I’m back…sort of

Waiting for Life as We Know It to Return

I used to have a life, but it was rudely interrupted to have a hysterectomy, instead.  Too long delayed, I finally faced reality and scheduled it. 

I dutifully updated all my “what-if” paperwork–medical power of attorney, funeral preferences, letter of intent, medical directives (check out http://www.ncbcenter.org/NetCommunity//) etc.  Fr. Greg visited in his gym clothes the afternoon before the surgery, and ministered reconciliation and annointing for healing. 

It is wondrous how settling the rituals of the church act upon the fearful body, even when the mind is still somewhat rooted in scepticism…but only somewhat.

That night I sang Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus and Requiem with my church choir (St. Louis King of France, Austin) and St. Matthews Episcopal Church choir (Michael Rosensteel, directing), with featured soloists and the orchestra of St. Matthews. 

I had insisted that the surgery be postponed until after the concert, quipping at the time, “It will surely take my mind off what is coming, and concentrate me wonderfully on the eternal.”

The surgery was done the next morning–really, really early the next morning.

Ten days out my doctor says I'm doing “awesome.”  I grumbled that I'd have to redefine “awesome,” but it's good she thinks so.

So, two weeks have gone by, and, mindful not to provide TMI for granddaughter Rachel, I'll leave the convalescence at that.

Jerry has been incredibly patient and helpful, cooking all the meals and tending me night and day, all the while preparing for the P.U.S.H. Camp and Cyclist follow-up, oversing the big church retreat this weekend, and seeing that the piggies receive the abunance of leftover “slop” these occasions provide.

Said piggies are now relocated to the new pen constructed for them near the chicken coop. 

Anyway, at some point last week, lolling around Benedict House in various attitudes of repose, I was seized by the desire for…lobster.  I confessed what was mounting to a craving to Jerry, and he said, “Lobster you shall have.”

So Saturday we drove into our little condo in Austin.  I am walking well but things are still far from normal.  I'd read somewhere that stairs were a nono, but I didn't know for how long, so I devised a very slow crab-walk sideways up the flight of stairs relying almost entirely on foot and leg muscles.

Jerry called our neighborhood favorite, Chez Zee, to see if they could accommodate the lobster craving.  Sorry.  He googled to see the nearest likely source and came up with Trulucks on Great Hills Trail. 

It being SBSW season in Austin, we figured we'd better get there early so we headed over about 5:30.

We were seated right away and ordered wine.  The waitperson visited with us and I cut right to the chase.  Yes we were celebrating a special occasion, and my dinner was to consist of lobster.

Shortly arrived our salads (Jerry said it was the “first real Ceasar” he'd had in years, in Austin or anywhere else.)  Mine was equally good.

Jerry ordered the filet, and I the South African lobster tails, of which two large, beautiful ones arrived in due time.

Satisfying a true craving is a wonderful thing!  I could only eat one, but Jerry helped with the other.  We then asked for carry-away containers in order to take all the scraps home…to the piggies.  Yes, even lobster tail shells.

We went back to the condo.  I was exhausted from my first real post-surgical adventure, but also exhilarated.  Dinner had been a memorable experience, totally fulfilling my hopes for the evening (invalidism is such a wretchedly sensory-depriving experience!)  We watched most of a movie we didn't like and I went to bed early while Jer scoured the channels in pursuit of March Madness.

At church, I had the rare experience of sitting with the congregation, but told Jerry beforehand I would not be participating in the “spiritual calesthenics” that typify the Roman Catholic Mass (sit, stand, kneel, and permutations thereof). 

The choir reprised the Ave Verum Corpus and I was in heaven.

Later we went to lunch and hit the road for the long drive back to Down Home Ranch, leftovers from dinner, the condo fridge, and lunch tucked away for the piggies.

Getting close to home, Jerry said, “Taking care of these pigs has shown me that they really do act like…well, swine.  You can't even get the food into their pan before they've overturned everything and trampled it into the dirt and are shoving each other side to get at it.”

One of the Durocs likes our refrigerator leavings

Still, Jerry loves his piggies, but, trust me, there will be no conflict between this affection and his enjoyment some day of a well-prepared pork loin.

We have talked many times with our daughter and son-in-law, who raise all their own meat, and who care for and deeply appreciate their animals right up to the day on which their purpose is fulfilled.

I think about this…a lot.  In a few days I'll load five of my young rams into a trailer and take them to be killed.  A few days after that they will be in our freezers. 

Bryan with ram

I held them when they were babies.  Over the past nine months I've watched them grow from two-pound, curly-headed sprites into 80-pound monuments of ovine masculinity, created from grass.  They are out there in the snow this morning, sparring and bucking, sharing a big bale of hay.

Each of them has a personality I care about as individuals.  When I take them to be killed, I'll feel that familiar twinge. 

It is a … pain I would not feel if I were a vegan, or if I'd purchased my meat at the store. (p 193, Beautiful and Abundant: Building the World We Want, Bryan Welch, author)

I don't know about you, but it's a comfort to me to know that the one into whose hands I shall someday be delivered cares about me.