Reluctant operator

This evening, after driving home two miles from a musicale that happens every Thursday, I noticed Charlie got across the street by himself, despite his near blindness. I always hope he’ll get a Sense of Direction, and he must have a little bit of one, otherwise, he’d be standing by the car waiting for me to steer him across the street to our little abode.

He headed straight for bed. I was still full of music, and Bonnie Simmons was on KPFA, and hell, it’s the solstice time…long days. Long years: 50 years since the 1967 summer of love. In L.A. it was  happening differently–for this twelve-yr old kid, it was radio music and crushes on guys like Eric Feldman (who never stopped his infatuation with music).

The house is warmish from the heat of the day. I go into the bathroom and notice the soap-dish Charlie fab’d about 10 years ago is looking ….coated with soap scum. I took a nearby brush–the writing’s nearly gone, but he’d marked it up: “Charlie’s scrubber”. Hanging above the claw-foot tub is a big 4 gallon bucket which is inscribed on the underside: “C’s nettle-gathering bucket: KEEP CLEAN”.

I soak his soap dish and get it back to beautiful stainless steel with delicate wire-work to hold the soap above the surface which thoughtfully tilts into the 1936 sink.

Everywhere are reminders, written notes which cry: This Is Charlie’s. Do Not Use. Now he can’t read. And I am in charge of maintenance around here. I have to use his things. I rarely rarely go in his sacred machine shop, but today the cleats on my ol Shimano shoes–at least 3 yrs old–need some attention.
The work bench is a mess. I’ve left everything on it, and none of Charlie’s projects (he’d left the fork he was building for me in the central work-spot) remain. All dismantled, except the aforementioned fork which Cameron Falconer carefully completed so I could ride the bike C’d built me that summer when I was at Middlebury learning Japanese….

Anyway, it’s so heavy, all this territoriality that has crumbled and my extreme reluctance to assume the mantle of Boss…

Just had to share this..

~ by jacquiephelan on June 22, 2017.

7 Responses to “Reluctant operator”

  1. Thinking of you with lots of love in my heart, Jacquie.

  2. Thank you for writing and sharing. I hope that you find your burden lighter by sharing it. Caregiving a partner or parent can be exhausting. Take care of yourself. Though we have never met except on-line, I consider both of you to be special people that I care deeply about and am inspired by.

  3. So beautifully and honestly written. Your love and respect for Charlie has always been clear.

  4. Nice bit of writing.

  5. What a turn your lives have taken. I lost track of you for awhile but found you again, WordsWoman. When I think of Charlie I recall how we always found him in his shop and how he would smile sweetly at me and without saying a word telegraph “I know you’re Jacquie’s friend but you’re really interrupting me here”. I think he will always be soulfully rooted in that shop, whether he ever sets foot in there again or not.

  6. Beautifully written, although I am sorry to hear about Charlie’s blindness. This reminds me of Madeleine L’Engle’s journaling about her marriage and family in the Crosswicks Journals. Maybe there’s a book in this somewhere about love and life.

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