Monday, October 8, 2012


I was experiencing “one of those days.” We all have them, and in this technologically challenging time, trying to correct a screw-up with someone in India, for whom English is a second language to the “tech jargon” that got them one of the jobs we shipped overseas isn't always easy.

My sister, Ruth, put up with my “frustration rant” and returned an email that made mine fade to insignificance. You see, she's in Home Hospice care, dying from bone cancer. We've exchanged emails for decades, through good times and bad, and I've saved every one of them – must be in the high hundreds now, or more. She wrote:

Let me tell you about my frustrating days, while you are waiting for yours to get fixed. I have opted out of the new, radioactive injection for pain. It seems that my wonderfully attentive Hospice cannot pay for the injection. In order to get it, I would have to allow them to take me out of their hospice program, so that Medicare would pay for it, and then re-enroll me as soon as possible.

However, there would have to be frequent blood tests because the drug potentially reduces the white blood cells, and they would need to be monitored frequently. So, if I am between Hospice care and Medicare, who will pay for that coverage? Will I be in Hospice or in Medicare? Do I want to risk any hang up with the Hospice since they have been such life savers to me? My answer keep coming back as 'cancel the injection.' It doesn't work in all cases anyway, and I can foresee so many problems if I allow them to take me out of one program in order to get Medicare to pay for the expensive medicine. It just doesn't feel good. I'll just stick with the Morphine.”

(Sadly, Ruth has just passed away because of her cancer)
Despite the cancer, Ruth is one of the most joyful people I know. She has a “bucket list,” which is mostly figuring out how, and whom to help, before she passes. Over a lifetime she acquired many beautiful things. Now, between her “meds” she's giving them away. Each of the many gifts she has already given provides her with more pleasure than she had in acquiring it.
At age 81, I have a “bucket list,” too. At the very top of my bucket list, after continuing to live to the best of my ability by the precepts of my Lord and Savior, and remain fit enough to care for the wife I've loved for almost 60 years, is to continue to exchange emails with Ruth for as long as we both are able.
Underneath those important aims, there are a number of others – from sharing or giving my latest book, SALES TIPS FOR ARTISTS, to as many of the creative people who provided beautiful art for me to sell for more than twenty years or to those artists from more than sixty countries who have listened to my free podcasts on on how to sell what they create.

That sounds like a “business bucket,” doesn't it? It WOULD be nice if it brought in a few welcome dollars in this unstable economy, but if it doesn't, I'll find a convenient way to get it into as many hands that want and feel they might benefit from it as possible.

Below that are some fanciful “maybes,” which will probably never happen, like doing an “elder Bush” parachute jump or a ride in a hot air balloon.

Here's one, I'm pretty sure I can accomplish. I live in Venice, Florida, a lovely place just a short drive from Casey Key on the Gulf and almost eight miles of beautiful road, lined on both sides with spectacular, multimillion dollar mansions. I'll never own one, nor would want to, but they look out over some of God's most beautiful views. There's very limited public access to the white sand beach; just a little at the two extreme ends. Unless you own one of the mansions, or know someone who does, most of that eight mile stretch is very private.

Because I'm still in good health, one of the things in my “bucket,” when it get's a little cooler, is to walk the entire stretch of beach along the water's edge and look at the views the mansion owners paid millions for. 
I can do that because their private property, by law, only extends to the tide line. West of that, all the way to the horizon, I own it.

So do you and everyone else. I can sit and drink a cup of coffee looking out at the same scene, Mr. Big Bucks sees when his pretty French maid brings him his coffee in the morning in the finest porcelain cup and saucer. If he's actually out sitting out in his cabana, he may be surprised to see me sitting with my coffee and ask me what I'm doing there.

My guess is, that if we chatted, I'd find he was a pretty nice guy. You don't earn that many dollars by mistreating people. He might even send his French maid to get me a cold drink or freshen-up my coffee.
For years and years, my wife always fixed the coffee and brought it to me. Now our roles, by necessity, are reversed. Sometimes we make it together in the kitchen of the nice little house we own, and she hands it to me in my favorite mug, just like she used to.

Do you think Mr. Big Bucks' coffee, brought to him by his French maid in the fine porcelain cup tastes any better?

I doubt it.


Linda dadson said...

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Poppy said...

Sorry to hear about your friend. But happy to hear about the book - when will it be available?
Thanks for all the advice. Keep up the good work.