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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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Sunset

March 1st, 2007

BY ALAN ALBRIGHT

sunset.jpg“With a kid,” my brother said, “you know it’s going to get better, but….”

That was during Dad’s last years with Alzheimer’s — although my brother might as well have been talking about all of us old fogeys down here in Florida, where the theme song is “What’s next?”

While our friends up north get all excited about the latest symptoms of global warming, we listen to ambulances race by, wondering where, exactly, they are going to stop. Florida may well submerge again, but we’re not worried about it.

“We don’t have a clue what low-level lymphoma is,” Judy just told me. She and Bill were parking their RV in the storage field out back and were off to Ontario. The call had come last night, but Bill had been plenty scared anyway — privately that is — and it was high time to take care of business.

All of this is surely unwelcome news to the apostles of Consumers Immortal, or whatever our common religion is today. One is supposed to be young, full of pizzaz, and above all, a healthy channel for the flow of national liquid green. Upbeat. A winner. None of this “losing the battle” stuff.

That’s just fine, but Dorothy’s not been feeling well lately, and we’re worried sick about her. Ashley had a nasty fall. And tears come to our eyes when Thelma sings, bless her, even if she can’t hit a recognizable note or even get near the tempo.

Don’t jump to conclusions! This is no dark view of the world, this getting old and ready to move on. Quite the contrary! It’s not unlike returning to the warmth of the hearth, after a long day sweating out there in the fields. One begins to shed all those heavy outer garments, irrelevant now, like anger from long ago.
As an alternative to the weather, Bus Bob and I usually discuss the most efficient way to dodge that final medical bill, destined to drain our bank accounts. Bob, who’s a retired MD, extolls the virtues of pills, while as a onetime medic, I tend to push carbon monoxide. But yesterday it was the Christmas eve phonecall.

“Why Bob!” his friend said. “Is it really you?”

The end of a six-year silence, caused by a violent difference of opinion over the merits of Rush Limbaugh.

“Except for that, we really liked each other a lot,” Bob told me. “Besides, my friend had been trying to cut down on drinking, and I’d just stopped smoking!”

“Life’s too short…,” Bob concluded.

And so it is that as our younger friends and relatives jump up and down up north, we pilgrims to the Elephants’ Graveyard find ourselves mellowing out, smiling at the little contretemps which used to freak us out.

“How’re you doing, Emily?”

“Not so good…”

“Well, tell me about it…”

Or:

“Gonna get a new hip tomorrow!”

“Well, hang in there!” •

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Albright | Link to this Entry

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