Much to my great concern Howard has been absent from gym class for quite some time, almost two months. I asked around but not many were forthcoming as to his whereabouts. Deep down inside I had a dreadful feeling. That place were the thing called a woman's instinct dwells and try as mightily as I can to resist, I often have trouble refusing to act upon it. I left a message at the desk with my phone number for him. Last Friday I walked into the building and could hear his distinctive laugh floating sharply across the whirring and clanking of treadmills, weights, and whatnots. Relieved I went onto classes.

The instructors seem to think after two years of conditioning and rebuilding muscles I'm ready for aerobics though I can tell you from the exhaustion I felt on my recent trip to California that I wonder if I'll ever regain the stamina I once had. It was frustrating to say the least to keep having to leave my family at Disneyland to get some rest at the hotel and return to join them later in the day. More recent news from tests have been discouraging. Evidence that my memory has deteriorated much more than was thought, a recommendation that I take medications for attention deficit disorder was most dis heartening because I was under the impression that my memory skills were getting better.

Howard found me sitting on the steps between floors in the gym and thanked me for my concern. He had recently had a bad case of bronchitis and was slowly recovering from that. Hugging his frail body happy he was on the mend he touched my shoulder and whispered all too loudly that he had a secret and he was only going to tell me! (and of course everyone within earshot) Exciting news about publishers HarperCollins buying copyrights to excerpt his book and they were putting it on their list of top ten religious books published in the year 2000. I've thought about asking him if I could post the Teddy Bear Story here though I haven't found my courage yet. It's a very moving story he heard from his father-in-law, many people from all places have called Howard to tell him how it touched them.

Stacy, a friend from a lifetime ago called and we talked for two hours. She says I'm a 'different person' how so remains a mystery to me and only for others to judge I've decided. With promises once again to come for a visit we said goodbye.
I am your passing guest, an alien, like all my forebears.
~Psalm 39:12 (NRSV