Visit to an Old Friend

You Sir, are a beautiful writer. I always enjoy your longer posts.

Posted by Writer Dad at August 15, 2008 6:19 AM

Thanks for the memories. Beautiful.

Posted by Gnawbone Jack at August 15, 2008 7:40 AM

When a poet's mind is perfectly equipped for his work, it is constantly amalgamating disparate experiences; the ordinary man's experience is chaotic, irregular, fragmentary. The latter falls in love, or reads Spinoza, and these two experiences have nothing to do with each other, or with the noise of the typewriter or the smell of cooking; in the mind of the poet these experiences are always forming new wholes. -- T. S. Eliot

Posted by Gagdad Bob at August 15, 2008 9:40 AM

Thanks, Gerard - beautiful and powerful.

Posted by Julie at August 15, 2008 9:45 AM

Wow.

Posted by Cathy at August 15, 2008 10:04 AM

If the conversation between the father and the daughter doesn't break your heart you might not have one. Wow. Just beautiful.

Posted by Matt at August 15, 2008 11:57 AM

If the conversation between the father and the daughter doesn't break your heart you might not have one. Wow. Just beautiful.

Posted by Matt at August 15, 2008 11:57 AM

"...The second wife couldn't handle all the care -- could you? -- and placed him, at last, in a home in San Francisco."

"One daughter sees him often, the other daughter seldom, the second wife some times, the brother every six weeks, the first wife never."

He is... discarded it seems to me. But you do not say if the 2nd wife is still his wife. I think we miss something in relegating our old and disabled to 'homes'.

Nice writing. I am glad you got to see your old friend one last time.

Posted by Robohobo at August 15, 2008 1:44 PM

Ah, hell.

As if there is a need to remind us to live each day with an footing of gratitude, and build another day, and another, until the end comes. And when it does all we can do is accept it; battling against the end will not slow it, and there is no chance to put anything right, nor to complete a journey, and those people you've always wanted to bond yourself with or apologize to will just have to understand that you meant well.

At fifteen I was struck very ill and confined to a bed in a very small hospital in a very small and gentle town in the mountains of North Carolina. Sharing the room later the first day was a very old man suffering the fate of some version of dementia, stroke-borne or from some other demon. Noah was cared for by the doctors and nurses in a way that infirm older people are--they knew there was little to do but comfort, clean, and observe, but they did so with patience and kindness addressing him, as is the southern custom, as Mister Noah.

Noah could not be in the present and groaned with discomfort, looking about meekly with confusion and fear. But he spoke strongly with his young sons far away, and admonished them to "get in here outta that rain, boys. Come on now", and often, "We had a big time, didn't we?".

No sons visited Noah, and no wives or friends either. His life had been lived and this hospital room was a last stop for hime. The illness only took him to an un-real place for a short time; I hoped his memories were comforting during that time.

Best to you and your friend.

Posted by Dan Patterson at August 15, 2008 4:28 PM

Well drawn, well said... wish I didn't understand.

Well...that's not true... but I wish it was.

Twilight tales and ghost stories send shivers from that place we all intend to fear. Warm up the coffee and enjoy the fire.

Posted by Van at August 16, 2008 10:59 AM

Just noticed the school in the photo- Blue Bear.
Is that the same school that (at least a decade ago) I took lessons at, down in Fort Funston?

Posted by Uncle Jefe at August 18, 2008 4:26 PM

Yes, it is.

Posted by vanderleun at August 18, 2008 9:27 PM

My God, this is beautiful writing! Powerful...

Posted by Captain Dave at September 6, 2011 3:30 PM

Aw hell, indeed.

Posted by ahem at September 6, 2011 4:41 PM

That was beautiful Mr. Van Der Leun. Thank you, and my condolences on the loss of your good friend.

Posted by Jeff Brokaw at July 1, 2014 9:12 AM

(Sigh).

Posted by D S Craft at July 1, 2014 9:15 AM

I spent a few hours here in Kentucky with an old dope buddy heading to the east coast the other days. We talked of days gone by , it's like another life.

We're Christians now and aging as gracefully as you can when you spent your 20's on a diet of cheap wine and pcp.

Sucks when you were the Peter Pan generation and now you're older than dirt.I thank God for a loving wife and four great kids. Really, when all's said and done, it's as your story resonates, it's friends and family that sustain us.

Posted by bill at July 1, 2014 11:24 AM

Yea. I was there too. SF State. Exact same time. I do not have fond memories of the place whatsoever. Filthy people with no appreciation of the world or respect for themselves. More insects crawling on their bodies than a current day illegal invader.

Posted by Terry at July 1, 2014 6:06 PM

I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests. -Pablo Neruda

Beautifully shared.

Posted by DeAnn at July 2, 2014 4:57 AM

Nice German Shorthaired Pointer in the picture

Posted by Dan D at July 2, 2014 5:16 AM

Can't make you out in the picture. You in there?

Posted by chasmatic at July 2, 2014 9:45 AM

Nope. Not that time. It's an early promo shot for Blue Bear Waltzes School of Music.

http://www.bluebearmusic.org/

Posted by vanderleun at July 2, 2014 10:06 AM

The German Shorthair Pointer was Wolfgang, the brother of my dog Potemkin. Best two dogs ever.

Posted by vanderleun at July 2, 2014 10:08 AM

We spend the first half of our lives attaining things and the second half losing them.

Everything goes away...

Posted by ghostsniper at November 6, 2016 3:19 AM

What a terrible fate for your friend, Steve.

For him, the ascent on Jacobs ladder appears to have been a long climb as he faded off into the clouds. For his loved ones... I don't know: Depends on the age, character, experiences and personal burdens as to their choices in the matter of Steve's suffering; though I must say in the balances and measures of God, I would like to think the dole of judgement be one taht would be beyond our ken (unless we really know the hearts of those involved - and even then, a pause) as this burden on all involved is quite heavy.

Thank you for sharing this bleeding slice of your life with us, Gerard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfwGkplB_sY

Posted by cond0011 at November 6, 2016 10:06 AM

What a terrible fate for your friend, Steve.

For him, the ascent on Jacobs ladder appears to have been a long climb as he faded off into the clouds. For his loved ones... I don't know: Depends on the age, character, experiences and personal burdens as to their choices in the matter of Steve's suffering; though I must say in the balances and measures of God, I would like to think the dole of judgement be one taht would be beyond our ken (unless we really know the hearts of those involved - and even then, a pause) as this burden on all involved is quite heavy.

Thank you for sharing this bleeding slice of your life with us, Gerard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfwGkplB_sY

Posted by cond0011 at November 6, 2016 10:08 AM

It was all so beautiful then.

Posted by ahem at November 6, 2016 10:38 AM

More please...loved it.

Posted by Island Girl at November 6, 2016 11:23 AM

Sometimes your writing talent just blows my mind.
This is one of those.

Posted by Flannelputz at November 6, 2016 4:53 PM

So well written. Almost entices me to go back to SF for a visit. But, you know you can't do that and really enjoy what has changed so much. The sixties were, well the sixties.

Posted by Terry at November 7, 2016 2:43 PM