Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A trio of news announcements: 2 bad/1 good.

We had a small barbecue/party in our beloved courtyard on Saturday with about 25 people. It was suppossed to have included croquet, but we never got around to it. It was nice, but the evening was tempered by a series of announcements from friends we hadn't seen in awhile. Bombshell #1 came from a sapphic couple who told me upon arrival that they were breaking up, but amicably, or at least amicable enough to still live in the same house and come to the party together. It was a major bummer since they've been together a long time, (at least 11 years I think) and I like the both of them very much. It makes parties and get togethers so complicated when a couple you like breaks up and you have to continually worry about showing equal affection for both, (if you like both of them). The news didn't make me very happy.

Bombshell #2 came from my friends who had twins 15 months ago after years of trying to get pregnant and ultimately having to go the fertility specialist route in order to conceive. Well, as it frequently happens, they're pregnant AGAIN and due next May which means they'll have three children under the age of two! They weren't trying to get pregnant and not undergoing any sort of fertility treatments, so it was a bit of a surprise for them. It also means, they'll have to get a bigger house and will probably end up having to move from Wallingford to further afield in order to afford a larger house. Obviously, this is happy news but still pretty surprising. At this point in the evening, after all these bombshells had filtered throughout the party, (no one stood up and announced anything; it was all done relatively low-key), it was natural for several people to nervously joke, "uh-oh; what't the third bombshell going to be?" One person even worried that since we'd had a breakup and a birth, the only thing left, was DEATH! There was a lot of nervous tittering, but even people that aren't very superstitious tend to get creeped out by the possiblity of the theory of three things happening in a row. But, it was still a good party, mainly conversational in tone and most of the guests were gone by 10pm, (we started at 3pm) and the residents at my complex stayed up to midnight or so, chatting and drinking in the courtyard. (Note to Sawyer: thanks for the tequila, but it gave me a wicked headache the next day...)

Well, cut to the next day, (actually the next evening) and several of us who were at the party get an email from the expectant mom with the twins I mentioned in the above paragraph. Her husband's mom, Joyce, who many of us had met when she had visited them in the past, had just passed away in Reno from complications from emphysema.

Yeah, we were a little creeped about by the coincidence and those of us who had met Joyce were sad that she was gone. She was an interesting lady, to say the least. A tough Nevadan who had worked in "juvie" and at age 80 was still working part-time in a cocktail lounge in Winnemucca, she could be best described as an American original; one of those people that you'll never get out of your head. I only met her on a couple of occassions, but I immensely enjoyed our competitive Scrabble game and frequent smoke breaks together because you always got a fascinating running commentary on her sardonic views of the world told in a whisky and smoke tinged voice that would rank up there with Bea Arthur, Elaine Stritch and Marge Simpson's sisters, Patty and Selma. The last time I saw her in May, she chewed me out for not saying hello to her upon my arrival, but forgave me and we had a nice chat/ciggie break outside her grandson's first birthday party. When I remarked that her son's family would have to move soon due to their rapidly expanding family, she replied, "Yeah, they need to get out of this little crackerbox (or was it rattrap?) and find something bigger..."

My condolences to her family and a toast to Joyce Olay!

(The image is a painting called Triplet Redux and I found it at this website:


Steven Blum said...

Michael, this was a lovely note. I am trying to get into a conversation with you on my blog but you are no longer there.

michael strangeways said...

Don't fret, little one...I replied over at your blog.