Listening to every heart
Continuation – 9-30-04 through 10-01-04
To continue with Wednesday, what a homecoming I received by my brother and his family. It has been over 12 years since I had last been home. My brother had been busy working with his family, and never was able to come out and visit me. Kids and work take up time, a subject about which I know as much as anyone else. And of course, it wasn’t until late 1999 that I finally got involved with home computers, which were his life [programming, etc.] so at that time, I guess both of us felt we didn’t have much in common with each other. Over the two-day period we were able to spend with each other, we learned differently, of course.
My brother and I were beginning to feel like Siamese twins separated at birth, there were so many similarities that were once again tying us together – mentally, physically, emotionally. We could only hold this new found information close to us as time would soon separate us again – and for a period of time unknown, but surely not for as long as it had, before.
Wednesday evening, Thursday and Friday morning passed much too swiftly. It was enjoyable, dancing around family and feeling as if our mutual interaction was a daily occurrence, so easily did I move into their house and family life style. His step-daughter brought me a bouquet of gorgeous salmon-colored roses; I held my grand-niece, fed and changed her, and felt her to be more of a granddaughter than niece, so lovely and comfortable was she, in my arms. It was a joy to be with all of them. I baked and cooked in their kitchen, did dishes by hand…and it brought back some wonderful stories for my brother and myself to share with his daughter and family. The hours slipped by easily, and irretrievably. My brother shared events in his life that I had moved away from – he was never good with writing letters, and I let him talk, for my world had given me time to send letters home, and he felt fairly caught up with me until about 1992, the time that Mom died, and the letters seemed to cease coming. Seeing as how my brother had never written me – I figured phone calls would suffice, but those were few and far between as well. We didn’t quite reconnect on a more personal level until 1996, but it was in 2002 that my brother and I truly started talking again – and we have the computer world to thank for that.
When I finally figured out the value of instant messenger, there weren’t many days that went by that I didn’t have some sort of communication with my brothers. Photos flew over the wires of the Internet, and I got to see him in a way and manner I had never expected – he loved Renaissance; he let his hair grow long the way some musicians do; and I found out that his love for composing and creating music held a very certain muse for him – our mother; just like our father often a’mused me with words and thoughts, energies and insight.
Toward the end of our visit Robert shared with me, to the best of his ability, his music, his voice, his songs. We sang together some of our growing up years music – tunes and songs he had played to entertain people at restaurants and cafes while he worked his earlier years' day job. He shared with me the dreams he was not able to fulfill. The choices that he made, some good, some bad, he shared with me. But above all, he shared with me the parental decisions he had helped his stepchildren with, and beamed in delight that his children had followed his advice. He has a lot to be thankful for.
I promised my brother that I would be back soon. Life is, to use the cliché, much too short to not keep some promises “sooner” than others. I will be back, Robert, for another visit, to not only see how you are doing, but to see how that grandbaby has grown as well, and to share with her photos of when she was only one month old.
I love you, and yours.
In the late afternoon of 10-01-04, my high school girlfriend picked me up from my brother's and we headed south for Santa Maria, but not before a side trip to Jocko’s in Nipomo. If my brother is reading this now, he’s smiling.
All I knew about Jockos is that it was the favored eating establishment of my mother and father, on the few times they would go out to dinner. I remember that Mother would dress up for an evening out with our father, when dinner was more of an occasion as opposed to just, “let’s go somewhere quick…” and as we entered the establishment, I wondered if I would be “too casual” in my summer duds. Not to worry – the overall casualness of the 21st century had more than caught up over the times of the 20th century [circa 1965] when going out was a rare treat for many wives and husbands, and had I dressed up like my mother use to do when planning a night out at Jocko’s, I would have been out of place.
While the dress code had relaxed, the attentiveness of our waiter had not, and although I had only heard of Jocko’s famous steaks and food, I was unprepared for the fact that the quality of that had NOT diminished at all. So my girlfriend and I enjoyed a toast to ourselves and our ability to move along with the world and not let it take us over; we oohh’ed and aahh’d over the quality of the meal, and we laughed and giggled like girls again. Catching up on some 20 years was going to take a little more time than we had imagined.
We arrived safely at the Radisson a couple of hours later, unpacked, and continued to talk through it all. It was quite comforting to know that we hadn’t done all of our talking in a short time…we covered highlights of our lives, but we realized we were about to head into the nuances of all things under the surface. But in so many ways, our ability to pick up where we left off has never forsaken us, and for me, that was a very good thing to acknowledge, indeed.
One matter that hit my senses very hard came about most unexpectedly. My girlfriend is as compassionate as she has always been. Our hotel is on the south side of town, less than a mile or so from where my parents raised us. All I did was say, that was my street – and she said, "yes, I remember," and turned the corner to head toward the home I was raised in. As we neared it, I saw the stone retainer wall my father had put up – just like it was the last time I had been home. I saw the house, which had been kept in its original color of a pleasant, light green, with white trim. Just like my parents had left it over 12 years ago. I had not expected that. Not at all. For a person who doesn’t cry much – at least not in front of other people, the sudden, unexpected release of tears came as a surprise to me, but not to my friend.
I thought I could drive by, see the house still standing, and either appreciate the way the new family was taking care of the yard and such, or be disappointed that it had fallen into disrepair, the way some folks are…
I was pleased to see certain things that my mom and dad had left with the house, were still in fine shape.
I am home.
Friday evening continued easily, and with both my friend and I feeling the effects of our fine meal taking a pleasant, lulling effect over our bodies, it was simple enough to turn off the lights around 10:30 after the news, and start to drift asleep. What I found even more enjoyable, however, was the quiet talking we did in the dark. The soft sound of peaceful voices, filling in a gap that was reminiscent of a Walton Mountain’s family of good night voices…those last tones of “almost asleep” rocking us gently, quietly, as the calming arms of Morpheus took over, and bound us to one another again even more distinctly and surely than our youth ever had.
Only the “good times” of Thelma and Louise are to await us.
Karilea - if I whisper, will you listen? Keeping in mind, I must stand close...