Monday, January 29, 2007

Reflections on last night's dream and a review of "For One More Day"

This morning, sometime before 6 AM, I spent a day with B. It was a weird, but I was glad to have the opportunity. I drove down to Pittsburgh and arrived late in the morning. He was getting ready to go into a meeting and invited me to come along since I’d know a few of the people from when we worked together nearly 20 years ago. B introduced me to those who didn’t know me and then ran a smooth meeting. When it was over, an hour or so later, he passed around a wooden box with fine chocolates. B always liked the finer things in life. He invited me to follow him, as he had to run some errands. I followed in my truck and was surprised to see B driving a snooped up late 60s Chevy Chevelle that was undergoing renovation. When finished, it looked like it'll be a nice car. B’s vehicles had always been more utilitarian and conservative. Since I’ve known him, he’d mostly driven a series of Subaru station wagons. But then I remembered the time we meet at a conference in Denver. I’d rented the car and they assigned me a PT Cruiser. I wasn’t sure about it, but Brent thought it was great and we drove around town like a couple of gangsters. “Did he always like hot cars?” I wondered.

In the dream, one of the places we stopped while running around the burghs on Pittsburgh’s Northside was a tire store. As he was having new tires installed, I asked about the car. “I always wanted one like this when I was growing up,” he said. I thought it was odd that he was getting new tires since he wasn’t going to be around much longer, but was impressed that he was living as if life was going to go on forever. It was like I knew what would happen, but couldn’t bring myself to ask him about it. Instead, we talked about skiing and fly fishing. We left the tire place and went to meet Mary, a mutual friend, for dinner. I kept thinking I couldn't stay long for I needed to get on the road home, and I woke up before we got to Mary's house.

The day had a surreal but comfortable feel about it. B treated people with kindness and respect, a trademark of his. And they responded to his warmth with an obvious love for him. Throughout it all, I wondered why no one was talking about the obvious, that B didn’t have much time left. In the dream I couldn’t bring myself to ask questions about his death and was wondering if I was the only one who knew.

B took his life in early November; it was nice to be able to spend another day with him and I wasn't ready to wake up this morning.

I’m pretty sure I know where this dream came from. I was so busy the last two months of the year that I pushed B’s death out of my mind. But every once in a while, something happens that brings it back into the forefront. A conversation I had yesterday triggered his memory. Furthermore, late last week I’d read Mitch Albom’s book, For One More Day. This was a book that I’d been given for Christmas and it’s time that I read Michigan’s own “chic-lit” author. It didn’t take me too long to read the book. I read most of it Friday night, while sitting in my truck in the freezing cold waiting for our exchange student to come back from an out of town volleyball game. The bus was an hour late and I got 3/4’s of the way through the book.

For One More Day is the story of Chick (a name that I thought ironic, since this is classic chic-lit). Chick’s parents divorced when he was young. It’s the story of how he kept trying to win his father’s approval (which was always linked to baseball) and how he never appreciated his mother who took on extra jobs so that he and his sister could go to college. Chick led a self-absorbed life. Probably his only redeeming feature is that he played part of a season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. But he was always so focused on earning his father’s love that he couldn’t be there for his mother or for his family. After losing everything, he tries to commit suicide, but even screws that up. He then dreams (or is it a dream?) about his mother and from this encounter, finds the will to go on with life, The book’s okay, but then again Albom isn’t just a chic-lit author, he’s also a sports writer for the Detroit Free Press. When you write about sports in Detroit, it pays to have a sideline like writing sappy books about the relationships between mothers and sons.


  1. Oh for pete's sake! It's not chic-lit and you would probably learn a big lesson if you stopped categorizing it as such.
    You should embrace your mushy side instead of covering it up. You may enjoy the responses that you get once you do.

    My lecture is done. :-)

  2. Nothing wrong in being mushy. It is in for the alpha male!


    I have not read this but I have read tuesdays with morrie. Infact I bought a few copies of that for my friends. I found it really good. I read itat atime when I needed such wisdom.

    Thanks for your review. I will go for it.

    MY reviewing of books has gone to the dogs. I read but no time to review what with my teching, poetry, painting. I need more hours in a day!

  3. Yeah...if you don't listen to me (which you won't), listen to Gautami.

  4. Ok Murf and Gautami--wasn't telling about the dream mushy enough? I joke about reading chic-lit, but I do read it, or at least occassionally read it.

  5. I remember reading up on B in online papers. Such a tragedy.

    I like it when I get nice dreams like the one you had. I wish I had them more often.

  6. Sage - I suppose, in your own little way, that was mushy enough but you have the capacity for oh so much more if only you would let yourself.

    Wow..that was an uncharacteristically deep response I just gave. ;)

    Ed - I don't know about these nice dreams. Seems like you have a 50/50 shot of it either making you feel good that day or having it ruin your day before it even really begins.

  7. I am glad you had some time with your friend B if only in your dreams. How sad that he took his own life.

    I looked at that book when I was picking out things for a new reading list but Martin talked me out of it. I don't know if I would like it or not but it is a big seller.

  8. It is nice that you had that dream and could spend a little time with your friend that way. I have a deceased friend I'd love to have a dream about, but in the 15 years since she died, I have not had even one dream about her that I remember.

  9. I have to agree with Murf here, there is nothing wrong with reading "sappy chick-lit", and nothing wrong with admitting to it. I consider myself well read in all genres, and frankly both this book and Albom's other book "The five people you meet..." can help tremendously if you are struggling for answers about life and its many endings. The trick is to be humble enough to stand up and say "yes I read that book, I liked it, and it helped me." Anyone that would think less of you for reading a "mushy girlie book" is too smart by half for my energies...

    This book makes you think about the possibilities of "one more day"...especially if you're not in the position to ever have "one more day" again. Any book that gets you to ask the questions about your own life and the lives of the folks around you is a good book, and sorry are the folks that judge themselves so far evolved that they don't even give these "bubble gum pop lit" books a chance to do what they were put out there to do, before their chances pass them by.

    My...this is a serious post...I better lighten up a bit and go back into hiding...

  10. Ed, I seldom have "bad" dreams, but most of mine seem to be neutral

    Murf, are you wanting mushy for the benefit of me getting into my "inter-self" or to feed your voyageristic tendencies

    Deana, why did he talk you out of it?

    Non-Angel, you were the first one to suggest this book to me and you should know that I am somewhat joking about reading such genre, I do read a regular sampling from that genre and even if I don't read it, I hear about it from someone else who tends to read them

    Murf, smirking is unbecoming

  11. For your own benefit, of course. I know of one instance in your life where it could make a change for the better.

    You say that now but you haven't seen me smirk. ;-)

  12. I'm not sure this qualifies as chick-lit, although it could be an
    Oprah pick.

  13. I just made the mistake of re-reading your review of 'In the Heart of the Sea'. You give away the ending! I shall soldier on with reading it though. I don't like how the author writes. He's assuming his readers aren't smart enough to catch on to such facts as the captain changing his mind at crucial moments because his first mate has other ideas and is more forceful about what they should do. Now that I know what happens to Pollard, I kind of feel sorry for the poor guy.

  14. I thoroughly enjoyed your description of your dream, Sage. Although it took me a couple of minutes before I realized it was a dream.

    Sounds like one of those maybe where you wish you could go back to sleep and pick up where you left off.

  15. I believe that dreams are usually reflected by your feeling and thinking at that point of time.

    very interesting post.

  16. Thanks for sharing your dream. I wish real life could have been as good as the dream.

  17. I have read this post three times now. There is something kind of disturbing about it, but I'm not sure what. I think that probably means you did a great job of capturing the dream in your description.

  18. Murf, what self-help advice do you have for me?

    bone, yes it was a good dream, although there was the nagging part about knowing that he wouldn't be with us much longer

    Diane, the chic-lit stuff is more joking with folks, but then a book that tells you to pay attention to your mamma falls into my chic-lit genre

    Ginger, that was certainly the case in my dream

    Tim, thanks

    Kevin, your comment has got me thinking. The troubling part of the dream was knowing that it was the last time I'd see him, but it was also good because I had that opportunity, if that makes sense. Over all, it was a pleasant dream, mixed in with folks I knew and folks I didn't know.

  19. For my answer, I will refer you to one of your own bits of writing. 10/04/06 to be exact. :)