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Three score and ten or more

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Small victories and gentle joys

Small victories and gentle joy.

I haven’t posted much since my return from Washington. I have stared at the computer, raged in the comment sections of a couple of blogs (my resolution to avoid politics doesn’t include the comment section of other blogs), played a lot of spider solitaire, and wondered.--- It isn’t that I don’t have things going on in my life, or that I have become dispassionate about the world, but I think I have been going into a “so what?” mode. What do I really have to say that is of value? I don’t mind writing a little blither now and then, it is fun, but I really would like to write about things of value. After all, what’s in this blog may be read by twenty or thirty folks (I read one blog the other day that had 79000 hits in a one day period—I bet that My Spaces had to update the server he was on), but my real audience will ultimately be my family – my children (most of whom check in every once in awhile) – my brother and sisters (though I keep sending them my blog URL, and I think they already know me so well, that if they do read it, they will quickly write in to correct my memories), my grandchildren- who knows.

I was invited to a meeting of the local community theatre (the ones who got me involved in the Scrooge business back in December) last evening. I didn’t read the invitation as carefully as I might, it had arrived during my visit to Washington and it took awhile to rise to the top the antique mail pile. As a result I arrived a little dirty and underdressed. It was a fairly formal occasion with a few ties, coats etc., in evidence, and (though I washed my hands and face, and behind my ears) I had spent most of the day puttering in my yard, and it showed.

I was glad I went. They presented me with a nice certificate of appreciation and a little trophy (mostly for surviving a Christmas Carol and remembering most of my lines for most of the performances). Getting there late, I missed most of the gnosh. I did get away with a couple of grapes and a cup of diet Coke. None of those things were elements of real value, but I did experience some real value that I wanted to share with “my readers”.

One of my old friends was there. She is a lady whose children used to be in my classes, and who acted brilliantly in the local community theatre ( this was not the same group, but one of it predecessors that went out of business almost twenty years ago) and who performed in some of the college plays when auditions were opened to the community. She is a wonderful lady whose energy, enthusiasm and talent was a big aid to every group who was blessed by her presence. The last time I had seen her was over a year ago, at the retirement celebration for one of my former colleagues in the University Theatre. I hadn’t seen her for a long time before that occasion so I quickly went to chat with her, and when I asked her what theatre activities she was involved in, she burst into tears.
“It is so difficult to even think about theatre when I have spent my life as a dancer and actor, and now, I can’t even walk without assistance.” I discovered that she had been diagnosed with polymotor peripheral neuropathy, that she could hardly walk, that she had been forbidden to drive and that she was taking some really powerful drugs (prednisone, an immunosuppressive, Neurontin which is an anti epileptic drug which I had taken for two years until I had so many psychoactive responses to it that I begged off from it and some others that I don’t remember.) Of course I was interested because I was first diagnosed with a polymotor peripheral neuropathy in 1991, and I recognized her feelings. When they first tried to find treatment for me, I became so ill that my brother and sister, convinced that I was at death’s door (I also suspected such a thing) had flown out from the west to see me, in case I didn’t last longer.

I found that she and I had found the same Doctor (he was about my third neurologist) and I reassured her that he was once of the best. I tried to make her feel better by pointing out that, except for walking problems which still exist, (sometime I have a duck walk that is really embarrassing) I was still around, only had to use a cane when I was tired, I was still alive, functioning, and getting a lot out of life. I’m afraid I wasn’t much help, and soon her two daughters (both of which had acted for me many times as well) lifted her to her feet, and walked her out.

When I came into this meeting she was sitting with her daughter (she still wasn’t allowed to drive- - Numb feet are a problem when you can’t feel the pedals) but she was bright eyed and alert, and jumped (a slight exaggeration) to her feet to wave at me. When I talked to her, she had worked on a couple of the plays this spring, was energetic, and walking (with a little help from her daughter, but without a cane). It was a thrill to see that the flash in her eyes had returned. What was particularly thrilling to me was her comment that she had seen my performance in A Christmas Carol the first week in December, and she saw how many physical things I did in the performance (I was a little surprised too, and my wife was astonished), and she determined that if I could do things she could too, and that my performance was one of the things that had lifted her up.

I never would have guessed that what I did could have had that kind of effect on anyone.
Sometimes things have value that we never would guess at the time. I’ve been blessed.


At 2:46 AM, Blogger Norma said...

"I think I have been going into a “so what?” mode. What do I really have to say that is of value? I don’t mind writing a little blither now and then, it is fun, but I really would like to write about things of value."

I feel like that every morning, and write anyway. Thanks for stopping by with comments.


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