Thursday, July 22, 2010


Last Thursday, while Geoff was on route home from work, the phone rang.  I picked up the phone and the person on the other end greeted me with "Is this Ruth?  This is Samantha."

Samantha. Sammannnthaaa, I wondered in a panic, rolling her name around on my silent tongue, trying to make it sound familiar.  I have Alzheimer's, I concluded immediately, because I was utterly certain that there was no Samantha in my acquaintance...and yet she sounded as if I should have been expecting her call, so confident was she that I would know who she was.  All of this passed through my head in the instant before I said, "Samantha?  I'm so sorry, but, Samantha?"  My voice trailed off at the end.

Mercifully she helped me out.  "You know, Geoff's sort-of niece?"  

Ohhhh, that Samantha!  The Samantha that I haven't seen or talked to in more than a decade, who lives in Florida, who is Geoff's niece but who is only a handful of years younger than he.  

"Oh - Sam!" I shouted into the phone, my relief at not having Alzheimer's manifesting waaaay stronger than  my sense of surprise at hearing her voice.  "How are you?  And why was it a local number on my call display?  Where are you?"

Turns out, she and her husband were visiting our city, delivering a fast, two-day training session, and she wanted to know if there was a chance of us getting together that evening.  Well, it just so happens that this worked for long as they came our way so that Matthew could go to bed while we visited.  So about an hour later, Geoff picked them up at the hotel and brought them back to the house.  Though they'd eaten a bite of dinner already, I still panicked as I wondered what on earth to feed them; there was no time to shop or cook something up.  Thankfully we'd had people over twice in the past couple of weeks, including my friend Shelley from the night before, and I had some fancy little cheeses in the fridge and a bunch of leftover crackers.  Well, we ended up with an eclectic mix of cheeses, tiny grape tomatoes, pistachio nuts, and fresh cherries, to go with a glass of wine (which we don't even usually have in the house, but just happened to this time).

I was very nervous in the hour before they came over.  Sam and her husband of five/six years are both career ballet dancers (they were in town leading a training session for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet) and the last time I saw her, she was this little bitty waif of a thing who weighed, at best, 100 pounds...all of which was muscle.  I imagined her husband, whom I'd not yet met, to be something similar.  That kind of situation is always a source of anxiety for this more built-like-an-ox mother, and I fretted and stewed.  Thankfully, the moment they walked in the door, my anxieties disappeared and, after a big hug from each, we got right down to visiting and nibbling.  We ended up having a great few hours together, full of conversation and laughter and catching up on each other's lives.

Theirs is an interesting relationship.  They have known each other for twelve years, since he was sixteen years old and studying ballet seriously, in both his native Cuba, and Florida.  Sam was a twenty-eight year old dancer and ballet teacher at the time of their meeting, and she was friends with his older sister.  He fell in love with Sam as a sixteen year old but she would have nothing to do with him because of the age difference.  After a few years, though, I guess he wore her down because she fell in love with him, too, and they've been together ever since, about nine years.  They married five or six years ago and have a 20-month-old daughter.  It was sweet watching them.  More specifically, it was very sweet watching him.  He is a rather spectacular looking Latino man (a principal ballet dancer, no less!) and seemed to hang on Sam's every word, watching her, smiling at her.  It  warmed my insides to watch them together.

All in all, it was a really good evening.  Funny how sometimes it's those unplanned kinds of things that turn out the best.

Go Cougars!!


  1. Oh, I know how nerve-wracking it can be to have fancy slim people come over. And to not have much in the pantry to use for entertaining. I try to have a jar of nuts, cheese, crackers, tomato & spaghetti sauce, a bag of pasta, and a bottle of wine always on-hand just in case someone "stops by". Sounds like you did a great job providing not only food, but wonderful company too. Well done!

  2. Ok... so by the end of this post I was really hoping for a photo or two :-) A