Friday, May 7, 2021


Back on April 25th I wrote:

The past couple of weeks I’ve been jonesing to go hiking in southern Utah. Mmmmm, red rocks… ruins… slot canyons… I’ve been watching the videos and checking the trail maps. But it would not be cool to ditch Lou.

Lou came to me and said I shouldn’t feel obligated to hang around, that he appreciated me being there but that he could take care of himself. I should go have some fun.


Part of me resisted his offer. Part of me was already down the road. I want to be a good friend and stay. He wants to be a good friend and encouraged me to go. 

I thought on it for a few days. What’s the right thing?

He has caring neighbors, Pat and Margene. His longtime friend, Linda will be coming from Oregon. Our friends Scott and Lara will be visiting. Lou wouldn’t be alone.

Okay. I’d go wander. At least for a while.

Lou said that when I entered the hospital in Tucson for the tracheotomy prior to cancer treatment he thought he’d never see me again. When we hugged goodbye this morning I said, “I hope this isn’t the last time I see you.” I added, “If you need me, I’ll come right back, no matter how far away I am.”

I felt a rush of freedom as I drove away from Mimbres with the window open and the radio blasting. It would’ve been perfect if Willie Nelson had been singing, “On the road again. I just can’t wait to get on the road again…”

But about a hundred miles along it started feeling wrong.

So here I am again, stopped for the night, replaying the same internal arguments and self-critiques. What if I go for just a couple of weeks instead of the whole summer? Yeah, that feels better. I’ll sleep on it.

UPDATE: Lou emailed me after reading this post:

Al, please don't feel bad about what you are doing, it's ok. I know you will be around if I need you. Have some fun.

To which I replied:

You're not the boss of me. I'll feel bad if I want to. :D


  1. Having been through several relatives and friends cancer fights, I found that going on with your life is important. BUT do it closer to your friend and check back in frequently in person.

  2. Over the years of checking in daily I have come to feel like I know both you and Lou so it’s appropriate to say I will think of and pray for both of you now. Good advice Barney.

  3. Good for you. Stay close to your friend.