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Fixing foods and getting ready

Every year the Prouty family (Jim and Vanessa) hosts a christmas party, which Penny and I would attend, sometimes with stress and hassle (lateness, tiredness, Penny not feeling well but not knowing why from gallstones that we didn't get treated soon enough, or having attacks of the I am Too Fat to be Seen by Humans) and sometimes with no stress and great enjoyment of lights on the way. Well, always a tiny bit of stress because it's a bit of a dress-up, but not to the extent of actually being full-formal, just an excuse to dress nicely. Nevertheless, for over 20 years, it's been a tradition, only skipping once or twice for bad weather or for family losses.

And, last year, Penny was exhausted and sick (we didn't yet know just HOW sick, and we'd gotten a false negative and thought that it wasn't cancer) so we stayed at home and watched a movie and snuggled.

This will be the first Christmas since 1979 that I haven't spent with her, at least for some significant part.
It's the first Christmas since 1976 that I didn't get her a gift. I'm going to the party because she told me to go, although I doubt that I'll stay for the whole thing - I just ... if it triggers, I'm out of there.

I've been fixing some dinner/lunch/whatevers for a friend from church - a different one this time, the wife of the man who was my third Stephen Ministry care receiver, a long-time survivor of Multiple Sclerosis who was finally unable to stay at home, because she had become too frail to care for him properly. I have been spared so much suffering and so much misery, in having this finish quickly.

I just made a batch of peanut brittle, and I'll be heading over to the store, to get some salads, and then to her place, and then to the Prouty party.


Dec. 24th, 2006 09:12 am (UTC)
Flying to Switzerland
The party continued with an excellent story - I had overheard Vanessa's dad, who was a co-pilot for American Airlines (learned to fly a crop-duster at 17, somehow made his way through either military or civilian life into the position of being a co-pilot, and never chose to try for Captain; he claimed that he didn't want to lose his seniority and as the longest rated co-pilot at AA, he could set his own schedules.)

He was talking about flying again. I overheard something about him still piloting. The man is somewhere around 77-78 years old, cannot see across a room, cannot hear normal speech next to him in a quiet room, and forgets things that he is doing, sometimes WHILE he is doing them, often enough to disturb his daughter. She will not ride in a car that he is driving, wisely.

He has taken up with a collection of similar older men, who build airplanes. Two-seater kit-built private airplanes. When asked, "What will you do when you're done with it," the first of the group to complete his plane would answer, "I'm going to fly to Switzerland."

This is, theoretically, possible. For someone who isn't 78 and not yet a pilot. The group of them are doing ground school at Portland Community College... Ralph, Nessa's father, already a pilot but forced to retire at 60, flew 747s, and is the Big Cheese, the Charles Lindberger of his group.
They meet nightly, heading out first to dinner at some incredibly cheap place for which someone has the bargain coupons - it's all about the deal - and then having eaten their tacos, or infinite salad bar, or special chicken bucket special, they head over in the early dark to get to the aviation garage, where they spend a few hours putting rivets into the next person's plane. None of them has left the ground. None of them has gotten as far as the next airport, but as soon as they get their ratings, well, they're flying to Switzerland. But first, the next guy needs to get his two seater kit plane built and running.