It was my first day back after the weekend and that is always cause for celebration. Last week, he was looking forward to Cream of Cauliflower soup. His wife had errands and left me in charge of the large head of creamy, white cauliflower, steaming on very low in the kitchen. Our time is dictated by his body – tired, antsy, or needing the toilet. During one of our activities, I lost track of the time and the water boiled away. I smelled something scorching and raced to the kitchen, averting a fire, but the menu had to change. He was disappointed. Cauliflower is one of his favorite things. Over the weekend, I made a peace-offering with organic whole milk, onions sautéed in garlic olive oil, a perfect head of cauliflower, and roasted red bell pepper chunks to garnish the soup. His eyes lit up when I showed him our lunch.
But first a nap was needed. We settled in his room with a momma cow lowing softly beyond his window. I picked a book from his shelf; his breathing was slow and steady. There is a fascinating place between true sleep and awake. My mind tumbled over words I had just read in Leo Tolstoy’s Wise Thoughts For Every Day. I was in the twilight of half-sleep, where your mind is still monitoring the world at large but with eyes closed you journey down rabbit-holes of musings; drawn to the images and passages my mind was exploring on its own.
Upon waking, he insisted we go out for some fresh air. Lunch could wait, he was determined to sit in the sun. While it was a glorious blue-sky day, the thermometer was fighting to hold 32°. With the wild temperature fluctuations we have seen lately, I hesitated to bundle him up and risk the chill. Of course he won out and we took our slow path down the wide stone steps to the driveway. Unfortunately, that is as far as we got. I could see he was getting weak. “Hold my left side, please!” he commanded. I dragged two lawn chairs to the middle of the black top and sat us down with a blanket over our knees. The UPS delivery truck wasn’t due for a few more hours and anyone else wanting to drive by could detour on the lawn.
At last, his feet were cold and we made our way indoors. I heated up the soup and laid out homemade cheese and dark, flaxseed bread slices. “Thank you! This would be wonderful with a spoon!” he teased from the table. I’d forgotten silverware.
As I cleared the dishes and washed up, he worked his spoon around the wide bowl, savoring every scraped up drop. It was exhausting and I brought his wheel chair to take him to his room for an afternoon nap. For a week we have tried to catch a urine sample. It is next to impossible when one has no warning as to the onslaught of peeing. As I helped him undress for his nap, he gestured to the ever-ready cup and we managed to score a sample. Strange as it sounds, this brought us both great joy, and a bit of a giggle.
It was just an ordinary day with my friend when happiness comes wherever you can find it.