Topic: "Road Trip" (5)
Frodo believes that everyone is an actor, portraying multiple roles throughout their time on the stage. For example, "Tiger" Woods is both a husband and an adulterer (allegedly), he is a father and a golfer, he is a taxpayer and a licensed driver (although not for long), and among his multitude of roles he is also a son. Frodo contends that this is the role which embodies the least preparation and the greatest heartbreak. Frodo should know.
Bilbo has endured throughout her life. She and her siblings lost their father at an early age, in the midst of a Depression, and found themselves wards of the State when their Mother re-married, and the Stepfather wanted to start a family afresh. With limited educational opportunity, and a psychologically understandable bent to protect that which she deemed as hers, Bilbo joined with a sister and followed the boys preparing for War. She found Frodo's father, and they became one just before Mr. Roosevelt called him to help fight real Nazis. She became mother to Frodo exactly nine months after he returned from almost three years of absence.
An addition to the family unit followed two years and nine months later. Frodo has never written about that relationship, and he will hold that thought until the morrow.
In her ninety-first year, the last seventeen of which had been on her own, Bilbo decided that she could no longer endure another moment of sunshine all alone. With the assistance of the Second child, she entered an Assisted Living Center, and promptly began to identify every conceivable deficiency. Her personality was no longer akin to that of one whom any would revere, rather it became accusatory, racist, and whining. Bilbo began to lobby for a change.
Against all caution, Bilbo and the Second child decided that relocation to the Second's residence in the mountains of West Virginia (also known as Mordor) would give her familial contacts and a fresh approach to life. That seemed to work fine, for almost six weeks, then it got cold. Confined to a basement apartment, with her own bathroom, and mobility limited by a walker and a 24/7 relationship to oxygen, Frodo's telephone rang, again and again.
The relationship between Bilbo and the Second child has, absent direct observation, grown untenable. There are threats, and loud voices, and tears, and pleading for the efforts of the Good Son. Frodo's residence in the Shire contains stairs twisting in endless directions, requiring agility, even among the canines and feline who share space therein. It has always been an obstacle to the easiest of decisions. Sam has been the strong right arm of Frodo's climb up Mount Doom, and in this instance it was Sam's doggedness which identified several Assisted Living facilities nearby to the Shire.
On Saturday, after Frodo finishes ringing the bell for the Salvation Army (remember to drop a few coins in the bucket for the Hobbit), Frodo and Sam will drive to Mordor in order to transit Bilbo to the Shire for acclimation to Middle Earth. After a few short days, the plan is to tour facilities in order to help Bilbo find her home.
As the next post will tell, there has been much pain in this process, and the suffering is far from an observable end-point. What is important is that, absent any training whatsoever, Frodo is the Good Son. He plays a role of leadership and decisiveness, albeit with sensitivity and compassion. He will lead, and he will demand certain sacrifices, but he will likewise remove anxiety from the logically-determined few days that remain to Bilbo.
Frodo's lot was cast on his father's deathbed. No longer able to speak, but still fresh of heart and clear of mind, Frodo's father exchanged brief notes with the Good Son. Frodo wrote, finally, to his father, "Are you worried?" With great effort, and determination, Frodo's father was only able to write one word in response.
The torch had been passed, and the preparation was complete. Frodo has known from that moment what he must do, and his challenge only that which requires balancing roles with great consequence, and little reward. Perhaps Willie Nelson will serenade Frodo and Sam in their motorcar; that, indeed, is one thing to which they can look forward.