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8-30-2022 - The Trees part 12 - Things I made up

Dear Friends,


The saga continues. I can't thank those of you enough who have been encouraging me on this journey.


*****


In the almost thirty years that had passed since they first met, Dan and Jan learned to lean on each other when they needed to lean on someone. Even though they had been blessed with amazing children and friends and a truly supportive family, it was each other’s counsel they needed most.


The drive to Tucson was one of those moments.


Dan had talked to Ferdie Ruiz about giving Cole some extra things to do on Friday night. He trusted Cole, but with everything that had happened, he was a bit worried that Cole might see having the house to himself that night as an opportunity to make a couple of bad decisions. The house wouldn’t get burned down, but Cole might want to have his buddies and their girlfriends over for a party.


He wouldn’t have blamed Cole for blowing off some steam, but he also wanted him safe. It was bad enough that Jill would undoubtedly spend the night. He and Cole had many talks about “protection” and making good choices, but they were almost certainly sexually active. The idea of being a grandfather before his days were done was a happy thought, on one hand, but Cole and Jill were a long way from being ready and it would kill Jan.


Annie was spending the night at Margot’s, so everybody was all taken care of, and Dan could focus on talking to Jan. He didn’t want to spring his news on J.R. at a restaurant. That idea had been eating at him and he knew they could work it out on the drive down.


Since Dan had a few things to take care of at Evolve before they left, Jan got everything ready to go and even had the car packed by the time Dan got home. After hitting the Chevron on Indian School Road, they headed for I-10 early enough to beat the Friday rush hour traffic. With any luck, they would be to their hotel by 4:30 or so in the afternoon and they could take in the sunset from there.


“I spoke to Rasmussen this morning,” Dan said.


“I didn’t know you were talking to him today.”


“Neither did I.”


“Well, what did he say?”


Jan knew the dance they were about to start. For someone who could tell you every detail of what a client or prospective customer said, including their body language, tone of voice, and general demeanor, he was terrible at talking about things that were important in his own life. She thought she might have to get out the conversation crowbar.


“He just wanted to go over a few options for treatment and pain management,” replied Dan.


“I thought there wasn’t any treatment?”


“Well … “Dan paused.


“What is it, Dan?”


“It won’t save my life, my love, but I can maybe get six months to a year or more if I do a combination of chemo and radiation. Rasmussen did say, though, it wouldn’t be the highest quality of life I had ever had.”


Jan chewed on her bottom lip for several seconds.


“What do you think?”


“Jesus! Look at this clown!”


Dan accelerated and passed a huge maroon Ford truck barely going the speed limit. Jan wished she were driving. She could handle two things at once, even three or four, but like most men she knew, Dan was better when he was focused on one thing.


Once safely passed the truck, Dan was ready to continue talking.


“What do I think,” he stammered a bit. “I think I will do whatever I can to get as much time with you guys as I can. I think I’ll know when it will be time to give up or you or the kids will tell me it’s okay.”


He glanced over to see that Jan was staring at him with a faint smile on her face and he continued:


“I’m not afraid of feeling bad. Rasmussen said the pain will be worse and I can handle that. He said the treatments will make me feel even worse and I’m okay with that. There are things he can give me to deal with the pain and he suggested I get my medical marijuana card. John’s going to get a kick out of that. He’ll probably have me buying weed for him.”


Jan laughed out loud at the thought of this.


Dan had never been averse to an occasional toke off one of John’s numerous joints, but it mainly put him to sleep. There had been plenty of get togethers at the Rawls’ house or among other mutual friends where Dan slept through the end of the party thanks to John’s pot. Growing up in California, Jan’s tolerance was pretty good, but Dan had never smoked anything before meeting John.


She pictured Dan going into one of the dispensaries that had sprouted up around town since medical marijuana had become legal in Arizona. The image of Dan buying weed made her smile and she thought, “Who knows? Maybe it really can help him.” She would be sure to do some reading about it next week.


When she stopped laughing, Jan said, “I love you” and put her hand on his shoulder. She was so pleased he was opening himself up to figuring out how to make the best of this situation. It didn’t surprise her, but she knew this was not the way he thought his life was going to turn out.


Jan shared with Dan that she had invited J.R. to come up to the hotel in the morning so they could go for a walk around the grounds before heading to lunch. Ventana Canyon had some nice paths around the hotel and Jan had thought Dan and J.R. would be more comfortable walking and talking.


Dan was relieved to hear about this plan and he eased into the rest of the drive. Jan popped a Pretenders CD into the stereo and before long, they were singing “Back On The Chain Gang” together with gusto.


*****


See you tomorrow.



Look at Harper. She was cute as a kitten. Seemed like a good picture for today.

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