“Oh. I’m exhausted just listening.”
For the past week, I have been in denial of the comment, looking for ways to bend it into the neat bow of a compliment.
Ambitious. Tenacious. Energetic. . . . Exhausting? Really?
Then Saturday came.
I woke up happy: ambitious, tenacious, energetic. My husband lay injured on the couch. (As much as I am quick to tease, he really was injured.)
I made a full breakfast, ate a pancake before cleaning up, and began making homemade Slovenian dumplings with Andrew and Gladys: ambitious.
After a lunch of dumplings (I ate two), we took a break to shovel the driveway. The 12 inches of heavy snow resisted even the most tenacious of mothers, but we finished half of the driveway (enough to release my van) before we set off for the sled hill.
The deep snow required that I carry Gladys on my back for the 100 yards or more through the trees and up to the top of the sled hill. We sledded. I carried her home: energetic.
Between 4:30 and 5:30pm, I warmed Gladys’ p.j.s in the dryer and brought her back to room temperature, made hot chocolate, showered, dressed, and made a quick dinner that my husband was feeding the children as I ran out the door.
I called ahead to apologize . . . 10 minutes late . . . my friends greeted me with a glass of wine at the bar. (I LOVE my friends). Together we walked over to the funeral home to comfort our friend who lost her mother. I feel I should say something here, but there is nothing to say.
After the visitation, a few of us returned to the bar. We ordered wine and appetizers. The conversation followed the expected thread for post-visitation chatter. At that natural lull in conversation, Cate lifted her glass:
“To Casey!” Anna and I lifted ours in humble respect – but with a cheer that could have been interpreted as celebration. Cate and I had met through Casey. Due to her own loss in the Fall, we had never shared our respects together. (The visitation was not Casey's, it was my friend's mother).
“From what I know of Casey,” Anna said, “this is very appropriate.”
“No,” I laughed, “we should be drinking shots to Casey!”
“True. This is far too tame,” Cate agreed with a smile.
“Yes, too conventional, too expected, she’d have a laugh at us.”
We all laughed and followed with our accolades for our lost friend: ambitious, tenacious, energetic - the echo of a eulogy that never was.
We were all surprised when shots appeared at our table. In retrospect, someone must have had heard us. None of us would have actually considered ordering them. (Well, maybe Casey would have.)
I would soon find myself pickled in a way I had not experienced in many, many years. In the next few hours we outlined a multi-million-dollar corporation, reviewed metaphysics, and redefined religion.
The evening ended at an hour more appropriately called morning with that inevitable conversation that ensures safe passage home.
There was no bill.
So, Casey, if you are reading this, thank you for taking us out Saturday night. You are always welcome to stop by. We all had a really nice time. And, we would greatly appreciate it if you would pull up a chair for our friend’s mother who is heading your way. Yes, I know you’ll welcome her. Thank you.
As for the rest of us down here, don’t wait up.
We are too busy being ambitious, tenacious, energetic . . . .
. . . . and, perhaps, a little exhausting.