David, Coco and David's brother Paul

David, Coco and David’s brother Paul, 1950

I’m sitting here with a stack of papers..forms, prescriptions, previous schedules for therapy.  David returned from Doc’s office and says, “You told me to let you schedule my therapy visits.”  And yes, I did, and now he’s asleep in his chair while I phone the Outpatient Rehab facility.

Trips to the hospital to see his orthopedic surgeon for cortisone shots wear him out, although he reports finding a handicap parking spot next to the door. He took his Metformen before he left and ate his breakfast in the hospital cafeteria, which he loves because they serve grits.

David got up with me at 6:00 AM, started the coffee, let the dogs out making enough noise to frighten away the 40-lb raccoon Kathy says shuffles along the perimeter of our fence, and defrosted my car for the drive to the gym.  Who could ask for more from a 84-year old husband?

Before I left for the gym, I measured out the bird seed and he filled the feeders after I had gone. Lovely man has learned to love birds.


Karen our usual instructor, was absent this morning, so we had exuberant Ellen.   Karen is the kinder, gentler aqua instructor, and Ellen is her opposite.  After 40 minutes I paddled out of the pool felling guilty for not staying the full hour. Ellen is off to Argentina and Chile for two months, “to play,” as she puts it,  while her husband studies Spanish.

I should not make a broad statement about a whole group of women, but I’ve known a few over the years, who like some field grade military wives, “wear their husband’s rank on their own shoulders.” The first Foreign Service Officer’s relative I met was not a wife, but the daughter of a FSO (really a CIA operative, retired) who, because I voiced displeasure over the war in Vietnam, lectured me on Communism over a game of bridge.

Later, in a retail job, I worked with a woman whose husband had been a FSO in Italy.  During evenings when the store was half empty and we had to stay clocked in until 10:00 PM, she often entertained me with tales of FSO shenanigans.  Mostly, I learned from her how FSO and their family members engage in all sorts of abuses, such as getting away with traffic violations because the are “diplomats.”

Several women who attend the aqua fitness class are FSO wives.  One in particular, the widow of a FSO who served in Libya, annoys me.  One day, she and I argued about the Arab Spring, which she thought was wonderful, and I thought would end badly.

David’s brother Paul was a foreign service officer who served in Central and South America (Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala), and though he was a jerk, his wife was a jewel.  Coco was a nurse, and carried on with her nursing wherever she went and whether she was paid or not. When they retired back home in NC, she continued to work with the Red Cross until she died, flying at her own expense to various areas around the country to assist with one disaster or another. We always knew when a flood, tornado or some other catastrophe occurred, Coco would be there. David loved her dearly and says “She was the best thing Paul had going for him.”

Karen will be back on Monday, so I can unruffle my feathers.


14 thoughts on “

  1. We love our Caren here, and I too feel guilty when I leave early which I do every day. I go over to the hot tub and do my stretches there. Really helps. Then I go to work. 🙂
    Yes, you got a gem….but he’s slowing down a bit.


  2. I just like to hear the thoughts of another person who lives on the other side of the world to me. Her life her love and her memory – all wrapped up in the written word
    Thanks Dianne
    Take care Cathy


  3. I do so enjoy the way you touch so many intriguing topics in few words and wrap up so creatively. From the lovely man who has come to love birds to unruffling your feathers. Have a great weekend.


  4. My husband is starting to love the birds, too. I need to train him like yours on filling the feeders! I do hope all goes well with your husband’s physical therapy and I hope that Karen returns to water aerobics soon!


  5. I know two people who served in the Foreign Service. The woman served in West Berlin and then in Guatemala, while the man served in Chad, Africa. Both previously were former Peace Corps Volunteers. I admire them for their high intelligence, perseverance, and compassion.


    • Some are wonderful some are dorks. Over the four decades I’ve lived in Washington, I have known hundreds of FSO and their wives and many more Peace Corps people. Sooner or later they move here.

      Sent from my iPad



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s