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  • I sit home with a cold while an older friend sits home with esophageal cancer. Got an email this morning from my sister Terrie. 'Morrie had a bad night.' Morrie has lots of bad nights. I call Morrie and Dodie to check in. Morrie answers. "Hi, Honey," he says once he knows it is me. 'Hi Honey' as if all is well.

    Morrie is 85. Last time I saw him was before diagnosis, and he was walking across the weedy-green lawn of Eastern Washington in June. He was supported on one side by his wife Dodie and my mom on the other side. I snapped a picture.

    The picture tells a story of over 80 years of friendship. They've held each other up many times over the past 8 decades as they have raised 7 kids between them, had business highs and lows, celebrations, kids' divorces, accidents, weddings, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

    In the photo, the three were walking back after having the lamb at Don's, (the only restaurant in Soap Lake barely worth eating at). They were tippy and giggly as they have been many times over the years. This time, though, I don't think they had been drinking. Morrie may have already been feeling the effects of the asshole intruder, known as cancer. In that moment, old-age was holding them, and they were aware of it, but not chased by its hot breath.

    I called Terrie this morning after talking to Morrie. "You can't go over. You have a cold," She's always the practical nurse. I am in the first days of a cold. 'You're contagious,' she says. "I know." I answer. I weigh the cold against not seeing him. But, I won't be the one to share a virus.

    If luck be with him (and us), Morrie can find some relief in treatment and snag a bit more time. He and his doc, Henry Kaplan, are negotiating with his cancer. Kaplan should scare the hell out of cancer as he is one of Seattle's most respected oncologists.

    "I hear you're not feeling well." I say to Morrie, surprised that he is answering the phone. I don't have to tell him that I have a cold. He's not up to visitors. We chat about nothing much for a few minutes. "I'll call you again. Let's try for a few more laughs."

    "Okay Honey," He says. "I'd like that."
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