Friday, April 20, 2007

Lost Souls

My parents will be coming back to Minneapolis on Sunday. They truly have no choice, as my father has a board meeting next week. They will be arriving at MSP early Sunday evening, and Joshua and I will go to the airport and pick them up and take them home.

My uncle is doing just a little better, probably because his course of radiation treatments is over, at least for now. He is starting to eat just a little, and he loves my mother's tomato-cream soup, which she makes from scratch. My mother also made her homemade chicken noodle soup for him, which is one of her masterpieces, but my uncle did not like that because, he said, the taste of chicken is acrid to him after all he has been through. As a result, my mother made for him two of her vegetable soups, with noodles but without meat, one from a tomato base and one from a base of beef bouillon. My uncle liked both of those very much.

I suspect that my parents are not having much fun, but I know that they are performing their duties valiantly. I am sure I will hear more about what is happening when my parents return on Sunday. Thus far, I have learned that my uncle's wife is an artist, and very high-strung, and very self-centered. Three times this week, she left the house to spend the day on her own, twice going shopping and once visiting an artists' colony. She must not be strong enough to shoulder the burden of caring for someone else full-time, in which case it was fortunate that she and her husband did not have children. My parents have told me other things about her, and it would be uncharitable to mention them. I doubt that I would like her.

Josh and I must appear to be down in the dumps this week, because our landlady has been watching out for us all week, which is very kind of her. I have known her my entire life, as she attends our church and as she taught at the boys' school I attended.

She is very interested in theater, and she attends virtually every theater performance-- professional, semi-professional and amateur--in the entire metropolitan area. She also is an avid movie-goer. I think that she sees virtually every movie on its initial release, and generally on the first weekend. She is also a dedicated museum-goer. However, she has very little interest in music, and she never attends concerts or recitals, nor does she go to the opera or to the ballet.

She was married twice, and she was awarded her current home when her second marriage, to a professor at the University Of Minnesota, ended. She has two grown daughters, both of whom live in the Twin Cities. She is a delightful person. I have always liked her very, very much.

Despite the fact that I have always known her very well, she has always left Joshua and me alone ever since we moved into the apartment above her garage. She told us, before we moved in, that she would never interfere with us, and she has lived up to that representation. Our apartment is not directly connected to her house, even though the garage itself is directly connected to the house. The only entrance to our apartment is a separate one, at the back of the house.

This week, for the first time, she said that we HAD to come over for dinner, and she made dinner for us on Tuesday night and again on Wednesday night. In return, Josh and I invited her over for dinner last night. All three evenings were enchanting, because she is such excellent company and such an excellent conversationalist.

She told us that we HAD to come with her to the movies tonight, but Josh and I explained to her that we really could not, because of the dog. Rex is not accustomed to spending a lot of time alone, and it is not good to leave dogs alone any more than necessary, since they are pack animals. Whenever my parents have an evening obligation outside the home and have to leave Rex by himself for the evening, they never leave him home alone during that day, too, in order that he not be alone twice in the same day. If my mother has to leave the house on a day when she and my father have an evening obligation, she will always take Rex with her, even if she is going to be gone only a short time.

Since Rex is home alone today, Josh and I really cannot leave him alone this evening, too, and we explained this to our landlady. Her response was to say that we should all go to the movies tomorrow night instead, since Rex will have spent the entire day with us tomorrow. Consequently, it looks like Josh and I will be seeing a movie tomorrow night, and probably having dinner out, too.

Josh and I must look like lost souls, worrying about what is going on in Oregon. Otherwise, our landlady would not be making such an effort to keep us diverted this week. She is very, very kind and thoughtful.

Rex, on the other hand, seems to be doing pretty well. He gets to go out into the yard at 4:00 p.m. each day, when our landlady gets home from work, and romp around for a while. When Josh and I get home from work, we take him out again, and we keep him out for a good 45 minutes or so, because it is still light out at that time. We run with him, and romp with him, and play with him before we take him back inside. We are giving him the best care we can.

And our landlady seems to be giving us the best care she can.

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