Elbow Grease

I don't mind at all that I didn't complete much work on The Serenity of Knowing in the past month. To the contrary, the joy associated with my daughter moving back to Columbia County kind of overshadowed every-thing. The Thanksgiving holidays were filled with the smells of roasting and baking in my kitchen. I can't help cooking for my daughter. When she comes home, the first question to come out of my mouth is, "Would you like something to eat? A chicken just came out of the oven, or would you just like some of the tuna salad that Carie made this morning?" Whether she says yes or no at first, I can always tempt her with a brownie.

Carie, by the way, is the woman who shows up five days a week at my home to take care of me such that my life can remain elegantly intact. She supervises my bathing and is solely responsible for keeping my skin healthy and supple. Because of her, there are moments when I am almost able to look and feel like the man I used to be. Just before sitting down to write these words, she helped me to put on my socks so that I could be presentable for the arrival of an important afternoon guest. Had it not been for her, I would no doubt have had to remain barefoot. Very often the chicken that comes from the oven has been prepared by Carie because I often don't have enough strength to get it out of the package. It's no different with cans of any description.

My Grandmother used to classify those efforts as needing "elbow grease." Thank you, Grandma, but elbow grease completely eludes me these days. It's the same with juice bottles, which present the problem of getting them open against how tight the lids can be. I'm not often strong enough to execute those and other simple tasks. Coins or slips of paper have no choice but to remain on the floor until Carie's arrival. Bending over to pick them up is nearly impossible, to say nothing of the danger of falling over. There are so many household chores that I used to be able to do that are no longer possible for me whether it be bathroom or kitchen. Thus, over the years it has become a blessing to have Carie to be present to tackle even the most mundane of seemingly tiny jobs.
Neither Carie nor my daughter have been directly involved in the assembly of The Serenity of Knowing.

However, the contributions they have made to my health and well-being have made it possible for me to say yes to the most daunting of creative challenges. Each of them bolsters a part of my life so that the hours of my day are not spent with simply attempting to get up after falling down.

As the last small percent of The Serenity of Knowing spreads itself out before me, there's Laura Glazer, the photographer, who will be instrumental in working with the technicians. She will be largely responsible for bringing the covers and end papers to life with her photography. We are all looking forward to saying that you can judge a book by its cover.

I might get much of the credit for the completion of this beautiful work. Nevertheless, it is with great pleasure that I am able to share the limelight with all of those who have helped me to stand up straight. Let it also be known also that Pastor Drew Paton and the community of Saint Peter's have been uniquely instrumental in helping The Serenity of Knowing to be broadcast worldwide. The prospects for the New Year appear to have me steadily back in the saddle as we wind down to the completion of book covers et al.

All that I can offer at this point is thanks to all of you.

As published in the January 2014 issue of "St. Peter's Press," the monthly newsletter of St. Peter's Presbyterian Church in Spencertown, New York.