Of all of the most dreaded contingencies of life, being ill while on vacation isn’t the worse thing that can happen to someone, I suppose. I mean, it’s certainly not as bad as being told by a doctor that you have a rare disease that will prohibit you from ever eating cheese again. It’s not as bad as being forced to watch reality TV all day, or even worse...C-SPAN. But as someone who has been sick almost from the day that I arrived on the sun-splashed shores of Webb Lake, I am here to tell you that it IS worse than most things.
Yesterday it got so bad I had to drive myself to the Farmington Medical Center. I was prepared to write a snarky piece about my experiences in what I was sure would be some rundown backwoods hospital. I had even come up with a name for the place…the Farmington Medical Center/ Book-Emporium/ Late-Night Car Wash, etc.. But I was pleasantly surprised to find the place to be a first-class facility with courteous, competent employees who all seemed devastated that I was here on vacation and had gotten sick. They were even more devastated to tell me that I had the mother of all colds, a venomous brew of bronchitis and sinusitis that would require high powered antibiotics and strong cough medicines. Today I sleep-walked through the day. But tonight I’m screwing on a happy face and taking the family to the Kawanhee Inn for a lovely dinner which for me will be tasteless. Afterwards, as is our tradition, we will pose for a photograph on the beautiful deck that overlooks this great lake. When you see it, you will not be able to tell that I am sick. But every time I look at it for the rest of my life, I will remember the endless coughing, no appetite, sleep-deprived, getting up to pee 5 times a night because of the stupid medicine I was taking ordeal that this week has been.
Today at lunch Vi walked up to the table all excited to tell us that they had in fact sold the camper for full price to a couple of real nice Christian ladies who were just thrilled to have it. Pam instantaneously burst into tears. Even though she understands what good news this was for them, my wife is a person of huge heart and immense loyalties. When the finality of the transaction was announced, she just was overwhelmed with loss. I feel for her and admire the intensity of her emotion. The next few days will be tough last days, as all “last days” are but we will get through it as a family. It’s what families do. It will be my job for the rest of my life to find a place that will, over time, take up residence in her heart. Nothing will ever replace Dummers for Pam, but a new place that we can call home in July will help us build new memories. Family is all about place, and for Pam this was that place for over 45 years. A new place is waiting for all of us out there somewhere. It’s my job to find it.