SOL Tuesday

There they sat. Two grey-haired people. About the same age. Heads together, looking at something on their phone. Then just talking.  Eating.

Their table was tucked way back, almost in a corner. They seemed to like it that way. No one to bother them. Whenever the waiter came they appeared annoyed. Like he was intruding.

They shared food. He tried hers. She tried his. I imagined that they have been together for many years. At least 25, I’ll bet.  What would one do without the other? Their lives seem so intertwined.

I’ve been talking with colleagues about just exactly what is a “Slice of Life” story. We concluded that it’s a moment happening now that we want to remember forever. To preserve for always. This scene that I was fortunate enough to witness last weekend is truly something I want to always remember. It’s not that I wonder what they we’re talking about. What they mean to one another. I felt that I already knew this as I watched them eating breakfast in that restaurant. What I want to remember is…..

A couple, who after being together for over half their lives, clearly saw no one else in the room but each other

A couple, who after being together for over half their lives, still with so much to say to each other

A couple, who after being together for over half their lives, has a bond so strong that they probably finish each other’s sentences and know each other’s needs intuitively

A couple, who after being together for over half their lives, believe that their future holds abundant happiness for them

This is what I want to remember.  I can still see these two sitting so cozily, so intently, so happily at the back of the room between two windows.  Not a care in the world.  Happy to be together.  Forever.



The Procedures


Tuesday SOL


“I’ve got to start my detox procedures,” she says the minute we get into the room.

She proceeds to pull out the Lysol Disinfectant Wipes and goes to town.

The T.V. remote.  Check!

The telephone.  Check!

The alarm clock.  Check!

All door handles.  Check, check, check!

Toilet handle.  Check!

Light switches. Check, check, check, check!

Next comes the phone call to the front desk.  “Hello, how are you today?”  She’s always so nice and pleasant to them.  Wait till they hear what she’s got to say next!  “I have a list of things I need from housekeeping, please.”

Depending on how long the stay, the numbers requested will vary.  The items asked for are always the same.

Extra pillow cases (to put on top of the existing cases)

Extra sheets (to put on top of the bed, once the bed spread and blanket are taken off)

Extra bath towels (there are just never enough)

Her procedures are complete.  Germs are eradicated.  Exterminated.  Destroyed.

Why such complicated and painstaking procedures, you ask?

What may not cause trouble for one person can cause a whole heap of it for Kathy.  The slightest bacteria can get in through a paper cut on her finger and BAM!  Infection.  From there her lymphedema kicks into high gear and her right arm swells up like a balloon and turns a bright cherry red.

Cue the “procedures”, which are meant to try and avoid all of these troubles in any hotel room in any city or state…..

“This would annoy some people”, she says to me.

Not me.  I expect it.  I document it.  I would worry if it didn’t happen.

I hope it works.

One Red Bow


SOL Tuesday


I tied it to the chair outside on our balcony at Christmas time.  It was one bow among 7 or 8 that were twisted around garland with beautiful, glistening lights.  Eventually the garland and lights and bows were taken down….except for this one red bow.


I don’t know why I left it, maybe because it was on the chair instead of the garland.  It seemed to belong there.   The wind that came whipping through the city of Chicago and up here to the 17th floor this winter, was not fit for man nor beast.    We like to think the one red bow represents the power of our spirit.  It has held on tightly through this brutal winter.  Strong.  Determined.  Flapping back and forth many times.  A couple of times looking like It would completely blow off during one or two of our snow storms….but it hung on.  Just like we did.

As our city begins to come alive again this spring we love to look outside at this bright red sign of hutzpah.  This symbol of resilience makes us feel that we have made it through.  We have survived,  just like our one red bow.