When I arrived at the gym this morning, the skyscaper buildings around the complex were shrouded in fog or low clouds. I asked pool pal Gwen, who lives on the fifteenth floor of one of the buildings if she could see the ground from her condo. She said no, and not only that, she couldn’t see the lights across the way in another building. It’s eerie, she shared, but it doesn’t bother me. I intend to hibernate with a book this afternoon.
Gwen, in her 80s and never married, is a former U. S. State Department employee who had an amazing career traveling the world as a single woman. (Think of Sigourney Weaver in the film, A Year of Living Dangerously.)
Most of the older women who belonged to the gym when I first joined have moved from their condos around the area and live in one of the retirement facilities nearby. Some of them are quite gaga according to Karen our instructor who taught water aerobics at one of the facilities for a while.
Most of my former pool pals were wives of high ranking soldiers or State department officials, and most were or are widows. Karen is the former, the widow of a retired Navy guy who died with a brain tumor a couple of years ago. (Most of these husbands died in their sixties or early seventies.)
The main topic of discussion around the pool this morning concerned the 106-year old woman who danced with Mr. Obama this past week. One of the gals knows someone who knows someone who knows the older woman and apparently, the old gal who danced with Obama volunteers in several places, one of them a school. I suppose the moral of this vignette is, “It ain’t over till its over.”
Living in and around Washington DC for the past 56 years, I have met any number of famous or almost famous people as well as someone who knows someone. Like a small town, the tittle-tattle flies and you hear one thing or another which eventually makes news you will never read on social media.
I was reminded of this again when Brother Dunstan, our friend the Benedictine priest came to visit last Sunday. With Kathy here, the conversation gravitated toward a discussion of the untimely death of Justice Scalia. We had all watched the Mass for the Dead, son Paul Scalia gracefully led at the Basilica last Saturday. And, we had all cried through the beautiful service because
No man is an island, entire in himself,
Each is a part of the continent a piece of the main…
Ask not for whom the bell tolls… ~John Donne
Brother D. told us he knew Paul Scalia and Kathy shared that she had met Justice Scalia many times because he loved and often attended the Tridentine Mass offered at a Catholic church here in Washington D.C. (The Tridentine Mass is the Roman Mass celebrated from 1570 until 1962).
Another indirect connection I had to Justice Scalia was though a friend whose son married one of Scalia’s daughters.
Kathy provided yet another example of how we are all connected in one way or another when she told us about the day she was having lunch in one of the fancy downtown restaurants and Donald Trump and his wife (at the time) had a loud fight in the vestibule. Apparently the wife took off her very expensive wedding ring and threw it at ‘The Donald.’