• James Eric Fristad

News is Good. Kinda.

That happier part of things is that we made it to Lisbon and that, as cruises go (curmudgeon that I am about that pastime), it was a good one. We left fairly efficiently and more quickly than most of our fellows who were standing there while the helpful Manuel wheeled Michele to the head of the line, past customs, and halfway to the train station. Woohoo.

But wait, I have given it away, the nexus/crux item that has come along...the rest of the news that overshadows all else.

Michele's hip began generating excruciating pain about the time we arrived at Miami. It did not improve as we desperately hoped; in fact it worsened as the days passed. Remember the "pain scale" in your doctor's office, with little cartoon faces, #1 being a classic smiley and #10 a writhing wretch? Much of the time it's a #9 for her, these days. But only when moving.

Uh huh, that's nice.

With apologies for lousy clarity in this video, I did need to include it. Because there goes our Oceania Riviera, that fuzzy lit-up object sailing with its gaggle of cruise folk aboard, on towards its next major port which is Barcelona. And here we are in our third-floor apartment with a view, Michele and I, overlooking that grand sailaway and feeling sad that this is our end as travelers to this neck of the world. Sadder than sad, in truth. Because even though this is exactly the apartment we planned for in Lisbon, and is comfortable even beyond what I'd pictured, it wasn't supposed to be our last view of Europe. But it looks as though on Friday we will fly from Lisbon to Frankfurt, and Saturday sometime we will continue nonstop to Denver. Whence to Boise and into somebody's SUV to return us to Nampa. All sorts of lurking medical/orthopedic appointments will be radiating out from there, and decisions will need to be made about stuff. Probably part of that stuff will be surgical.

I am adding this soft and dreamy artwork on stretched cloth from the dining room wall by my right elbow, in this rented place, here, because the composition is peaceful. And you see, I cannot quite offer peaceful prose right now. Some of you dear ones have an inkling of how long this travel-artifact has been morphing, percolating, reimagining, possibly improving as the months and years have passed. So my mind at this moment is ping-ponging between being wrathful at Hamlet's cursed spite on the one hand, and sliding into an abyss of incredible (to me) sorrow on the other hand.

More prayer invited, now more wisely than before.

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