We are well into the 2nd week of gorgeous summer weather here in Hengelo. For the first time in years, our family is spending the entire summer in the lowlands. Our California adventure was in early May and we were hoping for a nice summer back home. Most of the time we’re in Florida during the two weeks of nice summer weather in the Netherlands, and we return to a premature autumn, around mid-August. Not this year.
The weather has been so hot, the guys doing a bit of remodeling on our house are on a “tropical roster”. This means they begin at 7 am. and down tools by 2 pm. Not a problem. 5 past 2 and it is bikini on and poolside for the rest of the day for me and the dogs. The dogs keep it au naturel, I’m wearing the bikini, just so you don’t get confused.
The past few days have been perfect weather for reading Faulkner. I left off with “The Hamlet” the last warm day of last summer and picked it up recently with “The Town”. You love Faulkner or you hate him. It might help to know that just as one should never attempt to read the Dostoyevsky in winter, Faulkner should only be read on very hot, lazy days with a mint julep or a tall home-brewed iced tea (I’m training this week) close to hand. A little old-school blues in the background is also advisable. May I suggest the following: Etta James, B.B. King, Bobby Bland, a bit of Elmore James (no relation to Miss Etta) would go down a treat too. Faulker reads like music. The music only adds to the atmosphere.
Being a fan of southern literature, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Harper Lee’s “Go Set A Watchman” which finds our girl, Scout all grown-up and headed back home to Maycomb for a visit. So eager in fact that I broke one of my cardinal rules and read some of the pre-release publicity. If the Huffpo (source of all truth and wisdom, I’m sure you’ll agree) is to be believed, Atticus is a racist. I was glad I was sitting down for that. Of course the Huffpo is notoriously lacking in the journalistic quality of nuance, so I am hoping that Miss Lee didn’t present Atticus in such (ahem) black and white terms. Looking forward to downloading the book on the 14th. Eula and the Major will just have to wait a bit while I’m busy at the Finch’s a little further north of the Delta.
When it gets too hot to read outside, I’m hitting the summer sales online, baby! Books and protein powder and new Crossfit gear, cute summer slingbacks that don’t hurt my feet, new bedlinen…..
All this reading and shopping is a distraction. I’ve had something heavy on my mind.
Someone I know had brain surgery on Friday to remove a malignant tumor. It was one of those things that came up out of nowhere and turned out to be serious trouble.
What do you do? Where are the etiquette guides to tell you how to behave when you hear this news?
Truth be told, my first instinct was to bake (which I hate to do) and smother the family with food, but this of course, was not necessary. The friend with the tumor is Ms. Organization. Food was covered. So I offered to be available if the family needed any practical help. My friend was going to need a cleaner during the recovery period, I tipped her off to my cleaner, St. Michiel, Defender of the Faithless but that was about as helpful as I could be at the moment.
Like just about everybody else, I’ve got a Facebook account. Mostly I use it to keep up with what’s going on in the lives of my sons and gym-buddies, globally scattered friends and a few wacky relatives. I ‘m not big on posting except for the occasional Crossfit brag or a tune of the day selected from Youtube. A lot of times I forget to post anything at all. About a week or so after her diagnosis, my friend sent me a heads up wondering where “Tune of the Day” went because she really enjoyed those posts. I had no idea anybody really looked at them. There was something I could do to make her feel better and it made me feel better as well. Talk about amazing grace. My friend has it in spades.