February 26, 2009
In The Company of Strangers
My suitcase at the door of the Larkin residence... Pelham Alabama
Post begun in Birmingham Alabama 2-25-09
It’s late and everyone has gone to their appointed beds. I am in this palatial home in the Pelham District of Birmingham, and under the care of the lovely Luedean Larkin, a local real estate broker. She handled the relocation of my new friends, Ray and Linda to Northwest Arkansas home, when Ray was hired by Wal-Mart. Dispite the latest round of layoffs that relocation seems to have been a very positive one.Fortunately the guy has managed to miss the lay off bullet. No doubt our prayers helped.
I was thinking about making this trip before the passing of Annabelle. She was not ill, but I wasn’t sure where I was going to leave her , that question became moot that morning. I called Linda, who waited till I had gotten the chance to make arrangements for the disposal of the remains, and I had a very important job interview that morning,which I had to go to. Woody was coming over to stay with Bella and chose to drive me to Dr Rose's office, where our cats are cared for. She has service for either cremation or burial or outright disposal...Bella is being cremated and her ashes are going into a tiny box. I have her beautiful Pom Pom for remembrance. Dr Rose is Dr Eric's partner. He was in Little Rock where he had driven in the wee hours of the morning to attend a conference. Did this affect Bella's care. I wondered till I spoke to her breeder who confirms she must have had a Corona (Parvo) type virus which is nearly always fatal and if its not can leave a dog disabled and/or debilitated. I am glad she is not reduced to the status of invalid but is free in whatever doggy heaven God provides to them. She deserves to run free, clean and perfectly groomed under the trees in the grass like she did in Louisville when we lived there jumping into angelic golf carts looking for love and treats. She is smiling down at me and wants me to go on. These ladies I have been surrounded with have loved on me with words of comfort like this, my pastor has contacted me... my cousin and a number of friends have been wonderful.
Woody went in and cleaned up the bloody bathroom, took out her crate, clothes,blankies, toys, beds, threw away her chews and dumped bowls and such, I will run everything that can be kept through an sanitizing wash. I will have the carpets cleaned and such. He said the smell of death (like a meat market after Katrina)permeated the house and now it is aired out. I am grateful to him for doing that. He said the worst moment was going to the trash and seeing the waste and all of the pads that were soiled, "how did she live even as long as she did?" he wondered. I know she was brave to the end, and fought like a trooper.
The job interview went very well and I have a lot of hope that I will get that job. I had really sold myself to the HR lady and she seemed pleased at me, I was interviewed by a VP and three team leaders. Maybe I will get this one. I will have a long drive, nearly 40 miles one way, but I dont care, life must go on and the going takes employment. The people seemed very nice.
Linda and I left for Birmingham about noon its 600 miles... from there to here...I missed the tiny furry traveler that had made the last journeys of this magnitude with me. Linda is a saint, she let me cry on and off, and we shared stories and dreams. She is a survive like myself. Has been through a lot of stuff, she has... She comes from a similar place, and understood the difficult place I find myself in. She says that she doesn't understand how I am still standing up. I don't know either, only God knows
Our journey ended in Leudean's home, where she had food for me and a bed. The next day was a day of work. Linda and Leudean spent the morning going over the contract for the sale of Linda's house. In the afternoon Linda and I went and inspected the house to make sure it was ready for the new owners and then we had an appointment for the closing at Leudeans office.
With some time to kill we had ice cream at Greenwood Drugstore's soda fountain and lunch counter. This was a blast from the past and the ice cream was great too.
Then it was off to the closing. I sat at the far end of the table, and read the days devotions and wrote a long entry in my hand written journal regarding Annabelle's passing. I needed to get it all out and everyday I feel better and better about things. The closing was very sucessful, these people are buying the house and Linda and her husband are financing it, so like my own situation its a win win if you can make the payments.
The next two nights were to be spent at the daughter and son in law of Linda's but because Linda's business was an all day event, it was mutually agreed that we would stay with Leudean another night. After hearing about all of the difficulties Linda has had with her daughter and Grandchildren, I was glad to not have the confrontation. I sank gratefully into that wonderful bed, grateful to God and Leudean for the gift of hospitality. And fell soundly to sleep, amidst the antiques and charcoal portraits of her family.
We journeyed after a leisurely getting up and preparing for the day. Linda has shared with me that her relationship with her daughter has been strained in the past and the conversations she was having on the phone gave me the impression that this was still the case. We got to the daughters home and the kids were fine and things seemed to be going really well... we had a bit of lunch and visited.
But frankly the kids were growing more and more "comfortable" with me, and the situation was deteriorating. I went for a walk and the 5 year old girl "had" to go with me. I didnt mind, but wondered at the wisdom of a mother allowing her daughter to walk all over the neighborhood with a stranger? The little girl was chatty and a bit bossy. Frankly it was wearing. The little boy was a toddler, typical but he threw his bottle at me several times and hit their little dog while he was sitting in my lap and just showed behavior that was demonstrative of a child jealous of attention and wanting his own way.
About 4 pm I lost it. The 15 year old had come home from school and was stimulating the younger kids. Linda was sitting on the couch with me, the kids were pressing around and the 15 year old was acting like one of the little ones, When he made a move to jump on me I had enough. I abruptly got up and left the house and stood outside. I "monsooned" cried my eyes out which I needed to do. I stopped crying and tried to go in. They had locked the door so I couldnt go back inside. The little girl was mad that I didnt giver her money for the ice cream truck. Linda came out and calmed me down and I tried to pull myself together.
I went back inside and sat in the living room with the kids. The kids were watching this hideois cartoon. I had Moe the doggie in my lap and that as OK. His little squeals of pleasure hurt but I stroked him. I over heard Linda and her daughter argueing and it was bout me and the sleeping arrangements. Seems the woman thought that yesterdays efforts were something I controled, not my friend, and that some how I had kept her mother away from visiting her...Sick at heart I got my purse and was headed outside when Linda came down the stairs. I told her it was OK and I would go someplace for the night. Linda graciously took me to a motel and I have a nice little suite for the evening quiet and calm. I am sorry that I couldnt handle it. Like Linda said, "my plate runneth over..." and the timing was bad
We go home in the morning, even with this difficulty today I am so glad to have come here. I have gotten to know Linda better. I have been in a strange situation, that will help me the next time I travel in the company of strangers. I will do better accepting hospitality, and being a gracious guest, which is something I long to do in this age of living room couch sleepovers, and couch surfing travelers...
the inviting entryway
Labels: Annabelle, Friends, Traveling