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I drove nearly six hours today and caught the last quarter of a high school girls’ basketball game featuring my old friend The Don’s team. The coach and I grabbed a quick post mortem pizza, and then I was off to visit my dear and declining, my barely but contentedly pre-mortem Mum. While there may still be hope for her fourth-born child, there are no more new tricks for this noble Lady. There’s not much left of her at all, now, unless you count a radiantly kind heart and a mind that, while it may not remember my visit ten minutes later, can sing the Oakwood High fight song from the 1930s and recite the 23rd Psalm. She smiles at me even when she’s not sure what I’ve said. “I’m happy with my lot,” she murmurs to me. “I’ve had good kids.”

Another hour got me to my big sister’s place, where I grazed near her fridge just like I lurked around my mother’s all those decades ago. For all my mocking of mid-life charges at windmills large and small, I do have to give myself a smidgeon of credit, though. In spite of cross-eyed weariness and my preference for Stealth Practices, I started messing around with the strings even while Sister Pamela and I caught up on some of the down-home news. And then I forced myself to do some determined if bleary playing before sleep. So yeah, this entry is a day late and several ideas short. But it’s almost five weeks now. I’m not sure who will come and what it means if they do, but I’m Building It. I am never so happy as when I am building something: a skill, an organization, a graceful sentence or a fresh capacity. Confidence in the young. Hope among the disappointed. Peace for the aging. Friskiness in my fingers…

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