Friday, October 20, 2023

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Something More (2005)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) Sugarland's lead singer Jennifer Nettles describes a busy morning that begins with a cup of coffee. Do you start your day with a cup of joe? Never. I hate the way coffee smells. I drink milk in the morning.

2) When she gets home from work, she sings that her house is dirty but says housework can wait until she has a glass of wine. Is there a particular chore on your "to-do" list that you keep putting off? I have a box from the office that I need to go through. Considering I've been retired a year, I think it's time! To be honest, I don't really remember what's in it.

3) The lyrics tell us happiness is something we can create. Do you agree? I think it's true to a large extent. But I also think each of us has to face challenges, and it's okay to not be okay.

4) In the video of this week's song, the members of Sugarland ride along in a vintage Cadillac. Are you one of those drivers who has a nickname for your car? No car.

5) The group hitches a ride in a red truck. The auto insurance industry tells us that Americans favor vehicles in the grayscale colors. Nearly 80% of cars on the road today are white, black, gray or silver. What color is your vehicle? No car.

6) Nettles achieved her dream of performing on Broadway when she took over the role of Roxy in Chicago. What's your fantasy job? Millionaire.

7) She wrote a cookbook with her mom called Sweet, Savory and Simple. When it was originally published, it was spiral bound. That way, it could be laid flat on the counter as the cook tries one of the recipes. How many cookbooks do you own? I believe I still have one around here somewhere. It has a recipe for the perfect fried egg on toast, which I wanted to master for a certain guy I was crazy about. The desire to please him soon passed, but I think the cookbook remains.

8) In 2005, when "Something More" was topping the country charts, Paul McCartney won a People's Choice Award for his concert tour. Do you have any plans to enjoy music performed live between now and the end of the year? Nope.

9) Random question: Who received the most recent compliment you gave? I reminded my former coworker, Rita, that her greatest gift is her enthusiasm. I warned her not to try to be more senior or sophisticated than she is, that her joy in the work makes her stand out in a very good way.

My hero


My favorite-most ball player was named one of the three best first basemen in the American League. He earned this nomination because his defense has been stellar. The metrics bear this out. What these stats don't reflect is that he did this while playing two months with a concussion.

I am so proud of him. Not only for this -- though being one of the league's best first baseman while playing with a concussion is pretty damn big -- but because he remains committed to doing good. His foundation has adopted 100 pediatric cancer patients and through this gift drive will ensure they get what they're wishing for this holiday season.

He's also sponsoring the runners representing CHAM (Children's Hospital at Montefiore) in the New York City Marathon on November 5, and his wife Emily is running along with them.

Appreciate him, New York!

Dekalb derailed

John, Gregory and I planned a trip to Dekalb to see our friend, Kathy. None of the three of us really wanted to do this, but Kathy has been commenting on Facebook that she misses us and is contemplating a trip to Chicago to see us. 

We can't have this. It's an hour by car. 90 minutes by train. Kathy is suffering cognitive decline. She doesn't belong behind the wheel of a car and could easily get off the train at the wrong stop. So we have to go to her.

John and Gregory don't interact with her as often as I do. They don't know that she retains little and angers easily. They don't know that she regularly contacts me using Facebook Messenger and then scolds me for answering her. ("I DO NOT USE MESSENGER!")

Or that she recalls herself as was one of "the first women in Sears advertising." That is so incredibly not true. I had already been there more than a year when she joined the team. There were literally dozens of female creatives there already, several in positions of power. After all, it was 1983, not 1953. John and Gregory know this. They were at Sears before me. But here's the thing: Kathy is not lying. She somehow truly remembers herself as the Sandra Day O'Connor of the Sears Wish Book. I didn't correct her. Her flights of fancy harm no one. It's just disturbing to hear such things.

I did my best to prepare them. Then we made our plans to hit the road.

John's aunt had Alzheimer's, so he consulted his cousin about how best to deal with Kathy. His cousin recommended we make arrangements that Kathy can just insert herself into. And that we have to be firm. It doesn't matter how insistent she is that she pick us up at the train and drive around town, or how angry she may get. While we can't stop her from driving, we don't have to encourage it. We would be Ubering around Dekalb. Period.

So we coordinated trains (I'd be getting on at a different stop) and found a bar blocks away from her apartment. We would meet there for lunch and, if she felt like it, we'd go back to her apartment for a visit. Or we could just linger longer over lunch. Her call. John handled corresponding with Kathy. She's been more than a little in love with him for 40 years -- even though he's gay -- and she's less likely to get snappish with him.

We were set! She told John she was so excited to see us that she cried. That was humbling. I admit that I wasn't thrilled about traveling three hours both ways to have a burger and some awkward conversation. But it was just one day of my life and it was obviously very important to her. It occurs to me that I spend time every week writing to lonely strangers as part of Letters Against Isolation. Shouldn't I be at least that compassionate with a 75-year-old woman I actually know?

Then an unexpected plot twist. Kathy sent John two separate, rambling emails. He isn't sure if she remembered sending the first one. She apologized but said she wasn't certain she could get it together to meet us at a specific time. She suggests that she will be better "in spring" and we should plan on getting together then.

I admit I'm not sorry the trip didn't happen. I try to be patient with Kathy but it's hard. (Just last night we did the tiresome Facebook Messenger dance ... again!) And I guess she's a walking/talking reminder of how fragile we each really are and how easy it would be to lose my independence.

Photo by Marko Mudrinic on Unsplash