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March 24, 2012: Here’s to Being in Good Health

I’ve heard said that if you have your health, you have everything. I am learning that this adage is true. But I suppose that one really doesn’t fully comprehend this unless they’re in ill health or dying. This is just the way life is, no pun intended.

The above was driven home yesterday evening. Pete and I went to a benefit that was being put on for our friend Greg Gusse who was recently diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer. Friends and co-workers organized the gathering. Approximately 150 people showed up for dinner, a silent auction, a live auction, and after, live entertainment. This was way more people than expected, but not surprising given that Greg is a local figure. He co-owns Mad Matters, a local frame shop, and has been a long time Palmer resident and arts supporter. His area of specialization is photography. Pete and I took a class with him last spring.

Greg was at the benefit. He’s a large fellow, generally fairly talkative, and ebullient. Last night he seemed like a shell of his usual self. He’d lost considerable weight since I’d last seen him, and he was somewhat quiet. But he was still the same old Greg. He’d braided his beard into two plaits, and he was wearing large silver moon earrings. Someone said to me that he’s dying, and I think they’re right.

Amazingly, the benefit attendees were all upbeat and optimistic. There was considerable joking and laughter, especially during the live auction. I decided mid-way through the live auction to make a donation of an afternoon’s riding time. The high bidder was Nan Potts, the auctioneer, who a few weeks ago visited our place. Nan use to ride and is an excellent horse person. She’s also a lightweight, which our horses will appreciate. I was, of course, moved by her gesture, which was to persist until she got the high bid.

Nan was one of many of Greg’s friends who orchestrated this very complicated event. Greg, I have noticed, has many women friends, all of whom are strong, smart, intelligent women. That right there says a great deal about his character.

Then and now I can’t help but feel pretty bad about Greg’s condition. It doesn’t make sense to me; that is, how someone in their 50s, who was previously in good condition, might now be on their way out. I just don’t get it. Cancer isn’t very discriminating.

I won a small painting of a barn at the silent auction. It’s a very simple oil painting, in a very simple frame. We’re going to hang it in the living room, next to our other oil paintings. When I look at it, I will always think of Greg.

Next: 84. 3/25/13: Git er Done