Traveling “With a Little Help from My Friends”

I am dedicating this post to a very dear friend and colleague who died this morning back home in Florida and the wonderful wife he left behind. I love you Ken and Debbie Carpenter. You both mean so much to me.

As suggested by the title of this entry, I have the Beatles song in my head right now and am struck by how near I am to where the Beatles originated and how far I am from my friends back home.

Usually, my blogs take days. I write them and then come back to them the next day or a few days later, but this entry may be more rushed, and I feel I need to say my thanks now. Therefore, playing with the lyrics a bit…

What would you think if I wrote out of tune
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll write you a blog
And I’ll try not to write too poorly…

I have been holding on to this topic for a bit now, having other topics more pressing on my mind. However, after Ken’s death this morning, I knew it was time to write this. Yes, I saved for this grand adventure to the UK for some time, but the trip would have been a bit more stressful was it not for my friends who took me in so I could give up my apartment and not have any rent or utility or internet payments to make while away.

In August 2015, having stored much of my belongings in a storage unit, some of my things at the Coombes’s home, my gal Cal and I moved in with Ken and Debbie (and Rocky the cat) Carpenter. ken and debbie hockey pics.jpg

It was quite an adjustment for all of us (and especially for Rocky Raccoon), but soon we were settling in. This is where I realized I did not mind living with others. I had lived on my own for four years and while that had been nice, I liked knowing someone was downstairs. I liked that the Carpenters so often invited me to dine with them. I liked sitting on the chair, Debbie and Ken on the couch, watching a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey match or watching the Cleveland Browns lose again and again. I was watching sports I typically didn’t watch (and sometime never knew existed)—horse racing, basketball, hockey, football, baseball, and yes, handball. I discovered sports doesn’t need to be about being a fan but being around people, getting caught up in the excitement of a sport.

And Debbie welcomed me, introducing me to her friends, inviting me to girls’ night, watching Dancing with the Stars on Mondays (yeah, thanks for that addiction, Debbie, haahaha).

And Ken and Cal had a very sweet relationship. He discovered (as did I!), she loved hard boiled eggs. Often in the morning, Ken would take out the pot, and Cal would run into the kitchen, knowing what this meant. He often took her for walks while I was at work. If she were allowed on the couch, I’m sure she would have found her way to napping with Ken as well.

rocky and calrock and cal 2

Rocky, too, got used to Cal. The two of them lying far enough from each other so as to maintain Rocky’s personal space, but close enough to each other to commiserate during a storm or my absence.

By March, Ken and Debbie had learned of his diagnosis, and they needed to deal with it together. It was time for me to move to my next host’s home.

I am ever grateful to Ken and Debbie and Rocky; to Mayra, Gary, and Lani; to Esther, Allan, King, Phantom, Fay, and Nat; and to Adam and Juan and Sasha–all of you for taking Cal and me in. You all made the peace of mind I have on this trip possible. I hope Cal and I have not been too much trouble.

Being an introvert doesn’t mean I want to be alone. I want to be with people. I have been single for many years, but I have never been alone, never lonely. I am content to know I have people who will be there for me when I need them. I must be doing something right in my life to have such supportive friends.

What do I do when my love is away?
(Does it worry you to be alone?)
How do I feel by the end of the day?
(Are you sad because you’re on your own?)
No I get by with a little help from my friends…

–the Beatles

5 thoughts on “Traveling “With a Little Help from My Friends”

  1. Oh Nicole, this is beautiful, it made me cry. I know how much you love your friends (and we love you back!!), and how much you are hurting from Ken’s passing. Having you and Cal in our lives has been a blessing and I wish I could give you a big hug right now.


  2. My heart and prayers go out to you and Debbie at this sad time. We all love you, Nicole, because you are such a gentle soul. Your beauty shines in this blog. You have made our world a better place, and I am sure your friendship brought much joy to Ken.


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