The Other 364

11/22/2018 6 By BuddyCushman

We have flannel sheets, Susan and I, on the bed. Soft chocolate brown. I think they cost twenty-five or thirty bucks a year ago, maybe it was two. But, here’s the thing. I crawl into bed at night, it’s cold, I’m always cold now that I lost all this weight, and the sheets are already warm, they’re inviting and comforting and even caring in their own threaded way, and more nights than not I actually giggle. Out loud a little. Because it feels so good, slipping into a kind bed with chocolate brown soft warm sheets, and I could be out there in the cold somewhere on a bench or sharing some cot space in a crowded shelter room – as in there but for the grace of God go I – but I’m here instead, and giggling or not, what I feel is grateful.

I open the cabinet door in our rather small kitchen and up on the third shelf see two plastic jars of Trader Joe’s Almond Butter, the chunky version, a food my wife has eaten in small quantities on stalks of celery or rice cakes, or mixed with morning yogurt forever, and which I have only begun eating within my now nearly four-month-old dietary change of low carb, no sugar, no flour, heavy on the fat and protein life, so I tasted the almond butter one day and then again and again and by now, as I look up in the cabinet, almond butter is the new ice cream, the new carrot cake, the new marionberry scone, and there is a jar in the fridge with bottom-clinging remnants after another “snack” by me, and I look and I see two unopened jars, and I feel grateful.

There are five humongously  large Douglas firs in Susan’s back yard – where I spend a lot of time – and in my new routine of getting up every day at 4:30 and doing all my morning things including coffee and meditation and heavy reading and writing down 10 ideas and a brief To Do list for the day, I get outside at the old crack of dawn and I look up at the trees, and seek shelter under them if it’s raining, and I look at a maple that has grown up from a bitty thing these last three years and was all fall-color-leafed last week and now the winds have knocked the tree mostly bare, and the branches tell a Picasso story, and I realize how blessed I am to live in such a lovely place and space and have such a most amazing woman as a partner and best friend in the world, and I feel grateful.

My Taurus is still running, I think the owner up at VUs added tar to the crankcase, and I have three old, stained, fairly slobby thick sweatshirts that I wear as guard against the dropping temperature, especially what with me being one with anorexics and all, and I have a favorite coffee cup my son and daughter-in-law brought me from Alaska, and I’ve read seven of 50 books I said I’d read and have the time and have made the time to do it, and I still went to the library and used my free library card today, and I posted on both Instagram and Facebook a drawing I made of a cow with a stubby #6B pencil on the back of a piece of scrap paper, and I can see four guitars I own over there leaning one way or another in the basement and a $1.19 notebook with a whole bunch of songs I wrote a few years ago, and see five books I have written and self-published and which so far I have lost a bunch of money on, but I can see five books I wrote, and my crazy abstract painting, a big one, 30 x 40, titled “In the Woods Behind Donnie’s House” which is my painterly interpretation of pristine golden time I spent in the woods behind Donnie Sisson’s house growing up, day after day, year after year, all those memories including a five-inch scar on the inside of my right leg etched out some 55 or so years ago from a failed balancing act on a few yards of old barbed wire, and I remain powerfully connected, even if only in spirit, to my hometown of Wareham, Mass and growing up with people of different colors and the lifelong lessons of appreciating, not denigrating, difference, and I have five pairs of thick socks and the money to buy grass-fed hamburger for our dinner tonight and a whole new way to experience the food aspect of Thanksgiving tomorrow – though not the day itself – and enough money in the bank to buy a cheap very used car if necessary and about eight pieces of my story-telling fiction and non-fiction in some stage of progress, patiently, I can say, waiting on me, and I haven’t had a drink or a drug since mid April 1983 or a cigarette since ’84, and I have two wonderful sons and a lovely, kind daughter-in-law and three amazingly wondrous grand-kids, and I feel grateful.

Not just tomorrow. All through each day, all 364 of the others. They haven’t drawn a white-chalk outline around me just yet, which means I start expecting good things every morning I drag myself out of that warm bed and those chocolate sheets, away from my loving partner, and down into the cold and dark to sit a while and then read and have some coffee. And oh – those first two cups of coffee.

There sure is a lot to be grateful for.