A Vagabond’s Valentine 14 February 2019


            It is Valentine’s Day and I am thoughtful as I begin writing.   I am in Nashville, sitting at the counter between the kitchen and the television room of my friend Tory Abel’s home, where she lives with her wife, Pamela.

Tory and I have known each other for thirty-four years come this fall, a long time, by any accounting.  I knew her before she met Pamela.

Friends have been on my mind a lot of late.

Last weekend, I spent with Jerry May and his wife, Gail Worthen, and I have known Jerry longer than I have known Tory.  He was my first client when I was at A&E and we have stayed in touch, looping loosely in and out of each other’s lives, ever since.

He recalled a day some years past, when, after finishing a dinner at Robert in New York, we were about to part and I told him I loved him.  I thought he should know.  He responded by telling me he loved me, too.

There is a gratitude I have when I wake up in the morning, knowing the number of friends who love me. And I am grateful I am aware enough to recognize it.

Today my brother arrived in Honduras, poised to go to the back of beyond, where he helps provide medical care to a village that has seen no medical services since last they were there.  His work there is an act of love.

In Lebanon I met a group of people for whom their lives’ work is also an act of love and I am in awe of that.  And a Valentine to all whose lives are works of love, to the caregivers, like my friend Debbie Dier, to the social workers, to the medical people, to those who, like David Larkin, man food kitchens, for every human act of kindness to other humans.  To Tom, my high school best friend, who made me a gift of asking me to godfather his son, Paul.  To Sarah, who has been my friend since we were three and whose son is a light in my life.

Happy Valentine’s Day for the love you give to me and everyone.

When Jerry and Gail and I were together we talked about how quickly the years have gone, slipping down into eternity, youth becoming age, seeing children grow and have children.


I wrote the following lines on my phone:


Time wracks us all,

even when we’re aware

and watching.


Slips up, an indiscriminating thief,

pickpocketing our youth

and our flurry, good times and all.


Though older, I am enjoying this time of my life, time for reflection and gratitude.

In terms of reflection, let me guide you to my friend, Dalton Delan’s article, a rumination on time with his father that made my heart burst.  We all have our moments in time, where sweet and bitter mix together in a heady brew of nostalgia, even if the memories are hard.

All around me, my friends seem to be in similar places.  We are, mostly, of a certain age and are sailing toward our final ports,  few of us are raging against the night, even as we struggle through the roughish waters of our aging process.

While Valentine’s Day is usually thought of as a moment for romance, it is also a time to pause and to appreciate the love we have for friends, the non-romantic loves of our lives that far outnumber the romantic ones, the people who cosset us on a regular basis and buffer us when romance fails us or becomes the shoal upon which we are wrecked, hopefully for just a little time.

So, to all of you who have shared your love with me, thank you!  It means more than I will ever have words for, and I will sing your praises as I vagabond joyfully into the unfolding future.



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