Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Boston, Pills, Cold Mountain and Chance Encounters

I awoke this morning to the ringing of my telephone and looked briefly at my alarm clock: 8:45 a. m. I reached for my Videx EC and glass of water as I answered the phone. It was my mom, calling to tell me that her dog, Boston, had died overnight at the vet’s office. Just as she got the words out, the water and pill hit my stomach and the presence of water in my system was not what my body wanted. I soon found myself with water coming from my nose, my eyes, a softened capsule of Videx EC on my bathroom counter and a phone in my hands. I was coughing and hacking and trying not to choke to death or drown in the proverbial teaspoon of water that people claim is enough to kill. My mom thought that I had become emotional about her dog and started to get upset too. I tried to reassure her, but all I could squeeze out was "I will be," when she asked me if I was o.k.

When I could finally talk, I told my mom how sorry I was about Boston. We chatted for a while before ending our conversation. After this difficult start, I decided to go back to bed for a few minutes and awoke again at 11 A.M. I was surprised to find it so late, and jumped out of bed to make coffee and a bite to eat and then took the 20 pills that I take with breakfast. When I had eaten and taken my pills, I called my brother’s house to get my friend Steve’s work number so that I could call his partner Lonnie. Lonnie is a florist in Wilmington and is quite gifted in the art of Japanese floral arrangement. I got his work number and called in an order of flowers for my mom, not realizing fully that it was Valentine’s Day.

After checking my email and posting an obituary for Boston on my blog, I decided that it would be a good thing to get out of the house for lunch. I decided that I wanted Greek food and decided to go to the food court at Northgate Mall where there is a nice Greek concession. As I was standing there, a young black man holding a baby walked up to me and said "Hey man! I remember you. I work at Fuddruckers and took your cup one night before you were through with it. We talked about UNC basketball and how players have good and bad attitudes. You told me about being on a plane with Rasheed Wallace one day and how you said hello to him and he got up and moved." Yes, I remembered the conversation, but I often have no memory for names or faces. I told him that I remembered meeting him and that I had ironically been talking about Rasheed Wallace just a day or two before. My cousin had told me that one of the star players on this year’s UNC team, Rashad McCants, idolizes Wallace. It made me sad to hear this, as I feel sorry for all the negative press that McCants is getting and feel that he is a good soul deep down. He is still just a young man, but a man with huge promise if he can control his expressions of frustration. He is much more talented than Wallace, in my opinion, and can go further if he gets it together. He has made so much progress since last year, his play is more team-directed and he seems to have bought into the system at UNC. Despite this, the press continue to talk about him at every game and constantly analyze his every facial expression and his "attitude". I wish they would just leave him alone and let him do what he does best.

So, anyway, I asked the man from Fuddruckers if he was holding his own baby, as I couldn’t tell if it was a boy or girl. He said that the baby was going to be his "monster". "He is only 2 months old and already weighs 26 pounds!" Wow! He went on to tell me that the son is named Brandon and that he had wanted to give him a middle name that started with "I" so that he could call him BIG, as his family name is Givens. His wife had talked him out of the scheme, but now she was feeling that he might have been right to name the child BIG. I never did remember to ask the name of the man with whom I had the conversation, and I also forgot to reintroduce myself. By this time, my food was ready, so I said good-bye to Mr. Givens and BIG and went to eat my stuffed grape leaves, hummus, raita, and chicken and beef kabobs with a Greek salad. The food was excellent and I ate heartily.

Afterwards, I went to the grocery store and bought materials to make a pumpkin pound cake for my dear friend Monica who worked as a receptionist for my doctor about 20 years ago. She soon left that practice and when I started visiting my current dentist, I found Monica working for him! I have only seen her every six months or so for the past 10 years or more, but she is a special soul. Tomorrow is her last day at the dental office as she is getting married soon and will be moving to Columbus County, NC. Tomorrow is also my appointment for a dental exam. I will get to see Monica one last time and plan to take a pumpkin pound cake in her honor or her marriage and departure.

Part of my issue with HIV is extreme fatigue. I can usually go for a few days in a row without taking an afternoon nap, but I have to really push myself and then I usually end up crashing in a severe way, either getting sick or sleeping for a full day. Today, I ended up back in bed by 4 and slept until about 7, even after having slept until 11 A.M. I dislike the fatigue because it keeps me from doing things that I want to do and I end up scheduling my day around it. I usually sleep about 14-16 hours a day, so today was right on par. I have been overdoing it in the past few weeks, and need to listen to my body more effectively.

After my nap, my friend James called up and offered to bring over dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day, so I agreed. We ate pasta and watched "Cold Mountain" on DVD. At one point during the movie, my mom called to tell me that she had received my flowers, a bouquet of locally grown tulips. She then went on to tell me how she had gone to the vet’s office to pay the bill for Boston’s illness and that she asked if his body had been picked up by the cremation society yet. They told her that he was still there, but that he was in the freezer. She asked to see him and she petted him, and got a chance to say good-bye to his body, so she was feeling better.

This, of course, broke me up, and I was struggling not to let her know. I imagined her saying good-bye to her little friend and how his cold body must have felt as she petted him. I struggled through the rest of our conversation and then went back to watch the movie. Of course, me being me….I was soon sobbing and James had to comfort me until Renée Zellweger appeared as "Ruby" and I marveled at her performance.

Cold Mountain touches me deeply each time I watch it. It is supposed to be set in North Carolina and Virginia, but it was actually filmed on location in Romania. I was amazed to see how much Romania resembles my home state. The story conveys vividly the ravages of the US Civil War on those who fought, as well as on those who stayed behind to tend the farms and homeplaces. In doing my family research over the years, I have found that just about every single family that had sons from 1825 until 1840 lost at least one son and often more in the war. I had thought that my own family was not touched by the war, but that turned out not to be true at all. In my great-great-great grandfather’s family, two of the four sons were killed in action in Virginia. Other family members who deserted the Confederate army were buried upside down and backwards thirty years after the end of the war. You can’t seem to escape the fate of war.

When the movie ended, James went home and I was left to write my thoughts on another day while waiting the time to take my last pills before bedtime. I felt honored by the conversation with Mr. Givens and his son. I felt emotionally moved to talk with my mom. I guess it has been a good day, all in all…full-spectrum living, as it were.



Blogger amy said...

i'm always amazed at the seeming randomness of who might be reading my blog...but i suspect it's not so random after all. who knows what hidden messages we might find in the writings we stumble across?

i'm enjoying your blog (and i found the post about putting church flyers in the recycling bin ;). I moved here-an hour from the real cold mountain-from chapel hill/carrboro.

and out of curiosity, as a fellow aries, when is your birthday?

2/15/2005 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Ron Hudson said...

Hi Amy!

I am a baby of the 26th of March! Welcome to my blog. I am thrilled to have a reader!

I love Chapel Hill, by the way. I am a UNC grad, class of 1981...

Take care.


2/15/2005 06:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ron! I'm a friend of Amy's, and have been enjoying your blog this morning. My husband is an Aries, and his birthday is also March 26th. Funny!

2/19/2005 08:31:00 AM  

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