They say one sign of old age is when you look at something that you seen for years but suddenly it sends you on trip down Memory Lane. If that is the case, and experience is convincing me that it is, than if any proof were needed I’m getting old.
My friend Gary and I travelled together a great deal in the 70s and 80s – Berlin, London, San Francisco, New Orleans, Atlanta, Rio, New York, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, and until travel became too difficult for him he’d visit us at home in Ottawa, Warsaw, Rome etc. He helped me move to Ottawa in 1976 when everything I owned in the world fit into a mini-van with room to spare. And for several Christmases after I moved to Ottawa he would gather up my mother and bring her up for the holidays. He was my family.
Earlier today I idly picked up a small object that sits on a shelf here and has sat somewhere, often overlooked, in our homes for the past 40 years. As I held it my mind wandered back to August 1979 and a trip with Gary. We spent a few days in Albuquerque and then drove up to Santa Fe for the opera festival. He was that good a friend that he was willing to sit through Alban Berg’s Lulu with me – now that’s a true friend. We went on to Denver afterwards and, being Gary as I headed home he was off to Los Angeles for a day to pick up something at an Evangelical bookstore he had heard about.
As I held it and thought about that trip I also thought of the number of times since his death in August of 2018 I’ve gone to pick up the phone to call him about something silly that was going on. I also for one fleeting moment wondered why I had bought such a trivial little thing but as I write this I think maybe it was so that at this moment in time I could be reminded of that trip and my dear, much loved, and loving friend.
The word for May 29th is:
Dragon /ˈdraɡən/: [noun]
1. A mythical monster like a giant reptile. In European tradition the dragon is typically fire-breathing and tends to symbolize chaos or evil, whereas in East Asia it is usually a beneficent symbol of fertility, associated with water and the heavens.
2. A fierce and intimidating person, unfairly often applied to a woman.
3. A short musket carried on the belt of a soldier, especially a mounted infantryman. (Historical term 17th-18th century). A soldier caring such a weapon was called a dragoon.
Middle English, from Anglo-French dragun, from Latin dracon-, draco serpent, dragon, from Greek drakōn serpent.