I've known my best buddy 35 years. He was 10 years old, and I was 15. When my high school band would play a concert for the grade school kids, I'd snatch buddy Eric from class to help set up my drums. We've been tight every since.
We've never been ticked at each other, no fights. Oddly enough, we even look similar. So similar, that if we go to Burlington to gander at chicks, we make sure to not wear similar clothes; if we did, we'd look like absolute nimrods.
We're both self-employed, which gives one total flexibility over one's schedules. (Since the Royal wedding I've been on a kick of using, "one" instead of "someone" or "somebody.")
So, I'm utilizing my flex schedule next week and visiting my sister Holly in Albuquerque, N.M.
A couple of days, Holly and I will spend in Santa Fe looking at art and blue sky. It'll be fun. Always good to see my sister, who works as a campus director at a college. Like me and my pal Eric, Holly is single. Holly and I are very close, too. If we have the rare argument, it's not anything lasting more then a few minutes.
Eric, a woodsman, just took a two-day jaunt to Maine to rummage around the woods looking for moose sheds.
Eric doesn't plan his scouting trips; he decides to do them and then-boom, bang-he's off. He lands way up the end of a road he's hunted for years, 70 miles from the nearest Hannaford supermarket, and 30 miles from the nearest Ma n' Pa store that he says, is more like a real Ma and Pa's house- where one can buy cigs and boiled eggs-than a general store.
Eric brings hamburgs, hot dogs, a small cook stove, soda, and a tiny heater, and camps in back of his early 2000s model Dodge Durango truck.
Eric describes his scavenger hunt for moose sheds with the zeal of a geology grad student on an African safari. He retires at 7:30 p.m. in the rear of his Durango; he falls asleep to the call of nearby loons. Rising at 5:30 a.m., and stepping through the deep Maine wilderness for hours and hours searching for sheds, the only sound he hears when he stops for a bit of lunch is the sound of the wind.
Now Holly has two cats. She's around folks all day at work, but mostly when she's home, beside black and white Nickie and Natalie, she's alone. She will take an overnight in Santa Fe every now and then, sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone.
I live with my cat Scarlet at road's end, high up the side of a mountain, in a house with very little space to hang art because of the abundance of windows set through which to view other mountains and many valleys and various critters of land and air. I'm not a woodsman, but I take a daily hike behind my house to the ridge of the mountain, alone, worshiping nature's many gifts each step of the way. My hikes take and hour or two.
I'm not as hardy as Eric in that I'd rather sleep in a comfortable bed then in the back of a rig. Eric, my sister, and I apparently would just as soon sleep alone.
I'm often asked, "You don't have kids? Aren't you scared you'll be alone when you get older with no one to take care of you?"
No. I'm alone now and not scared. Am I going to change when I'm 75 and start not enjoying living alone? I doubt it.
I know a woman with six kids, grandkids numbering in the teens, and a few great grandkids. She's age 75, widowed, seemingly doing quite well, but if you talk with her it becomes apparent that she's nearly always feeling very alone, lonesome, depressed, her kids say. I know for a fact that a couple of this woman's kids and grandkids check in with her a day or two a week-so for her to say she's always alone isn't literally accurate. She just feels alone in relation to her hey day when her husband was alive and her kids were all younger and at home. And this she feels with kids, grandkids and great grand kids living all very close to her, many in the same small town.
Maybe living alone is good because if you live to be very old, you're mostly forgotten, or should I say, you're not normally on the top of everyone's visiting list?
In our youthful and coupled society relevancy has not set a place for you to sit; your kids have kids who have kids who get the attention, so if you end up spending most all of your time alone, if you're used to being alone, you won't feel abandoned, lonesome, and in some cases depressed.
So, all you folks who're surrounded by lots of family all the time: don't you go worrying about Holly, Eric, and I.
If we three live out our last years mostly alone, you may want to envy us or at least study us just a touch to see how we're spending great amounts of time alone. You may want to call on a similar ability in your final years.
Maybe it is a good thing to be alone.
Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger."