Topic: "Promises Made" (3)
"There, but for the Grace of God, go I." It would be hard for Frodo to believe that anyone, dear reader, who reads his lines, would be unfamiliar with these words. Stephen Hawking, perhaps one of the most profound minds in any Age of Man, is captured in a body racked by a nervous system that is inoperative. He faces a fate that first became part of the public discourse when Lou Gehrig declared himself "the luckiest man in the world." Frodo's father died similarly.
Frodo's father was one of five siblings, three of whom developed the same disease. Frodo's family was subsequently part of a much larger study by one of the great medical institutions in all the world, in order to determine a treatment, or cure, for this hideous fate. There is, according to the WALL STREET JOURNAL's report of the study, a "genetic predisposition" in 18 European-derived families to the occurence of this monster. It should be noted that Stem Cell research is an integral part of the effort to overcome this plague.
If there was ever any doubt about the depth of Frodo's dislike for George W. Bush in your mind, dear reader, at least now you understand that it is more than philosophical. It is personal.
Frodo's father was first struck in the throat, and quickly lost the ability to communicate. Most victims are first struck in the outer extremities, the affliction working from there to spread its' paralysis into the throat and respiratory system. Frodo's father did not carry the disease a long time, and when he died, he still could walk and use all his great but dwindling strength.
In the last of days, Frodo had the opportunity to say the things that needed saying. He knew that his Father worried about Bilbo and the survival of one who would be left with very little. Frodo assured his father that he would not let him down, that he would do as he had been taught, and provide for Bilbo in the days to come. Frodo's father had a small pad by the bed, with a pencil, and he struggled, mightily, to write responses to questions. Generally, the result was unintelligible.
Frodo talked for a while, then he looked directly into his father's eyes and asked, "Are you worried?" Immediately, he reached for the pad, and began to struggle with the pencil. When he handed the scribble back to Frodo, it read, simply, "No."
Looking at that piece of paper all these years later, Frodo prepares to depart in a few hours for his annual visit to Bilbo, on this, the occasion of the 89th birthday celebration. Frodo has been thinking, a lot, about how much he dreads this visit. Bilbo continues to live alone, and is fully capable of meeting all the needs and wants that day-to-day life requires. Bilbo however, exhibits more and more of the aggressive traits which seem to characterize those who approach the dimming of the light. They "rage, rage against the light," and Bilbo is increasingly less enjoyable as a companion.
Frodo knows that it is the Ring. His constant foe, that must be overcome; yet knowing the enemy is only half the fight. Frodo has done very well, and he believes that his father would be proud of what he has managed to do, so far. The challenges are greatest though as Frodo comes close to Gollum, inside Mount Doom itself. He must not falter. Promises made must be delivered. Challenges are expected, and hardships must be overcome.
Frodo may re-read an old favorite, "Lonesome Dove," by Larry McMurtry. Woodrow, with all his flaws, brought Gus home.
There may be a few days between this and when next Frodo's tales continue.