26 November 2015
Today is Thanksgiving Day in USA and our friends Karen and Dick have come over from New York to spend it with me in Lyme Regis. This time last year they came to England to be with Chris and me at Folly Cottage during her final days. She was struggling to get around by then, but made it to the kitchen table for a fine dinner of salt marsh lamb and roasted vegetables.
Chris always had a lively sense of gratitude for the bounty of life and she loved the whole business of Thanksgiving. It was typical of her that the last words she spoke before she slipped into unconsciousness just five days later, were “Thank you.”
One year on, and I’m pondering the many things I want to give thanks for since last time. First, of course, I thank Chris for loving me and allowing me to love and care for her until the very end. She taught me so much when we were together and she teaches me still, to live artfully and to love life.
Next, I thank my children Nicky, Jamie, Georgie and Tom and the many friends who have rallied round for the ways in which they have demonstrated that, even though Chris has gone, I am not alone. To list them all would be impossible and to exclude any would be invidious, so I shall not attempt to name them here. You know who you are and I thank you sincerely.
Star prize, of course, goes to Teddy (aka Captain Midnight) for his unremitting, unconditional, animal love especially when I’m distressed. It is truly humbling to receive the gifts of his solicitous snufflings and his bounding, canine energy. He doesn’t know that I know that he sometimes borrows my laptop to write a blog, but I forgive him this foible and happily acknowledge both his moral and his literary superiority. As one Facebook friend put it, #capmidnightrules.
This evening, Karen, Dick and I will be eating locally-caught, fresh brown trout and drinking some of Chris’s favourite white wine, a few bottles of which I found in France this summer: a 2008 Clos de Papillon from the village of Savennières in the Loire valley. When Chris and I visited the secluded vineyard together a few summers ago, she dropped her trousers and peed between the vines, “to improve the terroir.”
Maybe that’s why the wine is so good?