Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Return of Olivia

It's what computer geeks do.  We sit across from each other and we Google or we text, or we do searches for various things.  We occasionally talk to each other, but not really.

It had been some 6 years or so since I'd last seen or heard from Olivia.  The last time we were in contact, she was about ready to have another major surgery and would probably be immobile for awhile.  She was also living in Seattle.

Then there was no word at all.  No notice about how her surgery had gone, no word about what she was doing.  Her Facebook account went silent.  Seattle had no obituary for her and her sister did not answer the emails I sent to her. 

After the first couple of years, I stopped sending birthday and Christmas messages, which were never acknowledged and decided she had joined the ranks of the people who had crossed me off their list without a word of explanation.

Then about a year ago, there were a couple of replies to people who had sent her messages on Facebook.  I made snarky comments about her being alive after all, but I did not hear back from her, reinforcing my feeling that for whatever reason I was on her black list.

Imagine my surprise when I received a call from Olivia on Sunday!  She now lives in Reno and she thought she'd come down to Davis for lunch before the first snow fall, since she would not be able to drive over the mountains again until the spring thaw.

She would be here Monday or Tuesday.  As I mentioned in yesterday's entry, she did not come yesterday, so I expected her today.

She called at 7 this morning and said she was going to come for lunch and figured it would take her an hour and a half to get here.  I warned her that it would take longer than that and mentioned maybe 2 to 2-1/2 hours.  It had been a long time since I'd driven from Davis to Reno.  In point of fact it took her four hours to get here.

I felt so sorry for her -- and then guilty that it was taking so long, as she called with progress reports from various spots.

It was worse when she got to Davis.  Davis is a pretty straightforward town, but I could not seem to give her directions.  When she described where she was, thinking she'd gotten off at the main off ramp, I couldn't figure out where she was so I could give her directions for how to get here.  No wonder she was getting more and more frustrated with me.

But eventually she did pull into the driveway with one of the cutest dogs ever, Pepe (Pedro Pierre, taking in mind his Havapoo heritage -- Havasu and Poodle).  I met her with a big glass of cold water (since she had said she was parched) and informed her I was making lunch for us rather than going to a restaurant to eat.

It was so good to see her again.  I got the story of the adoption of Pepe (whom Polly eyed with suspicion throughout his brief visit), and how as a puppy he had been kept on a porch without any attention and how Olivia had been given to "just take it" when the owner wanted no more part of the dog ("it"). 

He was filthy and matted and she was amazed to see the cute little dog that was under all that hair when she had him groomed.  He's now been with her for nearly 3 or more years and is obviously deliriously happy to be with her.  He is also a great therapy dog and visits folks at the home where Olivia's mother lives.  She has beautiful pictures of the dog taking care of her mother.

Over lunch, she talked about her father, Willis Partridge, a coast guard signalman on the only ship in Pearl Harbor which was NOT destroyed.  Partridge became somewhat of a war hero, as was described in an article I found on line after she left:
Today marks the 68th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, in which Japanese forces sent over a dozen U.S. ships to the bottom of the harbor. In the middle of that attack was Coast Guardsman Willis Partridge, a signalman on the cutter Taney. In a little over an hour, the USS Arizona was destroyed, killing over 1,000 sailors, many of whom were trapped. Partridge was able to salvage the mast pulley from the Arizona, which he then used on the Taney. After the war he reclaimed the mast pulley. Partridge passed away on Pearl Harbor Day last year, and his son Rick found the pulley among his possessions.  Right after the attack, Willis Partridge salvaged the part to raise the flag on the Taney. Years later, during an overhaul, Partridge reclaimed the part to preserve it.
The pulley and Partridge's logs were found after his death and the family donated them to the Coast Guard on the 68th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 2009.

But by the time we had gone through Pepe's heritage and Dad's heroism, it was already getting late and knowing she had another 4 hour drive home, she decided she'd better leave.  Imagine driving 8 hours for an hour's lunch!  That's kinda special (for me, that is!)

By the spring thaw, several months from now, I should be driving again and we can meet in the middle, rather than having either of us struggle through 4 hours of freeway.

Olivia is the second of two of my friends who I thought had blacklisted me to contact me out of the blue after a silence of many years (my former co-worker and good friend Melody was the first).  Makes this a good year after all!

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