Courage at Twilight: Cabin Fever

“I have cabin fever,” Mom sighed as we finished our Sunday dinner of baked pork chops with mustard-cream sauce and cumin-seed cabbage. “Then let’s go for a ride,” I offered.  Mom would have been satisfied with a brief ride around the neighborhoods, but I drove the Mighty V8 toward Little Cottonwood Canyon, glacier gouged and gorgeous, boasting pine forests, enormous slabs of granite, and a cascading river.  We commented on the incomparable beauty of these mountains as we drove up the narrow winding road, and expressed our gratitude at having these scenes so close to home.  “That’s enough for me,” Mom said as we passed the Snowbird resort.  “I’m ready to go home.  I don’t have cabin fever anymore.”  Back at home, I pointed out how multiple consecutive triple-digit days, and some active hummingbirds, had emptied the hummingbirds’ sugar water quickly, and the feeder hung empty.  We watched a tiny Black-chinned hovering, testing, and not finding liquid food.  Google says the correct mix is four parts water to one part sugar—and not to add red dye—so I refilled the feeder and brought back the birds.  The doorbell rang, and Carolyn D’s daughter delivered a white Afghan, crocheted with time and love and tenderness, for Dad had compiled her husband’s World War II recollections before they died with him, just in time.  Like Dad, Carolyn can no longer walk well, scooting along laboriously with a walker.  But she can crochet.  An hour later a violent summer thunderstorm blew and spat, teasing us unkindly with scant muddy drops that streaked the windows brown.  Dad sat in his kitchen chair, watching the wind whip the trees, and hazarded to Mom, “If you were to wander over here, I would give you a hug.”  In other words, I want to hug you, so please come to me, since I cannot come to you.  In his hoped-for embrace, he expressed to Mom, “You’re such a wonderful person.  I just love you.”

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