Sister Act

My sister Janet visited us this past week. She is eight years older than me and is the one person in this world who has known me all my life. After my death she will be the remaining repository of family lore. One of the reasons for writing this blog is to get some of those memories in a more permanent form. But this particular post is about the fun we’ve shared this past week.

Now that I’ve moved my chemo to Friday I’ve been able to perform more often. Janet arrived Saturday night to hear our concert. We played Schubert Great C Maj. Symphony. This was the culmination of a week with children’s concerts in the morning and rehearsals in the evening. It’s the most work I’ve done since I became sick and, while exhausted at the end, I was encouraged to know it was still possible to keep up such a busy schedule.

There was a reception after the concert that Kristina, Janet and I went to. This was the first time I had been in such a large public situation since my diagnosis. I often forget that I have a public persona as well as a private one. After living and performing here for thirty years I’m still surprised when people recognize me. I was humbled by the encouragement and support. Plus the food was great!

The telephone pole behind our house was replaced while Janet was here. She and I spent our time in various places during the couple hours we were without power. We went to a local Pho Restaurant for lunch. As we were getting ready to leave and pay for our meal our waiter came over and told us that our bill was already paid. We guess that some good samaritan had overheard our conversation about my situation and wanted to help. In Judaism the highest act of charity is one where the benefactor remains anonymous. We can’t thank them in person so I will thank them here. Janet and I won’t forget your random act of kindness.

Another place we spent time was my local library. Anybody who knows me know I am a bookworm. Libraries are one of my favorite places. In my peripatetic life I have spent time in libraries in just about every place I’ve lived or visited. This is my plug to keep these valuable institutions funded and growing. I am forever grateful that Shreveport supports its’ library system. Support your local library!

Spring weather is starting here. Afternoons are in the sixties and you can feel the tendrils of moist gulf air making their way into the atmosphere. Gus, our beagle mix dog, enjoyed his walks with us. One memorable walk was in the gardens behind the Norton Museum. Another example of a beautiful public space. I’m looking forward to the new bloom and growth this year.

One symptom of my cancer is difficulty keeping warm. I never had this problem before and find myself bundling up. Janet is all things knitted and textiles. She’s been knitting, sewing, weaving, spinning almost her entire life. What better way to say,”I love you” than an alpaca wool cap!

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While I love my cap this was the second best gift I received from Janet. To me the highlight of her visit was the evening she, Kristina and I spent playing cards. It wasn’t the card game that made the night special. It was the laughter. Janet and I have been through so much together and the fact that we can get together and bring ourselves to tears from laughing is probably the single most important survival technique we know. Some people might find it hard to laugh at the irony of our father saying throughout his life,”I need that like a hole in the head” and then dying of a self inflicted wound to his cranium. Or, from a Darwinian point of view, the Haas men seem to get the short end of the stick. But I, we need that letting go. That chance to face our worst moments, laugh at them and celebrate the fact that we are survivors. All I can say is,”My sister is no act, she is the real deal!”

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