Who’s On First? (audioblog at bottom)

Here’s a typical conversation between Bud and Jan:
Bud: I saw Dorothy at the store and she says Hi!
Jan: You know I can’t eat that.
Bud: What do you want to eat?
Jan: Why did you buy pie?
Bud: You want some pie?!? You can’t eat that!
Jan: I don’t want that!
Bud: Well then, why did you say you did?
Jan: BUD!
Bud: WHAT?!?

A variation on this is where I sit in the middle chair and they each sit on a sofa on either side of the 10 foot wide living room and they are each talking to me.

Bud: Your mother doesn’t like it when I go to town. She doesn’t like being left alone anymore.
Jan: I wish Bud would go get some of those summer squash at the farm.
Bud: It makes me nervous thinking about how I’m going to go get groceries this winter. (A trip to the store is a minimum of 2 hours. Usually 3 because Bud plays the lottery and he always hand picks the numbers and laboriously fills out each slip.)
Jan: It makes me nervous when Bud drives after dark and it gets dark so early in the winter.
Me: You both sound like you make each other nervous sometimes…
Bud: WHAT??
Jan: She said, "She would be nervous if you were driving, too."
Me: I didn’t say that.
Jan: That’s what I heard.
Bud: (whispering, with humor) Your mother makes stuff up.
Jan: I do not.

MomThere’s a fair amount of yelling that goes on up at Lost Loon Lodge, not because they’re fighting, but because they can’t hear each other. Sometimes it’s clearly selective deafness. Same with my mother’s vision. She complains a lot about losing her vision and worries constantly about when she "will be blind." She has macular degeneration but there is a narrow tunnel in which she sees very well because she says things such as: "Anderson Cooper looks like he got a haircut since yesterday" and, "Bud, there’s a fuzzy over there on the floor."
Bud: "What? You want me to rub your feet some more?" (and a whispered aside to me: "Your mother and her damn fuzzies.")
Jan: "I heard that. Yes, rub my feet."

Recently there was one big bone of contention. This is part of the ongoing saga entitled, "If I go first…" A few weeks ago I wrote about how my mother was chipper during a phone call because she and the neighbors had gone to town to Affordable Funerals, paid their 1,000.00 and made arrangements for cremation within 48 hours of dying. But she was feeling her ongoing irritation with Bud who has long had plans to turn the land into a private cemetery and be buried there at Gratiot Lake. Bud has some really visceral negative response to cremation and although he’s been agreeable with my mother’s wishes he’s been adamant about his plans. My mother has had no spirit of compromise on this, on the grounds that if Bud goes first she’ll be left with the hard task of picking out a casket and making funeral arrangements alone. Which, of course, wouldn’t happen since we would all be there just as fast as Mesaba Airlink can fly.

She badgered and wheedled and fussed and finally Bud caved in, drove to Affordable Funerals and plunked down his 1,000.00 for cremation. While I was up there they both showed me their papers plus my mother had me proof read her obituary. Shades of Six Feet Under.

Then we watched the The McLoughlin Group, Anderson Cooper, Frontline, Hardball and my mother’s new favorite: Iron Chef America.  I knit two pairs of socks and a baby sweater, took over the cooking for a couple days and moved summer and winter clothing around in the closets.

Bud and I went out and looked for the eagles and we also found that the snowSbunting buntings had arrived en masse. We don’t get these darling birds down here so I was delighted but my mother and Bud point out that for inexplicable reasons they fly into cars and they are, of course, harbingers of winter.

My mother barely gets from room to room without running out of gas and Bud manages to seal the decks, both upstairs and down, repair the chimney all the way and hoist the dock for the winter. He does all the cooking and cleaning and bathing and he is almost always in good and humorous spirits with my mother. His patience knows no bounds.

And so it goes. They love each other. They love their cats, their loons and eagles, their lake and their home.

At the airport he waited until my plane taxied off the runway, watching through the window and waving but before that, while waiting in the tiny terminal he talked about how much he loved my mother and his children and how much he thought it was good for my mother that I came up and kept her company. And he said, "You know, I’m damn sure going to outlive your mother. I paid that thousand dollars just to make her happy. But I’m damn sure not going to be cremated." I said, "I hear you, Bud."

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22 responses to “Who’s On First? (audioblog at bottom)

  1. Bud and Jan sound a lot like what I know will be conversations between me and hub in 15 years. We have trouble hearing even now; although he says I have selective hearing and I say he has selective sight (if it has boobs – he’ll see it). They are both lucky, though, as it sounds like they really love each other and that is very important when you are old. (Not that it isn’t important when you are young….I’m just saying……..)

  2. Bud and Jan sound a lot like what I know will be conversations between me and hub in 15 years. We have trouble hearing even now; although he says I have selective hearing and I say he has selective sight (if it has boobs – he’ll see it). They are both lucky, though, as it sounds like they really love each other and that is very important when you are old. (Not that it isn’t important when you are young….I’m just saying……..)

  3. Vicki, I always love your posts, but sometimes they feed my heart. This was one of those. Jan and Bud’s love story transcends any romance between the Young and the Lovely that I can think of. I’m glad you can go up there as often as you do. I know how happy it must make them. Will you still be able to get up there when winter comes?

  4. Vicki, this sounds like supper at our table with Mom, Dad, sometimes Nyssa and me. It strikes a real cord tonight as I just got back from the hospital. I stayed today while Dad came home and slept. The pump with medication for pain is going for her. But when Dad hears “every 10 minutes” he thinks she absolutely, positively has to push the button every ten minutes, not that “every 10 minutes is the shortest time limit, any more often will not deliver the meds.” So he wakes her up to make her push the button.

    I had her back to a resonable state but just a little fuzzy still by this evening. They sat there having totally tangent conversations, each thinking the other was talking about something else. Then Dad comes out with…”I didn’t know what renal was so…”, she interrupts with “Renal? Renal is part of your hiney!” Then she launched into a description of the wall, “The clock is on the floor and that box thing looks like a drain and I am floating above the clock.” At this point I just couldn’t do anything else but laugh. Yes the pain meds at work, you are for sure floating.

    Tonight. Strict instructions…try to go 45 minutes without pushing the button. DO NOT WAKE HER UP TO PUSH IT. Don’t make a list of the time you pushed it. If it hurts and you can’t take it or it wakes you up, push the button. No need to be “renal” retentive about it. This pump has got to go.

  5. How did you get to be such a good listener?

  6. My parents are getting there. What a wonderful relationship and couple. (mine too–but only my dad is hard of hearing)

  7. My parents are getting there. What a wonderful relationship and couple. (mine too–but only my dad is hard of hearing)

  8. Ditto to everything said above. The romance is too sweet for words (and so your musical choice was exquisite).

    Do you see Lu and I like this in 40 years?

  9. Hi Vicki, Michele sent me. This is my first visit but it won’t be my last. Lovely prose and lovely pictures, thank you for this window into part of your life.
    (and your mum, she reminds me of mine!)

  10. oh my god. they sound like my parents. I’m so glad you wrote this. I can’t write about it on my own blog because my parents read it. lol

  11. What a touching story, Vicki! When I grow up, I want Mr. Goldie and I to be like Bud and Jan… not like my perfectionist, pushy, bossy parents! (sorry, I just had to vent)

  12. I loved this story, Vicki! Can I go with you to this far away place where they live next time?

  13. what astoundingly vivid word pictures you paint! i can see them in their dear house and hear their voices as they dance the same verbal dance in endless variations. it cannot help but make me smile. thank you for painting this lovely little vignette! blessings

  14. what astoundingly vivid word pictures you paint! i can see them in their dear house and hear their voices as they dance the same verbal dance in endless variations. it cannot help but make me smile. thank you for painting this lovely little vignette! blessings

  15. As always, beautifully rendered. And fricking hilarious.

    Now I’m feeling all warm and gooey inside.

  16. Hi Vicki, I hopped over from Raehan’s place after reading your comment and finding 3 of my favorite litte words: Iron & Wine.
    What a beautiful post. I love the dialog and how you mentioned proofreading your Mom’s obituary. It doesn’t get any more real than that. You sound like you have very loving family with just the right amount of comedy mixed in. I knew before I got to the end of reading your post that your Audioblog song was likely going to be Naked As We Came. So perfect.

  17. Another eloquent paean to Bud and Jan, and richly deserved. You are one heckuva writer/observer. I can see a TV show in this, for some strange reason: “The Old Folks at Home and Their Comedic Hearing.”

  18. Wonderful storytelling, Vicki. You capture the love between your parents so beautifully. Gorgeous song, too. I’d not heard of Iron & Wine before, but will look for more of their music.

  19. Gosh, I just love how you write. It’s very rare that I come here to read and leave without a smile on my face. Even your more heartfelt or sad posts have a warmth and grace to them that just makes me feel good. Thanks for making me smile with this one tonight.

  20. Wow. I felt like I was right there, sitting on your shoulder. Amazing. Vicki, damn, you can write! What a great legacy of Bud and Jan you are creating for them.

    Bud may well outlive your mother– but all of us will mourn them both when they pass.

  21. This was a beautiful post. The love you have for your mother shines through in each word. Both Bud and your mother are lucky to have you in their lives.

  22. Wow, you left me speechless. Your writing and what you write about both speak to my heart and spirit. Don’t stop. :o)

    Loved the song…

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