Last year my brother Phil lost his wife only a few days after he became an octogenarian. We were all worried how he would survive alone in his house on a small lake off a dirt road half an hour northwest of Lake George, New York.
I call him every day to see how he’s doing, and on New Year’s Day I asked Phil how late he had stayed up on New Year’s Eve. His answer puzzled me, “I went to bed around 1 AM.”
“Was everything alright?” I asked with more than a bit of anxiety in my voice. “What were you doing at that hour?”
“I was skyping with a friend,” he explained.
“You were skyping with a friend?” I repeated as if I were hard of hearing.
“Yes, I was skyping with a friend,” he said again as if I were hard of hearing.
“What friend were you skyping with at 1AM on New Year’s Eve?” I continued.
“I reconnected with my high school prom date?” Phil explained rather nonchalantly.
“You did what?” I asked proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that I must be hearing impaired, “We have been skyping with each other for some time now. I saw her 14 years ago at our 50th high school reunion, and she lost her husband over a year ago.”
Those of you who know me know that I am rarely silent, but silent I was upon hearing this news. Finally I continued the conversation, “When might you be moving forward with this reconnection?”
“She will be driving up from Virginia to visit me later this month,” he explained.
“And how long might your prom date be staying with you?” I asked overcome by curiosity. Phil’s response was a classic, “She will be staying anywhere between two and five...years....depending upon who dies first.”
And so it happened. My brother and his prom date reconnected, and I was more than a bit interested in how this romance was progressing.
Days after she arrived in the Adirondack Mountains, Phil called me and sounded delightfully happy. “How are things going?” I asked my brother. And then he told me what he had said to me many years ago when I was on a trip to Africa to see wild animals, “Sofari, so good.”