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Big Bear and Glenn Beck

Posted Jul 20 2010 12:43pm
We spent the weekend at Big Bear. Big Bear is a small town in the San Bernardino mountains with a lake. Cabins populate the hills around the lake and weekenders travel to get away. It's really a nice place for a get-away. But dang, is it tiring.

We've been mostly house bound thanks to the lung issues and side effects that were caused by the attempt to take Afinitor. Poor Glenda was consigned to taking care of me from the days I was barely able to move or breathe. The agony of the chest pain that resulted from the intense coughing kept me from eating or drinking and it resulted in my losing 17 pounds in just over two weeks.

The situation left me looking like what I am, a cancer patient. I appeared gaunt and shriveled. We could not sleep or get any real rest. Poor Glenda is a very light sleeper--I tease her that she hears humming birds. I tease her that the reason she wakes so easily is that she's so nosey and wants to see what's going on.

She just rolls her eyes and gives me a "be quiet" tinged with the southern accent I love.

Anyhoo, we drove to Big Bear with friends who own a cabin. We spent the days sitting. Ironically, it's what we do at home and we thought it was supposed to relax us. Saturday we spend a few hours boating on the lake which was fun. Glenda doesn't swim or go on boats so we walked through the village and did some intense window shopping.

Or we called it that but it was actually her walking and me trying to keep up. The foot blisters slowed me down some which made Glenda shake her head at me. Also, walking up hill wore me out. My endurance is still low and uphill walking takes a toll on me.

Glenda complained that I should have gone on the boat but I didn't like the idea of leaving her alone. I can't win with her some days.

I stay ashore with her and she complains that I walk too slow for her. Women.

We missed a horrible heat wave in San Jacinto. Saturday reached 115 degrees while we basked in 85 degree weather in Big Bear. Perfect timing eh what?

We arrive home exhausted. Glenda walked in the door and plopped on the couch with her purse and the bags she was carrying, too tired to put them all down. I went to the bedroom and laid down to sleep for what turned out to be a three hour nap.

It was a great weekend.

This morning, I read that pundit/author Glenn Beck is going blind. Beck was diagnosed with Macular Dystrophy, a progressive disease that will render him blind in less than a year.

Beck announced the news at a Salt Lake City talk where he broke down several times.

"I know what my wife looks like. I know what my children look like. I have a great imagination. I know what color looks like...but I love to read," said Beck as he broke down at the thought of not being able to read.

As he said those words, my chest tightened, my throat constricted and tears threatened to flood my eyes. The thought of not being able to read a book is one of the worst thing a person can miss.

I could certainly understand his lamenting losing his ability to read more than anything else.

I'm an avid reader. I love to hold books and look at the words printed on the pages. Even the smell of the paper and the ink make me happy so Beck's announcement was painful to hear. My sympathy for his loss was overwhelming. I came close to breaking down for him.

To his credit Beck joked that, "I am too lazy to learn Braille." Besides it won't be the same.

The Twilight Zone once had an episode starring Burgess Meredith in whih he was a bank clerk who was a devoted bookaholic. He wore the typical thick glasses. He preferred books to people and would often go down the basement vault to read during his lunch. He loved being alone with his books.

I know that feeling well.

One day, as he is reading a great blast occurs. When Meredith exits to the surface, he sees the world has been destroyed by a nuclear holocaust. He is alone.

So, he makes his way to the nearby library where he plans to be alone with his beloved books sans the people he disliked so much. As he is getting comfortable, he trips and his thick glasses fall off his face, shattering on the ground.

The irony was shocking to me when I first saw it. To be so close to so many books yet being unable to read them is tragic.

Books are wonderful. They have an aroma all their own, just like a perfume will give off a different scent when it's applied to a different woman. The ink on the page. The font and the texture on the cover of the book all have personalities of their own.

Before I open a book, I will often roll it in my hands. I'll feel the cover and the edges of the pages as I hold the book closed. Once I open it, I will hold it close to my face and breathe in the scent. Then I will look at the lines of words and start absorbing the words. And I am off to whatever world the book is taking me to.

Instantly, we become friends.

Politics aside, I hope and pray Beck experiences a miracle and gets his vision back. Losing the ability to enjoy a book is such a tragic shame.
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