Take Me to the River

I just finished a two-week vacation. Lucky, right? Except I had forgotten I hadn’t seen Blanche in a while (Blanche Says, Let It Ride Girl) — she likes to keep me honest, keep me real, and laugh her ass off at me, especially when I think I’ve got everything together.

News flash: The minute you think you’ve got it together, it all goes to hell in a hand basket, or as we like to say here in Boston, it shits the bed.

The first week I had such relaxing, sensible plans. I’d hang around at home, work on my writing, finish some small projects, have a few friends over, email people I haven’t spoken to in a while. Nice, huh?

Blanche slid into her front row seat bar stool, lit her cigarette, and had her whiskey ready.

The headaches started almost immediately. Every day. All day. OK, I get it, work has been stressful for many months and my parents need more care etcetera, etcetera. But this is all normal life stuff and surely relaxing and doing nothing for a few days should get me back to center, right?

Blanche downed her drink, sniffed, and barely suppressed a smirk.

After the 6th day, it occurred to me maybe I wasn’t really dealing emotionally with my mother’s Alzheimer’s as directly as I could. OK, I had an insight. Could the headaches stop, please?

Blanche rolled her eyes, took a long drag on her cigarette and blew smoke in my face while she laughed.

One day 8 the headaches slid seamlessly into a bout of scleritis, or inflammation of the white part of my eye. Fun. I’ve had it before, it’s entirely treatable, and oh, yeah, it tends to pop up when I’m stressed. Right.

Blanche laughed so hard she had to gasp for breath. She still managed to tap the bar for another shot. She’s a professional, after all.

Then there was a respite. Four beautiful days canoe camping on the Saco River. Nothing but the company of a good friend, the quiet plunk of the paddle in the water, the breeze in the trees, and various fauna. I felt good. Who wouldn’t with these serene views?



I got home, talked to a few friends, and wrote copiously in my journal. I went to see my parents and family and it was nice. Lesson learned, I need to pay more attention and not confuse “not letting it get to me” with “dealing with stuff.” Great! I still have a few days left to enjoy my vacation. Wait. Why is Blanche squinting at me through her cigarette smoke with her eyebrows raised and glancing at her watch?

The day after the family visit, I got another full on headache. Seriously?

Blanch just snickered and tapped the bar once for a double.

I went to my yoga class and lucky for me, my teacher is also a massage therapist. I started to tell her about my headache and my week. I usually have one troublesome knot in my upper back. However in no time at all, she discovered multiple knots under my shoulder blades and up my neck. There was like a whole damn colony in there. She worked on me for at least 45 minutes. It felt better.

This morning, I woke up with no headache. Life is good. OK, Blanche. Message received — take better care of body and soul. Off you go.

She slid off her stool and sauntered away, waving her cigarette smoke at me as she left. “Until next time,” she sang. Witch.

And to leave you on a lighter note, this rope growing tree was at our campsite. I should have taken its advice to heart — no knots, nice and loose.



  1. I don’t like how Blanche was treating you. Tell her to put down the booze and come see me. Sorry your week was so tough. Love u.

  2. Awww you’re very sweet. She’s a tough love sort and only comes around when absolutely necessary. Thanks, baby! If Blanche and Wanda has a showdown, Wanda would win hands down, with poise and dignity and without breaking a sweat!

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