Rock, Meet Hard Place

Another cold, windy day … I turned the thermostat up first thing … but the poplar leaves have been popping out anyway! It’s one of the best times of the year if you love that particular shade of green, which I do. The sight of them delights me beyond my ability to express, as does the pair of Canada geese that has planted itself on top of the muskrat house next to the dugout and can be seen from the back step. There’s a pair that visits early every spring but they don’t nest here, so close to the house; maybe this time they will. How thrilled would I be then, to see a line of fluffy goslings swimming after the parents on the pond. I hope “Goddamn Dog” doesn’t take after them. So far she hasn’t, as they’re on the other side of the water.  I had a giggle the other day as she leapt and twirled after butterflies in flight.

Emil called yesterday afternoon; he was exhibiting the stuffed-nose of a cold and wanted to come out here to rest. “You should stay home,” I said, “instead of spreading your cold around.” But he was adamant; he really wanted to be here instead of there. Why? I said. Because I just do, he said. That’s not a reason, said I; what’s the reason? He couldn’t give me one; he just knew what he wanted — and wanted badly. Finally I asked, Is it that you’re not feeling well and you just want your mom? Yes, he said; is that okay? There’s nothing wrong with that, right?

No, there isn’t anything wrong with that.

Stay there tonight, I told him, and if you’re not well enough to go to work in the morning and still feel you need to be here, phone me and I’ll come and get you. I’d rather you stayed there, but … .

That call just came and I tried again unsuccessfully to convince him he’d be as well off where he is, so I’ll drive in and pick him up in spite of Scott’s fear of his cold. I can’t win in this situation because I’m torn: Scott seems to catch colds easily and they’re intense and last a long time and he suffers and I can’t blame him for not wanting to increase his chances of getting sick. And yet Emil is my six-year-old adult son and he wants to be near his mother when he’s not feeling well and I cannot say no when my child feels he needs me. He may be 28 years old, but he will always be six.


I don’t believe that every time you come into contact with someone who has a cold you’re bound to get it yourself — after all, I live in a small house with someone who has nasty, nasty colds frequently, and I rarely get them. If proximity was the main culprit, you’d think I would.

My fingers will be crossed that Scott doesn’t come down with it. I’ll pick up some chicken thighs when I’m in town and make a hearty garlicky soup with them and hope it boosts the immune systems of both these fellas.


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