|Odysseus and Argos|
It was a time of perpetual strangeness, like Odysseus in his long attempt to get back home to Penelope. And of course, his faithful dog, Argos.
First, there was the flood. Early one Sunday morning, my wife, Linda, woke me crying: “Tom, we have a problem – the hall bathroom is flooded.”
The fates had conspired to make this problem worse than it had to be. Linda recently had hip replacement surgery and couldn’t reach down to turn off the spigot to the bathroom toilet. And I had a number of health woes that made springing into action impossible. By the time I sloshed down the hall and into the bathroom, several rooms were flooded.
Since then, we’ve had many visitors at our house. Plumbers. Water damage restoration companies. Insurance adjusters. Carpet installers. It seemed like half the subcontractors in Tucson visited our house at various times.
The roaring of the dozen blowers and dehumidifiers drying out our place made sleeping there impossible, so we had to stay in a hotel for a week. Then, we were able to return to a dry home while the restoration and carpet installers did their things.
Meanwhile, friends had to help Linda get to her rehab treatments, and keep us supplied with groceries and other necessities. Fortunately, we had a lot of help, because of our wonderful and caring congregation, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church.
I’m going to name those helpers here, feeling like an Oscar winner trying to thank everybody before they run out breath or time: Chris Bahnson, Kathie Barrett, Jeff Blackburn, Susan Gerstad, Linda Girard, Sandi Heilman, Martha Mazzolini, Sally Mettler, Vicki Minger, Maryanne Nucholls, Gil and Kathy Parrish, Marcia Rostad, Connie White and Marlyce Wright.
By now I’m gasping for breath, but there are still more. Our neighbors, Maryannette Bednar and Jim Lopez, who help us every day. And my Hospice Family Care team: my nurse , Angela Lineberger and her husband, Mike, who does volunteer work for us; and my wonderful hospice assistant, Blanca Montaño.
And finally, our grown children, Michael Walker and his wife, Remy; and Christina Walker Rowden. And, of course, our grandchildren, Niko Walker and Cait Rowden. I also want to say a special thank you to Michael Schapker, the Tucson claims adjuster for USAA, our insurance company.
Meanwhile, the strangeness has continued. Gnawing into a slice of stiff-crust bread, I managed to break a front tooth at the root. Fortunately, I didn’t swallow the tooth. Also fortunately, the broken tooth doesn’t hurt at all; it probably had been root-canalled-out long ago. So right now, I have a serious gap in my smile. Maybe I'll say that I've joined the Tucson Roadrunners Hockey team. Or maybe I just won’t smile very much anymore.
Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, doesn’t find very much to smile about either, these days. In a column that ran April 10 in the Arizona Daily Star, Reich warned that, under President Trump, our country may be tweeting toward a dictatorship.
Trump recently noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping was now president for life. “Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”’
“Some thought Trump was joking,” Reich says. “I’m not so sure.”
I’m not so sure, either. All the checks and balances seem to be crumbling, except for the Fourth Estate. And Trump has it under siege, too.
Argos? Good boy. Our poor old blind, flea infested press may be our best hope in this strange time of flooded houses, missing teeth and wanta-be dictators. That, and our network of friends, businesses and agencies like Medicare and Hospice Family Care.
Long may they run.