Editing qarrtsiluni has definitely cut into my blogging time lately, but I've also really enjoyed it. In the meantime, the real world has certainly been submitting its own entries to the apocalyptic theme, between the melting-down economy and the spectre of a possible Palin presidency.
On the more personal scale, though, life has been quiet. We were in Vermont last week and I ran into an old neighbor at the post office; he spotted me and came over to where I was sitting in the car waiting for J. to come out with our two-weeks-worth of mail. L., who is tall and thin, even gaunt, was dressed in a dark, striped suit and a white shirt, with a silver and maroon tie held with a tie-clasp.
"You're all dressed up, L.!" I said. "You look like a preacher!"
"Oh, I'm driving south to install a Grange tonight." Like his parents before him, L. is one of the people who keep the Grange going in the state. He asked about our house, and solemnly nodded when we said it was for sale - we've been neighbors in the village for a long time, and worked together on a lot of community projects. "Mom and Dad's house is for sale too," he said, looking a bit wistful. "I guess the new owners fixed it up enough that they're ready to sell it now." L.'s parents have been dead for some time now; they were pillars of the community and lived just up the hill from our back yard: close enough that the same woodchucks ravaged their garden and ours.**
"Where are you living now?" I asked.
"In Pomfret, rattling around all by myself in an old farmhouse. Did you know I went back to Texas?"
"I knew you were thinking of going." He had lived there for many years as an adult, but had come back to Vermont when his parents began to need help; he'd always said he planned to go back after they were gone.
"Well, that's right. So I resigned my job and everything, and went down, intending to stay." He screwed up his mouth and made a face, his eyes dancing in their hollows; he leaned closer toward the open window. "But I didn't feel comfortable at all. I only stayed three days, and came right back! But of course, I didn't have a house and I didn't have a job any longer!"
"What did you do?" Because he was laughing; I laughed too, figuring the story must have had a happy ending.
"Well, I went back to the church where I had been the organist and said, 'If you haven't filled the position, can I apply for my old job?' And they said, 'You know what? We never voted to accept your letter of resignation. The job is still yours.' Can you believe that? So I told them, 'That's wonderful, but there's only one problem. I don't have a place to live!' So they made an announcement after church the next Sunday, and lo and behold, one of the parishioners came up and said 'How would you like to live in our mother's old house, now that she's gone? We don't want to sell it, and all us kids have our own places nearby, but we need someone there.' So I went to look at it, and they quoted me a ridiculously low price, so -- here I am, back in Vermont again.'"
"Well, it's good to see you!" I said, meaning it, just as J. came out of the post office, holding out his hand and grinning at L.
"And you too!" he said, before heading off in his car to keep one more Grange going for a few more years.
** I've just added a story about L.'s father to the comment thread.