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.

4 Responses to “Reluctant operator”

  1. 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.
    Paul

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

  3. Nice bit of writing.

  4. 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.

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