Friends Indeed

A couple of months ago, a couple of our local celebrities, E & M–musicians and gatherers of lost children and all-around wonderful people–experienced a tragedy. E had a stroke and was in the hospital for over a month.  He is home now–but in a wheelchair and without the use of his left arm.

Many, many people have made the trek out to their place to help with day-to-day tasks, and a big collective effort ensued to build a ramp allowing wheelchair access to the dome house E & M built themselves.  This isn’t any run-of-the-mill ramp–the main level of the dome is high off the ground–it’s a feat of engineering and love.

The night E returned from the hospital, a windstorm came through that knocked an old tree right through the roof–ripping a big hole and spewing blown-in insulation everywhere.  H and I went out yesterday to find the fix-it team at work–replacing the insulation in the repaired ceiling.

We brought out a wheelchair that H had from when his dad was alive–one that promised to be more comfortable than the one E was currently using.  The morning before we went out, I ran into a good friend of theirs and asked what I might bring.

She said that M has been working hard to take care of E and to feed all the helpers they’ve had coming through, and maybe some food would be a good idea.  So, I loaded up a cooler with a couple of chickens and roasts, and a box of canned goods and produce.

Though M was thankful for the food, I could see it wasn’t nearly enough.  When pressed, she admitted that they had run out of food stamps and wouldn’t get another round for ten days.  They are running low on a lot of staples.  She confided that she’d spent the utility money on supplies to level the kitchen floor so E could get around more easily.

Making it harder is the timing of this tragedy–they usually have a huge, productive garden, but they weren’t able to get it in this year.  E has been the marathon canner in the family–preserving all that produce for the winter months.  M hasn’t even been able to get out to pick their strawberries or raspberries.

They are keeping their chins up–E says his “cup runneth over” and that it’s hard to feel sorry for himself and his inability to form chords on his guitar when he sees how everyone has pulled together to help.  He’s hoping to learn the keyboard–something he’s always wanted to do.

M is holding together–hosting and feeding all the folks who’ve come out to help, taking care of E, trying to make ends meet and scrimp where she can.  It’s hard to believe a heart as big as hers can fit inside that tiny but wiry and determined frame.  But it has been difficult, and the stress is peeking through the cracks of her brave demeanor.

So, as she was fixing breakfast for E, I found a pen and paper started quizzing her on what they needed–coffee? Flour? Sugar? Fruit? Everything.

This is the real good of social networking–putting the call out on Facebook, we are getting together a good delivery of basics and some treats besides.  I went to the store and picked up everything on the list and then there were donations of home-canned goodness and frozen soup and a dozen ears of corn.

And a keyboard and stand for E–and some books to go along with it.  Right now we are looking for a 12v power supply for it, but I have faith there’s one out there somewhere that will come to us.

I’m heading out this afternoon with the load (and maybe a little cash to help with the bills and other necessities) and to see if I can’t get M to let me harvest and freeze the strawberries and help fix dinner.

It should be made clear that what H and I are giving is little compared to what others have been doing over the last couple of months–it’s a small contribution beside all of the love and care and support and sheer sweat equity that has been given by friends and family since E had his stroke.


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