going, going….

He stands on the front lawn and waves good-bye. He’s dressed in green camouflage shorts and a brown camouflage vest and hat. Binoculars hang from his neck, and the strap of a “base station radio” crosses his chest. He’s ready.
He’s ready for his 5-year old birthday party, which has the military theme that he chose.
He comes from pacifist parents and grandparents, but he just loves all that camouflage and adventure.
He also loves fire engines and police cars with sirens. He loves rescue ambulances and helicopters, and big rigs and recycling trucks. And his room is filled with miniatures of all of those.
I am leaving before the kids arrive for his party. We had a small family celebration for him a day ago, and I have to get back to my mother, who has sobbed on the phone to me each of the two nights during which I have been here “respiting.”
Last evening, before he went to bed, we sat together on the couch and watched the movie Cars. Earlier in the day I sat in the dappled shade in front of the house and read Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story. No doubt about it — King knows how to twist a tale. It was hard to put down the book and go in for supper, which my daughter prepared and my son-in-law cleaned up after. All I had to do was sit down and eat. Ah! What a luxury!
Earlier that day my grandson gave me a tour of the gardens. “Tha’ts Cleome”, he says as he points to some plant that has not yet flowered. “That’s Seedum,” he informs me, “and that’s a Butterfly Bush.” He identifies the Day Lilies and counts them as we walk by….”Fifteen,” he says. “We have fifteen Day Lilies over here, and there are more over by the fence.” He wants to be a landscaper. Or a road worker.
I’m tired after the long drive back to where I live. But before she goes to bed, my mother wants to dance. And so she leads me around the small living room in a perfect Polka. She doesn’t always remember where her bedroom is, but she never forgets how to Polka.
Before I go to sleep I will read more of Lisey’s Story.
I wouldn’t be surprised if I stay up until I finish it. It’s not “respite,” but it is an escape.

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