driving day!

Took Sam out today. I was only available in the afternoon, when he’s already tired, so we were only out for an hour 1/2. Drove up to his house in Putney – past “the red house” (which is now a pale yellow) and looked things over. Sam wishes “someone would take an interest in the yard”, but then shrugged his shoulders. What can he do? He’s more philosophical in a real way about stuff like that than anyone else I know. Just accepts things as given. We cruised down the Gustafson’s driveway to take a look at the new skylight (they weren’t home).
Then we headed into “downtown Putney” via the Putney School. Sam wanted to check out the new art building, and he never misses an opportunity to explain that 80% of the school’s students lose their virginity in the barn. 🙂 Once in Putney, we pulled into the town hall parking lot to check out the new war memorial, dedicated last November. Sam’s name is the first one under the Korean Conflict. We also checked out Wayne Austin, POW, WWII, who apparently still hangs out at the Putney General Store with his coffee every morning.
For dinner, Sam had Burger King french fries. A large. With ketchup. 🙂 Barbara dropped in with breakfast muffins; she was off to a Yellow Barn concert. I’m not sure if that was with the woman she’d just run into who lives in Marlboro and travels a lot for SIT (but whose name she couldn’t remember in the moment, smile), or another friend. I might have missed the change in subject.
Sam’s room is currently festooned with balloons and cards from his recent birthday. There is a gorgeous new piece of art from Phil and Lorraine with the ABC’s of Sam and several wonderful photos. Also toys out the gazoo! Lee may have had something (a lot?!) to do with that. 🙂
His speech is getting harder to understand. It’s more marked when he’s tired, of course. We complicated matters by insisting on having the windows down while we were driving around – which led to some interesting conversational twists and turns. 🙂 I had to ask for repetitions many times, and once quipped about having fun playing detective. 🙂 Sam laughed. Keeping it light helps. Being patient, listening hard, slowing down the internal clock, and repeating back what one thinks he said seems to help. Otherwise his health seems ok, although he was in the hospital Monday to drink some barium (“tastes like chalk”) so they could take some pictures of his esophagus. We didn’t quite finish that conversation but I think it’s relating to him having some trouble with swallowing. He’s a bit more slumped than before also. Today, after the drive, he was slumped to the left in his chair, but usually he says he slumps right. That ol’ cerebellum is just checking out a wee bit more all the time. It’s surprising to me how much of the physical can deteriorate without a corresponding lapse in the mental. He is still sharp as a whip and funny as a stand-up comic.
I’d say all indicators are good that he’s still gonna be around for the long haul. 🙂 I told him about dad’s recent car accident and the stroke he had a month ago; Sam told me about going to a funeral last week, Jack Wallace, his former boss at The Experiment in International Living. Although it seems like we ended on a down note, I don’t think that’s accurate. Sam was thrilled to get out for even a short time and check out things in his beloved Putney. Sharing news about what’s important is just what Sam does with any and all of his friends. I sure feel blessed to be among them. 🙂

2 thoughts on “driving day!”

  1. stephanie,
    Thanks so much for getting this to me. it makes me realize how much I miss the old homestesd with sam always there to talk.
    Please wish him a belated happy Birthday, and, that i hope to visit some day.
    Please pass along that it may be awhile, as my step-daughter has leukemia(now in remission), but is ill will the side effects of all of the chemo and such.
    Tell him that i think of him often, and miss him very much.
    Thanks again, jean

  2. Some news from the Bisbees: Emily has “a badly damaged mitrial valve” that has complicated her heart problems but they recently got a proper rhythm reestablished via a cardioversion.
    Meanwhile, Jennifer is off to visit China!

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