Friday's Weekend Column
A Touch of Summer Heat

by James Glaser
April 30, 2004

First off I would like to thank all the people that sent their prayers for Charmaine and me. This week it was in the 80s for one day and every plant in the garden started to pop through the soil. Right now, just this minute as I was typing this, I killed my first mosquito of 2004. Could that be an omen of a bad bug year?

I had to revamp Charmaine's room again so that I could get to both sides of her bed. She is now what you would call bed-ridden. She can still sit up with help and for sure she has not lost her sense of humor.

Every night she yells out for me to come help pull her up in bed as she slides down and gets in an uncomfortable position. This usually happens about 4 am and I stumble down the stairs, get her moved and we talk for awhile. This is usually the time that the Raccoons come to clean out the bird feeder right outside her window and we watch our version of Wild Kingdom.

Wednesday night she never called and I woke at 9:30 and I couldn't hear anything. I came down stairs and Charmaine was lying there with her mouth kind of open and her eyes were half open. Right away I thought she had died in the middle of the night and that is why she never called to me. I knew it was over nine hours since I had gone to bed and Charmaine hadn't slept nine hours in a row for several years now.

I walked over to her, I couldn't see her blankets move from breathing and I got real close and whispered, "Charmaine," her eyes popped open and she smiled as she asked if the coffee was done. She was breathing hard like she had been holding her breath for a while as I got closer.

I don't know if she was playing with me or not as she claimed she had no idea of what I was talking about when I asked. If she was, she really got me.

People keep coming over and bringing food. Charmaine can't eat much at all, mostly broth, thin soup, or mashed potatoes and not much of any. So it is up to me to pig out so those people don't feel bad. I keep telling everyone that she can handle fudge and chocolate chip cookies, but nobody believes me.

Every spring for the past ten years living out here at the lake, Charmaine took charge of the flower gardens and I did the vegetables. Really we both shared the work on everything, but she picked new flowers and I got to try new vegetables. This year is a lot different and it sure isn't as much fun.

A couple months ago I had Charmaine sitting at the kitchen table planting seeds in peat pots and now I am out planting them in the greenhouse. It is still too cold to plant flowers so we have some pretty nice sets all ready to go. I describe to her everything I am doing. I know it isn't the same, but it is the best we can do.

BACK to the Essays.