A beautiful day with friends

My friends Carol Iannone and Dean Ericson drove down from New York City on Saturday for a visit. It was a lovely, sunny day. After a picnic lunch brought by Dean of split pea soup and sandwiches, we went for a walk on my friend’s circular, hilly street. The street has many Frank Lloyd Wright knockoffs built in the1950s, with numerous trees on their front yards (the trees were preserved as part of the original sale of the land) which make for unusual vistas. We went about 400 yards back and forth—meaning I walked almost a quarter mile. This impressed me, as my body has been weaker over the last week—related to the steroid or perhaps the radiation treatment not to the cancer—and I’ve been having more difficulty walking. The greatest difficulty I have is standing up a sitting position.

Then we sat at a table on the Italian-style patio behind the house and luxuriated in the sun. We enjoyed the tree overhead with its gloriously spreading branches and white buds that reminded me of a famous scene from Dr. Zhivago, except that the scene in the movie was imbued with tragic sadness and our tree brought happiness. As I put it recently, tragedy, while one of the highest experiences of Western man, is not the highest. Christ is.

Here are some of the photos taken by Dean. They’re mostly Auster-centric, as he mostly shot me, not us as a group. But there’s one photo of Carol in all her Neopolitan beauty. I like the symmetrical way the three of us, plus my caregiver/angel, like European America itself, come from all of Europe: in clockwise order, northern Europe (Sweden and Norway), northeastern Europe (Poland and Lithuania), southern Europe (Italy), and far-northwestern Europe (Ireland). By the way, I’ve always had a theory, based on the Greek appearance of Carol’s surname, that her distant ancestors were part of the Greek colonization of Magna Graecia in Italy during the eighth century B.C.


My legs look unnaturally short. That’s due to my pants riding low because of my skinniness. I weighed 200 pounds in December (very overweight for my height) and then during the seven weeks of intestinal hell when I was barely eating went down to 176 pounds. Since I’ve been in Pennsylvania I’ve been eating normally yet have not regained any weight. This has concerned me. But my oncologist explained last week that the radiation keeps me from gaining weight. The three week brain radiation treatment ended last Friday and the radiation to the cervical spine will end this Wednesay. Then I should start gaining weight and will not have my pants constantly falling down.

As you see my right eye is shut. That is one of the neurological symptoms of the brain metastases. It happens occasionally then returns to “normal.” The present “normal” is that my right eye lid is always a bit closed. The occasional complete shutting of the right eye is usually accompanied by the forceful, twisted shutting of the right side of the mouth, making me look a bit like Charles Laughton as Quasimodo in the movie of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.


Here you can see more clearly the shutting of the right eye, but this is also not typical. Usually the right eye is shut a bit more than the left, but not to such an extreme degree as seen here.


I began losing my hair a week ago and now it’s almost gone. It will probablly grow back some time after the radiation treatment stops. Dean says I look like Buckminster Fuller.

And again, the closing of the right eye in this photo is much more pronounced than it usually is.


Carol Iannone and me during our walk.


Deborah C. writes:

Thank you, Larry, for sharing your beautiful day (in images) with us, your devoted readers. It does the heart good — it does my heart good — to learn you are among friends and to see you enjoying God’s gracious gift of life in such a pastoral and peaceful setting.

Zeno C. writes:

I enjoyed very much seeing the photos that you posted, taken by Mr. Ericson. I have never met you personally and never will, but somehow the photos made you seem more real and human to me, even when showing (or perhaps because of that) some of the effects of the debilitating disease and treatment. Also, the photos made me realize that you really are in no position to waste your precious time answering self-absorbed emails such as mine (so again I am sorry for what I wrote the other time).

In any case, I am glad that you are able to enjoy life despite all troubles: the photos show a happy man. I hope that you have many more days like that.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 11, 2013 03:38 PM | Send

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