Ades (pronounced ādiss) came up for his annual summer visit. He's one of Michael's closest college buddies, one of many who fondly call each other by their last names. His wife and daughter stayed behind this time and he arrived, as always, bearing gifts: an expensive bottle of ten-year-old bourbon for me and a wine and champagne chiller for the house.

From the moment Paul arrived his attention was on Calvin, who gave him a big mid-lunch welcome hug from the confines of his high chair. It was clear that Paul's heart melted in between messy peanut butter and jelly fingers.

At one point Paul asked if he could take Calvin's harness reins and walk him around the house and yard. The nurse, who was helping us out that day, showed him the ropes. Watching them I realized that, besides family and a few close friends who I've enlisted to help out in Michael's absence, I couldn't recall anyone else ever—besides, perhaps, Elmer—asking to walk Calvin around.

Ades stayed for the day, ate lobster rolls and chips on a boat ride which Michael skippered down the Kennebeck river to its mouth at Ft. Popham. Upon returning, he made us rum and tonics which we sipped while feeding Calvin dinner in the screen porch, something we almost never do. We stayed up late eating Vietnamese flank steak and rice noodles with a cucumber-radish salad, courtesy of Michael. The rest of the time was spent shooting the shit, telling funny stories of college buddies like Wolf and Eric Reardon and watching the moonlight crest over the housetop. I said goodnight to the boys an hour or more before midnight, adding, "I love you guys." Ades replied, "I love you guys, too."

Later, from my bedroom's open window, I heard Michael suggest to Ades a moonlight stroll that, once inside and with the promise of much needed sleep, never transpired. Shortly after eight in the morning Ades left for home saying goodbye to, "his favorite nine-year-old in the world."

And although I know that Ades doesn't like this kind of attention, I couldn't resist sharing his love.


  1. How is it going with the PH probe? Not too bad, I hope.

    Julia RR

    1. julia, you are so kind to ask. he did very well. a funny update today, momentarily. xoxo

  2. The offer to walk Calvin around really got to me. This is something that has never happened in these parts -- despite my dear friends and all they give to me, not a single one has offered to take Sophie for a walk in all these years.

  3. Dear Christy,
    this post struck me...I'd rather write to you privately, but instead I'm sharing.

    I have walked Pietro, in his wheel chair (do you still use the verb "to walk"?!) while I "baby sat" him for an hour while his mother did some errands or went to church. I felt so helpless, I mean that I couldn't really help them in their dayly life. But in the period he was struggling with the disease that got him in his last 2 years, we found this simple way to baby sit for just one hour and I've always preferred to go with him in the garden.

    Last week I was in Toscana at the seaside and I had the chance to meet an ex-collegue. We met 20 years ago in Milan, both working in the same school, teaching Italian to foreigners. 19 years ago her son Tiziano was born and there were problems, severe problems...I followed all those first years of terrible discoveries. I met Tiziano again, he's almost 19 and while his mama and I were chatting, he wanted me to interact with him. So we communicated through a keyboard and a display, I learnt how to sustain his left arm so that he could type, I learnt how to help him not to loose his concentration by hitting his chest with his arm as this is the gesture taught by the therapists. Then he wanted me to play basketball, better said I watched him playing from his wheel chair, taking the ball if it ran too far or in unaccesible spots. I canot play basketball!
    For me it was a way to better know him, to share something with him, to have a little glimpse in my friend's life with his son.
    At the beginning I was embarrassed and clumpsy. Please, consider that people can have fear of hurting, of doing something wrong, of putting the child/boy in a difficult situation he won't be able to handle.
    When I let go all these fears, when I leave all these worries behind, I feel I can get in touch even if for a little while. There are some practical things that require knowledge and special needs training but I've learnt that when I let go, even the judgment his own parents could have about me doing/saying somethin wrong/offending, then I can get in touch, I can just be there.


    P.S. Tiziano is truggling with some new severe epilepsy issues...While typing her mother noticed his eyes movements and she could tell he was having epilepsy activity. Not good...

    1. federica, your comments mean so much to me. thank you for sharing with others, too. your perspective is wonderful. i wish one day that we could meet. xoxo