let me just start by saying that whole foods at 9am on a saturday morning is a delight. full of fresh food but not yet yuppies, well-staffed in preparation for the oncoming slew of said yuppies ... i was thinking this even as i realized they did not have any israeli cous cous and the raspberries were approximately $12 a pint. when i reached the beer section, though, things took a turn.
i planted myself into a conversation two employees in that section were having right in front of where my beloved two hearted ale *should* have been waiting for me. 'twas not, dear readers. and since i couldn't find any last weekend either, i was pretty disappointed. i politely waited for their conversation to wane and politely whined that they were again out of my favorite beloved beer, goddammit.
when i asked for it they both grinned. oh we have some two hearted ale. we're just keeping it in the back so only the real fans get it. it was bottled four days ago. it's so fresh, it's like you're AT bell's!
ah, to be enjoying a pint of bell's at bell's ... i literally put down a pint of bell's (perhaps two hearted ale, i don't remember) on the bar at bell's on a cold fall night years ago to greet a couple of college friends with hugs before turning to introduce myself to their handsome pal. i usually can't help but think of the night i met b over a glass of bell's every time i lift a glass ...and it always makes me grin. but as we drank our wildly fresh bell's this weekend, and i saw the concern-induced wrinkles on b's forehead as he consulted with various people on his cell ... i thought of that evening in a totally different light. now those two college friends, also married, are holed up in a hospital room in detroit. he's fighting a rare leukemia after two bouts with cancer in less than a year. he's got a hole in his skull, through which radiation is being pumped with questionable success. one of his best friends, who was the best man at my wedding, is right now en route from ethiopia to detroit, where we'll see him when we fly in this weekend too.
and of course, this particular friend is one who would never harm a fly. he's the least judgmental, most accepting, happy-go-lucky guy. sure, he's got his quirks, but that's bound to happen when someone is happy in their own skin and doesn't really care what other people think. and honestly, i found him a breath of fresh air when we first became friends, back in those days when i was dealing with the loss of all my friends, a group supposedly bound by a lot of ideals none of which jive with acting as if a friend had never existed without even so much as considering listening to her side of a particular story. (the excessive eye-rolling i'm sure many of you have witnessed at any mention of organized christianity? bingo.) but i met this guy and became a part of a group of friends that took me in without hesitation, and had no interest in judging me. he was part of a group of friends from which i learned for the first time what it genuinely means to be someone's friend. for what it's worth, he played a role in making what should have been a crappy time in my life not so awful.
i hope those of us converging in his hospital room this weekend can do the same for both of them - and make an otherwise crappy time in their lives a little less awful.