad effect on me.
Then, as we head back to the HQ, a car pulls over. A relatively new neighbor and new friend just stopping to say hi. Our dogs are friends too. He's on the way to the airport. We ask where they are going. "Dolomites. Hiking, some rock climbing. Then a couple of days on Lake Garda. We'll have supper and fill you in when we get back."
Should be an amazing trip, do you a world of good. So far this year I lost my brother in law, sister in law in a motorway accident, and my beloved dog who I miss dearly. Father passed a few years back but Mother is still with us. I'd love to unwind with a trip like that, but Mother needs a lot of my time so she can live independently, something I think we all hope for in our old age. And other brother in law is hanging by a thread, far too young, but cancer doesn't care, don't know how many weeks he has left. But I'm blessed, so even though these partings are difficult, it adds to our appreciation of our blessings.
Have a great trip, and don't shed all those memories, fill your life with other good experiences to keep those memories company. Rent something fun to drive, too, those are some great driving roads.