Ages ago, and for many years, my friend Lucia taught at Southern Illinois University, but lived here, and went back and forth. Her husband Jim stayed here as his job is in Seattle. She got to know various people, some of whom I met either there or here. One noteworthy summer I went to Australia, came back, did my laundry, and the next day flew to Carbondale with L - company for her as she settled back in. The trip was first by ordinary jet then by wee tiny jet, and a friend of hers picked us up at the (tiny) airport and took us to the house L had bought in a shady sidestreet of that sleepy town.
We went to a faculty party at someone-or-other's house. Mostly in the garden, it was, with humidity of the milky sky variety. I have a vague memory of something blown by the sudden wind into the swimming pool, a brief but violent storm, meeting Paul, a child or two. Lucia took me all over including a funny student bar with 25 cent beer (blecch), to her office, to university galleries and the bookstore, on a woodland hike (it was too hot and humid to enjoy the jaunt), to an old school from institutionalised segregation times that had been reworked into an interesting arts place, and many other places.
She introduced me to Dave and Rachel, who raised llamas and lived in a nice farmhouse on a rural lane. They took us out on a boat trip at night, and we swam and drank beer and looked at things. That was fun. Some years later Dave, who had always been perfectly healthy and fine, had some kind of symptoms that led his doctors to operate. The surgeon cut into a vascular tumor, causing Dave to nearly bleed to death. They hastily zipped him up again but because the bleeding was in his spine he became an instant paraplegic. That was, I think, 7 years ago.
Lucia remarked how strong Dave's will to live was. No matter what, and beyond the point we - she and I - might've packed it in, he struggled on, relishing life when there wasn't a bad problem bringing him down, like say, intense pain. The bad problems of pain and so on, the critical issues, were solved, and Dave went on. The doctors gave him far fewer years than seven. In part due to his own nature, but also because of Rachel's attention and a degree of financial stability that remained even through the medical bills, he was able to go on and on. And loved life, too. He died the day before yesterday.
posted by - 8:59 PM