Ted Johnson. Teddy Bear. That was my Dad’s nickname through childhood, college and after. He still is.

I’ve climbed back into the womb. Home. Where I grew up. I’ve got a broken foot, which is in a boot; combined with the athletic tape, my foot smells like a fine brie cheese. I’ve been sleeping outside in our front atrium (surrounded by my mom’s sculpture garden) since a water leak and mold was found in my childhood room. A splattering of early Fall rain had trickled down on me the night before. I felt the wet come through the single sock my Dad had given me.

Hunter S. Thompson said it best. Hunter S. Thompson

“When the going gets tough, the weird turn pro.”

Hunter S. Thompson, The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time

Sigh. Not so easy times. Last night, as we were both going to bed around 4 am, my dad arranged the blankets and his army sleeping bag around me and my foot. I layered up with my mom’s comfy sweater, secured my sleeping cap on my  I asked him,”Is this an all-time low, Dad?”

“Could be,” he answered. “It’s getting pretty weird.”

I agreed.

He looked up at the sky for clouds, but found stars instead. After a moment, he said, “Or, it could be the all-time high.”

True enough! Way to go, Teddy Bear, to see the upside! Worse times we’ve had. Weirder times, constant. The Eichler home has always been a nest against the Weird World.

When I had my son, I moved back in with him before New York. My son and I would take respite in the Fairlands from the battlefronts of New York City. And for the last two years since my Mom’s passing, I’ve been back and forth up North to be with Ted and my brother, and now my son who goes to school up here.

My Dad and I go swimming at the pool together. We munch out at Zanatto’s grocery. We watch his favorite shows: Euromaxx, Charlie Rose and Inspector Morris. We go to his classes at San Jose State – that is until they cut the senior program (boooooooooo!) – from Chinese brush painting class to Jewish art history class. We watch Raiders football. (We toasted to Al Davis last year on his passing on Yom Kippur.) We went to Cinequest Film Festival. We see plays at San Jose Stage. We woke up early and went to have bangers and mash at the British Pub to watch the Queen roll down the barge for her Diamond Jubilee. We’ve watered and tended to the garden and sculptures. We play Scrabble with Glenn, Ian and Momo. As a family, we went to The Scottish Highland Games and Stanford Sierra Camp. We cheer on the Democrats, Bill Clinton and tonight’s grand finale with Obama and Biden. We bake Grandma Florence Johnson’s famous brownie recipe, while my brother made my mother’s famous spaghetti. I sit in my mom’s chair and sew the holes in his flannel pajamas.

So what? My foot is broken. It’s annoying and painful, sure. But it brought me up here again. My Dad’s tucking me in, my brother stirs the pot in the kitchen and works on our recordings in his room, and my son is getting ready to go back to school but still hangs out to play chess. Now if I just had Lila and my bf up here……Weird they may be, but these are the best of times.

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