a life well lived

Sunday, March 9, 2014

one tired little chick 03/09/00

That is me.  We - John, Elsa, myself - went down to Philadelphia for a
4:00 appt at Presbyterian Hospital (in the University City section, for those of you who know Philadelphia).  After looking at my passle of x-rays and reports and checking me out from horn to hoof, the specialist, Dr. Gerald Williams, was pretty discouraging about prospects for surgery making any improvements. 

I have a lot to think about.  

Elsa is wise in the highways & byways of Philadelphia.  At 5:15 p.m., she navigated us homeward without hitting any rush hour traffic.   

It was a spectacular drive.  Mother Nature helped out, with temperatures dropping to the pleasant mid-60s. 

Elsa headed to the West River Drive.  In my opinion, the “Drives” – East and West – offer the most beautiful city ramble in the world.  They run snug alongside both banks of the Schuylkill River.  Pete always took the East River Drive (now called Kelly Drive) which takes you directly past the wonderful “boat houses,” but Elsa prefers its twin, which gives a smashing view across the river to our beloved classic Greek-style Philadelphia Art Museum, the Water Works (which sound utilitarian and look more elegant than you can imagine), and the sweep of university and rowing clubs’ boat houses.

BoatHouse Row was bustling with activity.  I have never seen so many shells on the river - it almost looked like a mini-regatta.  It was thrilling to see their long, slender lines as 1-man, 2-man, 4-man and many 8-man crews skimmed on the river, the elegance of the oars as they dipped into the river and arched up, dipped and arched, dipped and arched.  I felt taken right out of my body, it was so beautiful.  (My apologies to any sticklers out there if I got any of the terms wrong.  I get boggled by what is a scull and what is a shell, whether it is correct to call it crew or rowing or something else.)

It made me remember a story about the mother of Ellen Lear, my very best friend.  Mrs. Lear was Richmond born and bred and, like me, loved the water. She married Mr. Lear around 1913 or '14.  His family lived in Chestnut Hill and were "Hillers" through & through. 

How to describe a Hiller?  Top-drawer society, the genuine article, people who today still put the prep in preppy.

Well, Ellen’s grandparents thought their young daughter-in-law was the cat's whiskers, lovely and refined, until...  the day she took a stroll to the river and - horrors! - sat on a bench at the riverside.  My dears, it simply was NOT done. 

When Ellen tells the story, I can just see the mother-in-law reaching for the smelling salts to keep from going into a swoon.   Instead of making excuses or apologizing, the young wife told her in-laws, “I did it and I am glad!”  Good on her! 

If I had not been so gol-darn tired, I would have looked for a nice, friendly bench and been a river watcher until dusk fell.  The three of us and the spirit of Mrs. Lear, all enjoying the beauty of the moment.

Love to you all from a tired little chick-a-biddy ~ Nan

No comments:

Post a Comment