March 11, 2010

Blogging Duck

Left to Right: Duck in orange, Jim, Jay, and Georgette, 2006.

Himself: Swam, wash car, cut hair, a great lunch with friends, Amvets, set up one night cheapest reservations at the Queen Mary in Long Beach so we don’t have to drive up and back all on the one day of Bee’s show. He also put up with me and watched “9.”

Herself: Swam, dressed, washed car, lunch with friends, looked for new used swim suit at Amvets, and wrote. Dinner and a modern hair cut for me afterwards. Coughing slightly more.

Reading: Crais: I didn’t like the flashbacks.

Gratitude: Friends, sunshine, steroids.

Long, long ago and far away in time, a kind group of beach going gentlemen adopted two bedraggled, middle-aged drunks. They were a delightful group always laughing, always having fun. One of these kind men, Duck, couldn’t stand to hear the two of us, Georgette and Frankie, moaning and groaning into their hangovers every day. He took the two friends to their first AA meeting.

Conversations on the beach soon blossomed into a friendship of dinner, parties, and symphonies and plays. Duck stuttered a bit, but it didn’t slow him down. After he had been taken for all his money, he attempted suicide. His stutter grew worse. He often couldn’t stop shaking. Many friends stepped in to take care of his finances, but over the years they all died or moved away.

Duck was a recovering alcoholic, a retired interior designer, a successful businessman, and gay with dignity and class. He thought my lover, G, handsome. I agreed. When his latest friend and money man moved to the east coast, handsome G was picked to be Duck’s helpmeet and executor.

Duck’s downhill slide began in 2006. Perhaps we should have noticed earlier when he wore orange on orange to a concert. That wasn’t like him at all. Then he fell. He fell again, and giving in to his entreaties, G let him go back home from the hospital “To see how it went.” Slowly our lives took on a different focus, Duck. Slowly we figured out what he needed. He didn’t always agree. Life was not a boring lot at all.

December 2006 I wrote in the side bar: Duck: Some days we just wait for the other shoe to drop. This morning, mid-way through his second call to me asking when his caretaker Ric would arrive, I figured out that he was asking only because he wanted to go out. “Don’t go out without him,” I said. He sounded so crestfallen that I laughed…after I hung up. Three calls now.

A few days later, frustrated with the many calls and repetitious questions, I write: I see Duck in (a nursing home) soon. He calls and calls, and plaintively calls again wondering when his helper will be there. He should be in a nursing home now. I see myself in a few short years, unable to smell the …. nursing home air, unable to do more than groan, unable to even scratch with hands tied to the frames of the hospital bed. We will all be an “accidentally embedded journalist with a different kind of war to report,” as Barry Corbet said.

“I don’t know your story,” writes one of my readers, but she knows that Duck is important.

I dug into my old blog entries for Duck details to share here. Instead of clarity about a person, I found a cacophony of a beginning blogger. Often the coding on the sidebar was so small that it was not readable. Not only was I inconsistent in my coding, and not knowing the long journey I was on, my words were a jumble I often couldn’t understand today.

The first blog sites themselves had a tendency to crash. Open Diary, OD, was down so often that I finally created a mirror blog on Blogger, Postcards, just so I would have a place to post every day.

In the beginning when I began noting Duck’s adventures, they didn’t always appear on my Postcards site at blogger. If he was mentioned in the main body of the entry, he was in both blogs. Only when I figured out how to put the sidebar in Blogger did Duck bloom forth on two sides. Sometimes the enthusiasm that was Duck got forgotten in the technical details.

At the end of 2006, Duck fell ill and became dehydrated. He was rushed to the emergency room, and after he did a walkabout at the hospital, thinking the cruise ship had arrived and the crowds had left him behind, the doctors put him in a nursing home near our house. We would stop in to visit every day.

This kind man who dragged me off to my first AA meeting and saved my life, now had the two of us watching to keep his life safe, his body comfortable, and his issues taken care of. We did issues very well.


  1. We all need someone like you to watch over us at the end. You and Duck were both very lucky.


  2. Thanks for this update on Duck. In saving you he also saved himself. A wonderful story.

  3. Ah, now I know much about Duck, and about how he fits into your life. Its a good and true story.

    You and G were good and true friends to Duck, as he was to you.

  4. Everyone needs someone like you and G -- and Duck.

    I could use someone like that these days.

  5. I like you miss Duck. I didn't know him. But thanks to you I felt like I did. You were good to each other.

  6. I know that I found it agonizing watching you watch Duck's deterioration, but reading this post makes wonder whether with hindsight, you have managed to keep some of the good memories. Great post.


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