The summer I had longed for in my first "Watermelon" poem did come and I was ecstatic. I finished treatments in the middle of July , and Jennifer and I headed for our mountain condo in the cool Blue Ridge mountains surrounding Blowing Rock, NC. Our condominium is located in a resort called Chetola, an old Indian word for "haven of rest." That is truly what our getaway to the mountains had always been. Those three-and a half weeks were to be the summer I had longed for, in both a real and metaphorical sense. The idyllic time lulled me into a false sense of security and well being. Looking back, I wonder, "why did I not consider the "downside" of the statistics? I have answered myself in two ways--first , there was no reason to suspect I wouldn't be one of the lucky ones and, second, it would have spoiled the last really blissfully carefree, peaceful period of my life.
As far as I knew, I was well and this was to be a continuation of wonderful summers of the past and a prelude to many that would stretch ahead. We hiked, picnicked, ate, read, relaxed, attended summer theater shows, and entertained some of our favorite out-of-town guests. My best friend and cousin by marriage, Wendy Goldman, and her daughter, Ginger, visited from Dallas. And our old friends, Diane and Paul Mendelson, came from Memphis on a weekend when Alan was there. Alan came when he could and stayed a whole week at the end.