My friends Don and Susie were in Phoenix to attend the High School graduation of one of their grandsons, a life cycle event not to be missed. While they were gone Charlize and I made the six hour drive to Denver to revisit old friends and spend some time in the Mile High city.
This spring was late in coming to the eastern slope and western plains, late snows and cold. It’s past mid-May and the trees are just starting to leaf out and the grass was just starting to green up and grow on Pass Ranch. In Denver the tulips were spreading their splashes of color and the peony buds were ripening. Bright red-orange poppies were common in the front gardens of the neighborhood of the friend with whom I am staying. The brick house, a craftsman built in the early 1900’s, the original owner, legend says, was a gangster, is only a block away from Cheeseman Park. The park has lots of grass, lots of trees around the border, lots of open space and lots of dogs walking their servants. (I presume those folks walking behind with bags of poop previously deposited by the dogs are servants, what else could they be?) Sadly there is no off leash area for the dogs. Charlize was OK with the place but it wasn’t Pass Ranch.
I decided to cook. I had been mooching off friends for long enough. I prepared the dinner that Rosalie and I saved for special occasions; my “famous” veal chops Marsala with a breadcrumb topping, braised with shallots and mushrooms then baked. It will be accompanied by spinach pasta with ricotta, Parmesan reggiano cheese and butter mixture and roasted fresh asparagus. My friend Charley, written about previously, brought the wine. Rosalie always baked something special for these events and she was awesome with pies, especially if we had fresh rhubarb in the garden. I don’t bake so I wimped out and purchased a nice looking peach tart at Tony’s. It will be OK but not the same.
Everyone who came knew Rosalie. The friend I stayed with is a talker and brilliant at controlling conversations. The conversation was quickly redirected when tears came to my eyes.
I still miss her, especially at night. Sleeping alone in a king sized bed after over fifty-two years with a partner is still difficult. I doubt I will ever get used to it, but the days are getting easier. Charlize continues to stay close to me, wherever I go, day and night and she still gets me up each morning with her cold nose. If I don’t get up immediately she puts a paw on the mattress close to my face. That elicits an irritated response from me, no dogs allowed on the furniture and especially not on the bed, but it has the effect she desires, I’m up.
While out and about, walking with some of my Denver friends, I glanced in a storefront window as we trouped past. All of us were dressed like the old people we are. All the men were in flannel shirts, jeans and walking shoes, in my case, hiking boots to support my arthritic ankle. The women were dressed in loose fitting pants in a variety of dark colors and coordinated pull over tops. All of us were overweight, to a greater or lesser degree and all of us were limping, but from different causes; knees, hips, ankles and/or backs. One person was pushing a walker, got the picture yet? Last week another of our veterinary school classmates passed away. What a mess life is! The good news is that we can still get around. We still can drink a little wine, enjoy good food and enjoy old friends and laugh. God we do laugh, about shared memories and the sorry state of a world in which we are no longer the movers and shakers, if we ever were. Laughing about our aches and pains seems to lessen them. I have a feeling that when we can no longer laugh the whole thing is over with.