November 24, 2004

For Maddy and Emily

For Maddy and Emily.

This kind of news is like a standing wave in the social continuum. No matter how long you choose to live with the receiver shut off, one day you brush by the switch and there it is. It was cousin Maggie who broke through the wall. further proof if ever it were needed that the three most terrifying developments of human history are religion, thermonuclear weapons and Google.

It's still a bit raw at the moment. I was never really any good at sorting out my feelings, and I can tell you they're about as organised as a grand mal seizure right now. The two things I've been musing on since talking to Maggie, though, have been Emily-the-Quadruped and That Bloody Tree.

ETQ: Why do petite women who live in tiny apartments keep woolly mammoths as pets? My sister is the same. At least Maddy wasn't into 2-meter pythons at the same time.
But Emily was the best walking-tour guide Philadelphia had to offer. She knew some sixteen different routes to the doggy park, each incorporating more sites of historical significance than you could shake a stick at if you ever got it out of her mouth. So whenever she'd been at the cat food or I'd been running my mouth with the brain out of gear and Maddy was using That Tone Of Voice the two of us would make ourselves scarce and head off out into the bracing sleet in search of some new feature in the cradle of democracy to wonder at or pee on according to our inclinations. I have their photograph in front of me, nose-to-nose on the rug. If you could bottle the looks in their eyes you could buy Brunei as a weekend getaway. Together forever. I'll try to think of that as a consolation.

TBT: A blue spruce, if I remember correctly, about the size of the Eiffel Tower. No kidding, this thing had its own ZIP code and micro-climate. We bought it off a couple of very dodgy-looking characters outside the bodega up the road who gave every impression of having just returned from a nocturnal expedition to a National Forest. Getting it in through the front door was like assaulting the gates of Helm's Deep with a battering ram. As for erecting it in the window bay my comments regarding the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima were not received with anything like the appreciation I had been expecting. This was in the days just after The Flood, where Maddy had lost just about everything she owned apart from the Christmas ornaments. A mere couple of truckloads. You could have decorated Mont Blanc with the stuff, and in a damned sight more safety. Getting the star up would have brought an appreciative murmur from Ed Hillary. But it looked great in the end, three dog-walks (see above) later, and in a very real sense represented the high point of our relationship. I shall never experience anything quite like that again.

One journey has ended. My heart tells me that another has begun. Haere ki te aranui, Madeline. Aroha. Arohanui.

Neil Newman

Posted by maddyfriends at 06:36 PM

November 22, 2004

Happy Birthday Darlin'

Your first birthday Maddy without a wild search for a rude card, a fitting present connected with food, or other major life pleasures. I just want you to know how much I miss having someone to laugh with so hard my stomach hurts. Much love, J.

Posted by maddyfriends at 07:27 PM