“Well: It’s a Rough Thing. That’s All.”

I was planning a Halloween party for tomorrow night.  It’s All Souls , Samhain, AND a blue moon.  Last weekend we got out all the Halloween decorations and costumes we’ve accumulated since my daughter’s childhood.  She loves Halloween; she hung the strings of lights that look like tiny lanterns, like skulls, like floating eyeballs. (I really didn’t know she still loves it so; this is, of course the first Halloween we’ve  spent together since …2011! ).   She put together a vampire cowgirl costume, while I wavered between Sexy Witch and Knight Templar. And tonight we’re carving pumpkins.  Every year I forget how strenuous that is 🥵!   Those suckers are tough.

But there won’t be a party.  I had to cancel it when a large contingent of my guests, members of the same extended family,  turned out to have been exposed to the Sinos’ Infection.   Three, at least are sick, with one positive test, so there’s little doubt.
I NEVER cancel parties.  I consider it a major catastrophe, a bad omen, a rout. I was sulking and muttering about it all day. I really pitied me.

But what I want to tell you is about one friend I spoke to tonight.  I had invited this couple even though I know the wife is very sick.  This is one of my schoolmates, a few years older, one of the big boys in the back of the school bus , with whom I’ve gotten to actually be friends  since we came back here. A giant of a man who drives gigantic earth-moving machines.

He said they couldn’t have come to the party anyway.  How is she?  I asked.  And his answer was the title of this post.  That was all there was to say; he invited no further discussion.  Such are our Plateaunian men.

Rough.  Dying is rough.  Trying not to die is rough. That is, indeed, all.  O spare me yet a little! as the Psalmist entreated.

I am ashamed of my petty pique.   Every day  above the ground is a good day, as a friend of mine (now interréd) used to say.

A blessed All Souls and Blue Moon to you all, Ratty!

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20 thoughts on ““Well: It’s a Rough Thing. That’s All.””

  1. Thank you both.  I really am upset about my friend, patient zero in this cluster,  an approx 65 year old lawyer.  “99% survival rate” sounds  a lot more reassuring in the abstract than it does in particular.

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  2. Snooks lost a girlfriend last weekend to the Wuhan Virus.  They had gone to school and Sunday School together from 1st Grade through high school.

    The funeral is family only.  On Sunday afternoon Snooks will participate in a Zoom call with some of her friends.

    Sad.

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  3. MJBubba:
    Snooks lost a girlfriend last weekend to the Wuhan Virus.  They had gone to school and Sunday School together from 1st Grade through high school.

    The funeral is family only.  On Sunday afternoon Snooks will participate in a Zoom call with some of her friends.

    Sad.

    Sorry to hear that Bubba.

    It’s a weird thing, this China Flu. I don’t know anyone–anyone!!–either personally or through two degrees of separation who has had this thing. My step-dad is a nurse in Dallas and his floor was receiving COVID patients and he hasn’t had one single blip. My son’s pre-K supposedly had someone test positive and yet we were all fine. Negative tests and no symptoms. It’s a very strange thing.

    Anyway, I will hold you all in my prayers.

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  4. Hypatia,

    I am really sorry about your party.

    Last Sunday we had a real-life family gathering.  It was Sunday Dinner for thirteen people.  We had a few birthdays to acknowledge, and we got to congratulate the niece who just learned she is carrying twins.  (This niece had previously suffered a stillbirth, so we are especially happy for her and her husband.)

    We did talk about the Virus.  They all have lost someone they knew, though a couple of the relationships were phone/e-mail only relationships with business contacts.

    Then I improved the mood of the gathering by making them all watch the Cuban Dance Party for Trump video.

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  5. Pencilvania:
    Hyp, I hope the wife of your strong/silent man friend is speedily healed. Is she in the hospital do you know?

    No, she’s not.  I don’t think there’s much of a prognosis.  She is taking medication still, which has unpleasant effects, but I’m not sure whether it’s treatment or just palliative. I’m not  sure they know. I don’t want to know.

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  6. MJBubba:
    Snooks lost a girlfriend last weekend to the Wuhan Virus.  They had gone to school and Sunday School together from 1st Grade through high school.

    The funeral is family only.  On Sunday afternoon Snooks will participate in a Zoom call with some of her friends.

    Sad.

    I’m so sorry Bubba and not to be insensitive but is there any more information you can provide regarding this persons death. There is so much misinformation regarding the fatality of this virus in that if a person doesn’t have any co-morbidities they usually fare very well.
    and Robert I’m in the same boat. I know a few people who have had this virus and were sick for a few days and then were fine. No better or worse than the flu and I’m in a so called “hot spot”. I don’t know I say live your life. Who would have thought that Christmas 2019 was to be the Last Christmas with my mother. You never know when you breathe your last so live your life and don’t be afraid.

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  7. Mate De:

    MJBubba:
    Snooks lost a girlfriend last weekend to the Wuhan Virus.  They had gone to school and Sunday School together from 1st Grade through high school.

    The funeral is family only.  On Sunday afternoon Snooks will participate in a Zoom call with some of her friends.

    Sad.

    I’m so sorry Bubba and not to be insensitive but is there any more information you can provide regarding this persons death. There is so much misinformation regarding the fatality of this virus in that if a person doesn’t have any co-morbidities they usually fare very well.
    and Robert I’m in the same boat. I know a few people who have had this virus and were sick for a few days and then were fine. No better or worse than the flu and I’m in a so called “hot spot”. I don’t know I say live your life. Who would have thought that Christmas 2019 was to be the Last Christmas with my mother. You never know when you breathe your last so live your life and don’t be afraid.

    I also know people who got a cold, tested positive for Wuhan Flu, and then got over it without hospitalization, served their quarantine sentence, and returned to the workplace.

    Snooks’s girlfriend was overweight all her life.  I don’t know, but suspect that she was diabetic by now.  She had lived through some hard times when her mother died when she was twelve.   Snooks’s parents were a help to her.

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  8. MJBubba:

    Mate De:

    MJBubba:
    Snooks lost a girlfriend last weekend to the Wuhan Virus.  They had gone to school and Sunday School together from 1st Grade through high school.

    The funeral is family only.  On Sunday afternoon Snooks will participate in a Zoom call with some of her friends.

    Sad.

    I’m so sorry Bubba and not to be insensitive but is there any more information you can provide regarding this persons death. There is so much misinformation regarding the fatality of this virus in that if a person doesn’t have any co-morbidities they usually fare very well.
    and Robert I’m in the same boat. I know a few people who have had this virus and were sick for a few days and then were fine. No better or worse than the flu and I’m in a so called “hot spot”. I don’t know I say live your life. Who would have thought that Christmas 2019 was to be the Last Christmas with my mother. You never know when you breathe your last so live your life and don’t be afraid.

    I also know people who got a cold, tested positive for Wuhan Flu, and then got over it without hospitalization, served their quarantine sentence, and returned to the workplace.

    Snooks’s girlfriend was overweight all her life.  I don’t know, but suspect that she was diabetic by now.  She had lived through some hard times when her mother died when she was twelve.   Snooks’s parents were a help to her.

    I’m so sorry to hear. Everyone is in full freak out mode where I live and are trying to get back to a lockdown. Which is unbelievably frustrating.

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  9. We’re headed that way,

    .  BoJo just locked down the UK.  In  France,  I read, they’re enjoying  their “Last Supper” before restaurants close again.

    y’know,,, March-April was only bearable because we thought it WAS temporary, because it WAS novel.  It ain’t gonna play well as dêja-vu.

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  10. Enough is enough. Covidism needs to be stopped dead in its tracks. Any politician who continues to support lockouts, be they of the left or right, must be voted out of office.

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  11. Coda:
    so, just as we three were about to settle into watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show last night, suddenly  there came a tapping as of someone gently rapping, rapping at our front-porch door…..Outside were:  a man I didn’t know, dressed as Fred Flintstone (and remarkably like him in physique!) and a man I do know.  He hadn’t RSVP’d (apparently there are people who don’t take that as seriously as I do🤬) so I assumed he wasn’t planning to come, but, um, there he was, plus one, bearing one o’ they giant cookies and a goodly stoup of wine.
    Well—so we did  have a party of sorts, for two guests—they stayed and talked till well after ten.  I was so embarrassed at first, and I’m sure he was too, 🥵🥵🥵🥵🥵so I wanted to make it worth their while coming over! Plenty to talk about with this gent since his family are one of the original Plateaunian clans, here before my grandfather.  And it actually was satisfying  to be able to concentrate on that, and on our mutual early memories of the local characters.  And even my daughter, at first sulkily  chafing at  breaking our date with Tim Curry, ‘lowed  as how it was kinda nice  to have some human Social interaction.

    So there you have it, Ratty!
    What have I learned?
    In the unfortunate and hopefully one-time event that you have to call off a party , let even the inconsiderate (though charming)  invitees know— or be prepared to entertain them a deux…

    Happy All Saints!

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  12. A life of fear is of no appeal to me.  I attended a funeral yesterday for an old friend who had moved away.  A Deacon in the Roman Catholic church, and a long-time paraplegic with many health problems.  But as his (early–50yo) time approached, he faced it calmly (and some morbid humor).  Brought this to mind:

    So live, that when thy summons comes to join
    The innumerable caravan, which moves
    To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
    His chamber in the silent halls of death,
    Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
    Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
    By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
    Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
    About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

    The rest of us need to accept our mortality, even in the face of this plague, and live.

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  13. My way of life, the pleasure part of it—and in my opinion whatever gives you pleasure is your “real” job—has been giving parties, summer dinners on my dining porch,  Boisterous talking and singing in front of my fire after the feasts (often both winter and summer, our mountain evenings being what they are.). I’m afraid it’s gone.  I don’t even feel confident about the relatively small (10ish)  Gathering I usually host for Thanksgiving dinner. (I’m ready and willing, but will my far-flung guests be?) I thought I would do those things as long as I  remained vigorous.  But events have foreclosed them earlier than I feared.

    ….Yes “I want  to live”, too.  I’m lucky that the other pleasures of living here can be experienced solo: walking, boating, riding, , skating and skiing All in their seasons.  But it’s the parties that keep me polished up.  It looks to me like a dark winter indeed with none on my horizon.

    ….Yes, “I want to live”, too, and we have been saying,  ever since the Sinos’ Infection took hold in the US, that we wish we’d just get it and be done! Up close ‘n’ personal, though, now that it’s rampant in two proximate counties, With 4 of my good friends having had it,  um…it’s like believing in life after death, you still wanna avoid living after death for as long as you can.

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  14. H:  “With 4 of my good friends having had it

    I sincerely hope that the use of the past tense implies that your 4 good friends had the dreaded Covid-19 and (like 99.7% or whatever higher number the data now support) survived.

    Thinking back, I recall people I have known who have gotten into car accidents, and fallen off ladders, and been shot — and most of them survived.  Even the guy who was in the crash of a commercial airliner survived.  Others did not survive, unfortunately, from accidents or from ailments.  Cardiac arrests have taken a number of fine people I knew at relatively young ages by modern standards.  Such is life on this planet.

    We should always be prudent, of course, but we should never waste each precious irreplaceable day given to us.  When fear replaces prudence, we are on the wrong path — as the Biblical tale of hiding the talent under the bushel reminds us.

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  15. Oh, very true, and I feel the same way, of course.  And it seems like 3 of the 4 are okay, the 4th can’t shake the fever and stillDoesn’t have very good O2 sat.  But in the  same way that you might, for  a while, feel differently about driving or flying after a close friend had been  hurt In a wreck or killed in a crash,   I admit ( sheepishly) I  just found it easier to be brave in the abstract.  Maybe it’s just me.  I hope so.

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  16. Hypatia:
    He hadn’t RSVP’d (apparently there are people who don’t take that as seriously as I do🤬) so I assumed he wasn’t planning to come, but, um, there he was, plus one, bearing one o’ they giant cookies and a goodly stoup of wine.

    @Hypatia, sweetie, those were Hermes and Zeus who came to you. You and your BMD have been privileged to play the parts of Baucis and Philemon. In coming they reminded you of what is important in human life, to include, obviously, personal standards of behavior toward family and neighbors; civility; social and moral obligations and benefits. Those things are important in the conduct of life, and did those two guests not remind you, quite directly, of that truth? And was it not only possible because you extended hospitality to them?

     

    Well—so we did have a party of sorts, for two guests—

    You planned one sort and got another sort instead, welcoming it as it should be welcomed. And it was good. I am glad that your offspring was there to witness the triumph and the glory of such an eventuality. If she hasn’t figured it out yet, she will sooner or later.

     

    they stayed and talked till well after ten. I was so embarrassed at first, and I’m sure he was too, 🥵🥵🥵🥵🥵so I wanted to make it worth their while coming over! Plenty to talk about with this gent since his family are one of the original Plateaunian clans, here before my grandfather. And it actually was satisfying to be able to concentrate on that, and on our mutual early memories of the local characters.

    This is analogous to the story of Zeus and Hermes dropping in on the old couple in their hut, on the way to resolve grand matters of state and religion in the immediate area. En route, they served another purpose, performed an additional task:  to exemplify for the ancients what a great idea it is to offer hospitality to strangers who behave in a civil manner while in need of hospitality. The Greeks did not pass these stories on for no reason! The lesson is: you never know. Somebody comes up to you, dressed roughly by your standards, yet speaking and behaving in a civil manner, although their speech may be rustic. How to respond? Complicated question! Never having cared much for complication, I’ll tell you right now what I know from experience: behavior is of supreme importance, while socioeconomic status as evidenced by externalities is only distraction.

     

    And even my daughter, at first sulkily chafing at breaking our date with Tim Curry, ‘lowed as how it was kinda nice to have some human Social interaction.

    And consider the things talked over, such as you listed. Those, those things, are orders of magnitude greater than anything in some movie. And she saw how her parents behaved. She’ll figure it out.

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