08:17:52 am on
Monday 15 Jul 2024

The Road Forward
AJ Robinson

At the start of 2020, we went to visit family in Naples and Port Charlotte, both towns in Florida. We had a great time; Damian went swimming, albeit in a rather chilly pool. On one day, we got together with the family of my wife, Jo Ann; a nice time was had by all.

Collecting the family.

To make this get together work we needed, first, to pick up her sister Jackie. Normally, big sis can take of herself, but she’s recovering from foot surgery; for her, getting around is still a bit tough. As we were staying with my mom in Naples, it was an easy trip to pick up Jackie; all we had to do was swing by her home in Fort Myers. We even offered to take my mom along, as she and Jackie are quite close.

Years ago, back when the health of my mom was better and she was more mobile, she and Jackie would often meet up for lunch at a local eatery; they both love good bar-b-q. Then mom declined, sadly. Long trips were out of the question these days; in her case, long is more than thirty minutes.

We should cut mom some slack. She’s 94. Just being upright, for some people, of that age, is a major accomplishment.

We can’t all be like Dick Van Dyke. He’s still dancing up a story in his nineties. I digress

We collected Jackie. She gets around well, with her cane and a boot on her injured foot. Then we set off for the home of Penny.

Penny had a pork roast sizzling in the oven, when we arrived; potatoes to be mashed, the table to set and Damian wanted to swim in the pool. I think you can guess which chore I was to handle. Oh well, I didn’t mind; I sat by the pool and relaxed for a while.

I even wrote up a few notes on my phone for my new novel, as I sat at the pool. My teen adventure story, Vampire Vendetta, is getting closer to its release date and my publisher asked if I thought of a sequel. I didn’t.

Yet, sitting there in the comfortable lounge chair, letting my mind wander among the clouds drifting overhead, some ideas began to percolate in my head, as raindrops falling from those clouds. It suddenly came to me: what if blank announced that she blanked.

Still a work in progress.

Whoa, would that be awesome. Forgive me for editing my thoughts there, but I don’t want to reveal the major plot point; not yet. My new novel is still a work in progress. For that matter, the first book hasn’t published, so I may be rushing.

Once fun time was over, Damian dried off. We had to remind him not to leave his wet clothes all over the place. Then we visited with the family.

This was where a touch of heartache took place. Marie showed up, still grieving the loss of her husband, Gayron. Overall, she did quite well, held it together and happily chatted, but every once in a while her voice cracked, her eyes watered and the grief welled up inside her. It was then that I jumped in with one of my prepared funny stories about something.

Aunt Dee and Jackie did their best to boost the spirits of Marie. We helped her to get over the rough patches. Something we can’t do is changing her home life.

You see, she and Gayron bought her current home, a nice little condominium, back when he received his initial diagnosis. The place has a negative connotation ford Marie. It’s the house where he was sick and eventually passed away.

Marie hates going home now. She told us how she literally drives around town, just meanders and wanders the streets as long as she can, as a way of avoiding being alone in that place. After so many years together, it’s hard for her to live by herself.

Jo Ann and I told her that she was more than welcome to come visit us. Granted, my office is on the second floor of our townhome and, for now, is a disaster area. We’re going to fix it up, as a nice guest room.

In time, she can stay with us and we’ll take her to flea markets and antique shows. That’s her thing, not the theme parks, and we live in an area that affords us easy access to some great markets. We’re sure she’ll have a good time.

Food, good company and mutual support.

Overall, we had a good visit. It was full of what makes family special: good food, good company, good support for all of us and, most especially, love. I look forward to seeing all of them again soon.

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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