Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Valerian Root, Lemon Balm, and Hops

It's been a long day here at the Haddock Family ancestral manor, Marlinspike Hall.

I paid the piper for pitching in on ManorFest 2014 preparations yesterday, as well as giving the catacomb guest quarters a much needed spiffing up, unclogging one toilet and two medieval caricatures of a sink.  A few loads of laundry, trimming the hooves of our miniature Clydesdale herd, clipping the ferocious thick talons of Buddy the Maine Coon, and... well, I broke a rib.

That's a lie. I broke the rib last week.  Wednesday night, in fact, at about 10:30 pm.  It was another case of derring-do.  I showered (that's the "derring-do" part) and then reached for a fluffy towel of fetching cerulean blue (that's the "breaking the rib" part).

So my fit of physical exertion yesterday left me languishing abed today, though I always do my allotted morning chores.  Glad today not to have anyone witness me checking off those bits of manor-keeping, once done, I did my best impression of a beached whale.

It's just a rib, for Pete's sake!  Tiny bars of a cage, curvy and insubstantial. But oh, does it hurt when its delicate construction gives way.

We're fragile creatures, aren't we?

And yet, we are resilient, if fortunate enough to have grace in our lives.  Someone to pardon our blurted thoughtlessness, someone to model better behavior without underscoring how very, very stupid we can be. A Fred to offer pillows to splint the battered bones and ease the pain of breathing in, breathing out.

Though I despise the expression, I'll use it.  One of my "kids" earned his wings late yesterday.  Nolan, to use an even more disliked phrasing, fought the good fight.

He needed to die, that child, and his family was as ready as ready can be.

As if you haven't endured enough gnashing of teeth, rending of garments, and ash flying willy-nilly about this blog (worse even than cat hair is sanctified ash), I must also tell you that Brayden Martin has reached a new stage in his journey.  His cancer has returned with a vengeance in his spine, and in his precious, precocious brain.

Maranda has not told Brayden of Nolan's death.  I love Maranda -- she doesn't hide a thing, and she doesn't hide a thing because she's learned it's just a waste of precious time.  She wondered if she would even tell Brayden... but, of course, she has to tell Brayden, for Nolan was his best buddy.  But I love that she permits herself these moments that the rest of us edit out with such assiduity.

She'll worry about what to say, how best to ease Brayden into this knowledge, and she will, of course, find that her son had already begun to grieve.  Her words will be perfect, the curvature of her arms even better.

You've only to look at the two boys together last week to understand that all these difficult conversations have been prefaced by an easy, instantaneous look, a soft kiss, a knowing that precedes experience. We stifle that childhood gift at some point -- adolescence?  When we hit thirty?  As we round the turn at eighty-five?

Brayden and Nolan, May 2014

So Brayden's doctor, a very wise woman, I hear, told Maranda to take her crew and find a large body of water (with nearby swimming pools and Cabana Boys) completed by other kick-ass amenities.  So this is where they're hanging:

Blue Skies Ministries Retreat

In other news, Fred and I are weaning ourselves off of syrupy Colombian coffees and trying the lighter French roasts.  It's hard, but I think we can do it.

This year's ManorFest looks to be more of a community-driven effort than ever before, and ticket sales are booming.  Fred, however, had a severe allergic reaction to the preponderance of artisanal booth entries, and required emergency epinephrine when several local artisans waxed long about their week-old handcrafted products' patinas.  I slipped him some new wine and old cheese -- he bounced right back.

What with the devastation of Grader Boob's news, and the buffeting abuse of children running off to greener pastures, leaving us stodgy adults quite literally in the weeds, I've had a special memory of reedy, whistful singing -- a soft and breezy song used to say goodbye to a sweet friend.   I'd sing it for you but fear that la bonne et belle Bianca Castafiore might inflict great bodily harm at my off-key screeching.  So here's something far better --

I'm off to fetch some lowfat plain yogurt, with 3 packets of fake sugar (the kind dressed in blue), eight frozen strawberries, and some cinnamon.  It's the perfect accompaniment to my current Richard Russo binge, an homage to the always jesting beloved Brother-Units -- yes, both of them!

Another chapter of Straight Man under my belt, and by then, the valerian root, lemon balm, and hops from an hour ago ought to ease me out of this mournful Monday into the waiting wonders of Tuesday.

Be kind to one another.

© 2013 L. Ryan

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