Sunday, August 02, 2009
Taking A Personal Inventory
How many Friends do you have? Five?
It's been said that if you require one hand to count the number of true friends you have at the end of your life you're extremely fortunate. If you look at it objectively you're not likely to have more friends than that now.
I'm not talking about friends, remember, I'm talking about Friends, capital F, the ones who you can call at any time for anything without giving it a second thought.
Me? With the recent death of my friend Al I'm left with four.
I typically have two physical exams a year, one in January and another in July.
If it wasn't for TheSpecialOne I would have skipped my July appointment this year. When I woke up Thursday morning, the day before we were to go out of town, I found her gone, but she left a note.
She wrote a note in lipstick on the bathroom mirror, telling me that I had a doctor's appointment that day. One thing you have to say about TheSpecialOne, she doesn't lack style.
I've been seeing the same doctor for 10 years.
Needless to say we've gotten to know each other quite well. He invites me to play golf at his country club a half dozen times, more or less, each year and when I want to buy a good bottle of wine for TheSpecialOne he's the one I call for advice.
We talked for awhile about The Last Road Trip on Thursday, then got down to business.
Are you still smoking Cuban cigars?
So, you've given up smoking dope then?
Oh, no, I'm still smoking dope.
Have you cut back on either one?
What else have you been using?
I was eating mescaline while we were on the road.
Is that all?
We went through a few ounces of Peruvian flake.
While we were on the road, or since I last saw you?
Since you were last here.
Oh, yes, ok. Hash, nitrous oxide, ether, Alkyl nitrites and jimson weed tea
Alprazolam, Diazepam, Lorazepam, Methaqualone and Carisoprodol.
Is that all?
Why, is there something else you'd like me to try? Ho Ho
I take it you're still drinking?
What have you been drinking?
I wasn't drinking this morning.
What have you been drinking since you were last here?
Let's see, beer, Bourbon, Scotch, tequila, rum, vodka, absinthe, brandy, gin, wine, champagne and moonshine.
I have a friend...
Moonshine, yes. Anything else?
That's all I can think of.
I don't know how you do it, he said while looking at my chart, you're healthier than patients I have who eat nothing but healthy food, exercise religiously and don't smoke or drink. You're a freak of nature.
By the time we got to the end of the appointment he told me, as he has so many times before, this is going to catch up with you.
My reply was simple: It might be catching up with me, but I'm not looking back to find out.
There was one more piece of unfinished business I needed to take care of whose time had come. I hadn't updated my will for a little over two years.
I should have done it when I bought Shangri-La, but I've been busy with work.
Losing Al, of course, got me thinking about the will. There were also things I had specified to go to him that I needed to redirect.
The attorney I have handle my personal affairs is in Pittsburgh. I was originally referred to him by TheMasterBaiter (they'd gone to law school together) and I've been working with him for about 25 years.
It's been great being back in Pittsburgh. I wish I had time to go to Steelers training camp at St. Vincent College, but I have to get back to Black Squirrel Run tomorrow.
These photographs, you may have guessed, were shot at Black Squirrel Run.
Stargazer Lillies are one of my favorite flowers, the fragrance is glorious. I only wish they were in bloom longer, but, at the same time, the limited amount of time you have to enjoy them makes Stargazers that much more special.
Photographs by Kilroy_60