I have eleven close girlfriends from my high-school class. “The twelve,” we call ourselves. We’ve had bumps in the road, big ones, and yet 21 years after graduation, we’re more or less intact.
And when it comes to Martin, these friends have joined the struggle in ways I could have not imagined.
It was a high-school girlfriend, an EI practitioner, who first identified Martin’s disorder as autism and got us started in the road to intervention and recovery. It was another, a chef, who recently came to stay two weeks with us when Martin started eating meat, to prepare his special meals. It is others who read this blog, who offer listening ears, who email regularly just to ask how he’s doing.
Now comes yet another debt of gratitude. A high-school friend, who still resides in my hometown, sent a Facebook message, asking after Martin and what she could do to help. I hesitated, then reminded myself that I’ve decided to accept as much help as I can get, and made a request:
“I could use some venison.”
That must have sounded strange to my friend, who knows me as a long-time vegetarian. Probably it sounds strange also to anyone who doesn’t know that, in the semi-rural area where I grew up, people hunt. A lot. Before I became a vegetarian at age 16, I ate venison by the pound. It’s so lean and protein-dense, just what we’re seeking for Martin these days. It’s also difficult to procure, in Manhattan.
My friend responded that getting venison might be tough; the economic climate right now means most folks eat all of what they shoot.
I know, I said. No expectations.
Let me see what I can do, she wrote.
A couple weeks passed. I’d nearly forgotten the request when this friend’s chat box appeared on Facebook again, to say she had venison for me, stored in the freezer on her family’s farm.
As luck would have it, one of my brothers happened to be visiting our hometown last week, and then coming down to New York City on Monday to help my mother with Martin while we travel. I dispatched this brother to meet my friend and retrieve the venison, which now is snug and secure in my freezer.
“Hand-off was a success?” I texted my friend after she met my brother. “You rock so much. Thanks a million.”
“Yup…. No prob. Hope he enjoys. Mainly spiedie meat…hope that’s ok.”
Spiedies are a dish regional to the area where I grew up. They consist of intensely marinated meat skewered alongside vegetables and grilled. I panicked, briefly, my mind on the myriad non-Martin-friendly ingredients that might be in marinade. “Is that the cut, or has it been marinated?”
“Not marinated! I believe it is the cut but not cubed.”
“That is so ultra-perfect I can’t even say,” I texted, relieved and grateful to the point of effusion. “You are the bestest.”
“Nah…just a friend.”
Your blogger, headed from Israel into the Kingdom of Jordan.
Your blogger, descending to the ruins at Petra, Kingdom of Jordan. And thinking about Martin.