Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Eye in the Sky

And not the Alan Parsons Project, either.

Eye in the Sky.

This past Sunday, as I was helping a friend load up a stack of purchases he'd made at the auction, I happened to look up to see this cloud formation. For some reason, it cried out for documentation via the old digital camera... I think my friend and I may have been the only ones out looking at the clouds, that moment -- certainly, nobody else came to join us on the sidewalk, as we stood gawking.

Since that hour, I've had that annoying song going through my head. Something there is about an 'eighties song...

But this morning, it was replaced by "Your Wildest Dreams", by the Moody Blues (it was playing over the audio system at the supermarket. Make of that what you will, Baby Boomers!). Which brings me to another thing which has been gnawing at the back of my head for the entire of the season, for no obvious reason I can think of, except that Passover is coming.

My first seder was shared with my friend Nancy, whose friendship I cherished, whose company I enjoyed at Moody Blues concerts, whose grade school class I used to watch over when she had to take off time for her medical appointments.

Nancy, you see, was a dedicated teacher, but she was also in much pain from fibromyalgia. Because of her illness, she was prone to miss days with some regularity, and she needed a substitute who could be there for the kids, to lend a little more stability than the usual rural community catch-as-catch-can system afforded. Since I could pass myself off as responsible in front of kids (she might say there was more to it than that, but I'm not convinced), I was nominated as her regular designated hitter.

Anyway, Nancy and I had become friends as a result of MacGyver. Blame the man with the duct tape, it was his show we used to sit and laugh over each week, taping it as we watched it (yes, I still have my own VHS copies of all the episodes, not that I can remember where I put that box). We sat surrounded by her big, lazy, adorable cats and watched -- and we eventually used the program as a jumping-off point for a program at the school where we worked, a full day of fun, creative problem-solving exercises for the kids, complete with promotional MacGyver hats, t-shirts, and even an autographed photo of my favorite guy, Bruce "Jack Dalton" McGill (which, when the school underwent some changes, became my property as well, and it hangs in a prominent place in my study).

We called the radio station to request stupid songs, sometimes (and, occasionally, a sentimental choice, as well. Her favorites were, of course, by the Moody Blues, but she could enjoy a Springsteen or two). We gallivanted around, including hitting radio remote broadcast events to visit with a couple of deejays we also counted as friends. For all the real pain Nancy was in, our days off were seldom quiet or calm, but absurd and silly and more fun than I could describe.

Those were halcyon days. For all my own health problems, for all that I hated much of the other work I did, outside the classroom, I enjoyed myself immensely when I was gadding about with Nancy.

I suppose every girl needs at least one good girlfriend.

But I have not heard from her in more than a decade -- not since shortly after her wonderful father died. I moved to Chicago, and she, only a short time later, moved to near "Philth-adelphia". It seems strange that I should wonder about her, now.

But the thaw of spring means something, to me. It serves as a canvas for my memories. Fresh scents of the earth bring everything back. The big, black cats around my yard remind me of her ornery old Aja (aka AWOL, for his tendency to slip out when Nancy wasn't looking and be gone for days on end), and how he did his best to pretend he was in charge.

I'd been thinking of my lost friendship, even before I heard the Moody Blues playing in the supermarket parking lot.

I wonder what our favorite FM station is now playing, and I wonder if Nancy was able to stay smoke-free, and, most importantly, if she has found a less painful life.

Of all the things one loses when one repeatedly moves from city to city, the loss that one does not easily get over is the loss of a good friend.

Letters I've written, never meaning to send.

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