Wednesday, June 29, 2022

A Lovely Lunch; Boo Radley

Tuesday was, thank goodness, cooler. Her Highness and I went for a long walk and then I came home to work on the paper I had to write for the clinic. I’m pleased with what I’ve done. Now I wait for feedback. Then I did a massive watering of the backyard gardens. I’ve planted a lot of plants; I am very lucky that I have a seriously deep well. Poor Merrill and Leo have a shallow well, so they must buy water every few months. I knew nothing of wells when I moved here; I asked not one question about water when I bought this place. 

I went to Ali and Peter’s for lunch so that they could show me where and how to water their plants while they go for a short trip away (one week). And then I came home to water the front gardens, and then to spend the rest of the day reading. It had clouded over and felt like (welcome) rain, so I had no desire to do yard work. But I did re-stack all the wood from the felled trees because, of course, my stacking failed. I’m a weak stacker.

Lunch with Peter and Ally was very nice. There were sprinkles of rain on the roof of the gazebo where we ate. They are always fun to be with; I feel very comfortable in their company, so I speak decently well. I’ve accumulated a warm and welcoming group of people around me. They’ve only known me as symptomatic. 

I don’t know how I felt about my mother. In the end, I’m as ambivalent about her now as she was of me, then. When I was in elementary school, she became paralyzed and spent all her time in her bed. She moved into an institution after a few years at home, and by then I was glad. I had to do a lot of work at home. My father did no work around the house at all. 

One night I went to see a movie. It was To Kill a Mockingbird. There was a character named Boo Radley in the story. Boo’s one hell of an eerie figure in the film, long, long before the audience sees the man. The children are afraid of him, and yet intrigued by him as well. Especially the narrator of the book, Scout.

As I watched the film. I thought to myself: My mother is Boo Radley in our neighbourhood, all sealed up in her bedroom and never seen. And instead of the movie, I saw, in my mind’s eye, our family home from the perspective of our street. We lived on a hill, our street was below the lowest point of our lot. You looked up to our house from the street—way up. Like in a movie about a social freak. I felt justified in not liking my mother. She was adopted anyway, as she often said of me.

And then Boo Radley becomes the hero of the movie. He saves Scout and her brother from an attacker. And I thought about that. I decided that there was a soul inside my mother that did not foresee this life in bed, this destruction of a family. After that, I tried harder for the rest of the time she lived in that bed.

“Time to empty the bedpan mum?”

Today’s cloudy and mild. Her Highness and I will walk this morning, and then we’ll go into the village to get some groceries. The rest of the day will be spent reading and, perhaps, some yard work. It all depends on my mood and the weather.

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