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Well, yes, actually, I did.

I don't know how many people reading this have met Dancer, the thoroughly-incorrigible stuffed rabbit hand puppet who's lived with me since he told me his very favorite thing in the whole wide world the moment we met in an artists' co-op in Boulder, Colorado, during my first trip to Boulder in the summer of '85.

Those who have met Dancer know exactly what I'm talking about. Those who haven't? No worries; all will be revealed shortly.

On the other hand, perhaps worrying is totally in order here.

I just spent 29 hours visiting Susan Palermo in the hospital. It's my fifth such visit this year, and Dancer's third.

Susan was dozing, dozing, dozing when Sister Nadine arrived for a pastoral visit Monday afternoon. The nun immediately noticed the addition to the stuffed cat and dog that regularly keep Susan company in her hospital bed. I introduced Dancer to Sister Nadine, explained that he visits when I do, and proceeded to tell her the same thing darned near everyone who's ever met Dancer knows about him:

"Dancer's very favorite thing in the whole wide world is when complete strangers put their hand up his...bum."

Oh, yes, I really did.

The story gets better. Sister Nadine's response was to reach for Dancer. She quickly had him quivering with delight. Then she helped Dancer give Susan his super-enthusiastic, oh-so-happy-to-see-you greeting, snuggling her neck, stroking her face, and dancing on her head.

Sister Nadine made Dancer one happy, lively bunny. I'm pretty sure he was a nun virgin before today.

Much as she loves Dancer, Susan wasn't having any of it. Ghu know what sorts of dreams the interlude prompted, but she continued snoozing, snoozing, snoozing. It's one of the signs that the glioblastoma multiforme is running its usual course. Sister Nadine and I had an interesting, friendly talk and she prayed for Susan before she left.

Other fun, loved-filled things happened during those 29 hours, a good handful of them while Susan was awake to enjoy them. I'm thankful she pretty much always has a loved one with her and I'm honored to have been that person for those 29 hours this time around, to have helped, and to have gained even more blessings than I've given. I don't know how something so horrible can possibly also come with so much that is good, but that's certainly been true since the first 30 minutes of this horrible, horrible year.

Cancer still sucks. It sucks warm, flat Canadian TAB from a dirty glass with half a dead rat smoking a cigarette in the bottom of it. All that and then some.

As if any of us needed me to say it for that to be clear, true, and all too real.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 12th, 2011 08:25 am (UTC)
You are a truly good friend (not that this comes as any surprise).

As for Dancer, I don't know if you've ever been to the Burbank, CA, airport, but pickup there requires you to wait on a curb while cars drive by in two heavily congested lanes and then pull over every-which-way while loading/unloading. The curb is curved so it's hard for passengers to see drivers and cars, and hard for drivers to see whether the person they're picking up is waiting. My brother's solution is to open his sunroof and have his bunny (similar operation to Dancer) wave at me so I can spot him from further away :->
Apr. 12th, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
I haven't been to Burbank airport, but the bunny-through-the-sunroof solution is one that would help at many others, so I can easily imagine how useful it is at an airport where visibility is even worse than the usual.

I'm amused to know there are two of us Jerry's (Geri's) out there with stuffed bunny hand puppets serving useful functions in entertaining ways.
Apr. 12th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
You'll get no argument from me.

Nuns (or to be pedantic, sisters, as nuns are technically only the cloistered ones) include a lot of very cool people. If the whole Catholic Church was like many of the sisters I've known, I might still belong. (Even if I had the same lack of belief that I do, I might belong just for the company.)
Apr. 12th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the nun vs sister differentiation; I previously thought they were all the same.

Thanks to Brother Guy, I've come to understand the difference between Jesuit priests and brothers, but I'm pretty much in the dark regarding nuns, sisters, and where chaplains fit into Catholicism. Your reply will prompt me to investigate further.
Apr. 12th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
Cancer still sucks. It sucks warm, flat Canadian TAB from a dirty glass with half a dead rat smoking a cigarette in the bottom of it. All that and then some.

I must share this with a non-LJ friend. The image is perfect for how I feel about cancer.
Apr. 12th, 2011 10:00 pm (UTC)
Dancer's got good taste in people.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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