Cooking School Journal: Tahoe and Bad News

I brought my laptop to Tahoe. For six days it sat on the counter, and I’ve been trying to remember why I brought it. There’s no internet access here on the north shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. What the hell did I lug this thing up here for? I think it was to catch up on all of the posts that are piling up in my Drafts file. What else would I do on my vacation?

We’ve biked, boated, swam, made sand castles, and lost the key to our rental car in the Truckee River.

Yeah. You know. Vacation.

The laptop has sat here so bored that I think I actually caught it trying to pour itself a drink.

It’s been a great vacation. We’ve spent some really great times together. That’s something Joe and I have both needed and the girls craved too.

But, we got bad news.

Arthur is sick.

He is like my second father.

He has been my true North much of the last thirty years. Granted his compass usually is pointed  Southwest.

He told me to go to USF. He even came to Parent’s Weekend. He sat patiently as I asked him, “Is San Francisco an island? Everywhere I go there is water.” (These are the words of a twenty year-old that  never strayed far from Santa Monica, where the shore was always to the West.)

I’m sure he thought I was an idiot. But he calmly explained that San Francisco was the tip of a peninsula.

In the following few years I lived there he took me and various random boyfriends, and then eventually Joe and me, to the best places in the city. He taught us the city. And what an amazing subject to learn.

He sat in the first row as we were married. He sat next to our  priest at the rehearsal dinner.

He held Lilly for two hours in my living room after her baptism, as I tried to make brunch for forty people. He showed Lucy the Statue of Liberty from the balcony of his apartment in Chelsea.

He has been my muse for these incessant e-mails.

He laughed so hard at the first that I felt inspired to continue. His encouragement keeps me writing.

He coined the term “Not Gay Lance”, in the way only a good queen could. Oh yeah…and there were a million questions to boot. “What does he look like? What color is his hair? Does he have hair?”

The best gift for an aspiring writer is to find an audience, and sometimes it needs only to be audience of one.

He has encouraged me to do this food thing. To write about this food thing.

And ironically, he is laying in ICU at Baltimore General.  The cause?

Apparently, food poisoning.

It figures.

He’s been intubated for a week… but the tube will come out tomorrow. He’s expected to recover fully. Mom is there. I want to be there, but I know he would just be mad. He would want me to be taking care of my kids, taking my classes and writing dumb missives about it.

And doing what I am doing now. Staring into the glow of my laptop and overhearing Joe and Lilly and Lucy sitting on the deck, watching the reflection of the moonlight on the lake. Joe’s trying to explain to them the difference between a planet and a star and even perhaps the difference between a peninsula and an island.