I had a few reasons for choosing this card today. On a superficial level, it's St. Patrick's Day and I figured I should feature a McSomebody, and Dave McNally is the cream of the crop. But I also had him in mind because he was featured in one of my dreams last night. It wasn't much; I think I was rooting through some old family photos and McNally appeared in some of them. I realized that he must have been a family friend, and it occurred to me in the dream that I should make some attempt to contact him. This segues into another dream I had last night, actually.
I was near my parents' house, about a block away. I was sitting on a bench with my grandmother Boots. She was talking about how long it had been since we had been to Chestertown, and how much she'd like to go back there. This all made sense to me; I went to college in Chestertown, and she frequently made the trip down with my parents to see my plays. We would go to dinner beforehand at one of my favorite local restaurants. It was a small rural town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, with a beautiful downtown area that was right on the Chester River. There were historically preserved buildings dating back to the Eighteenth Century. If my family headed out from home early enough, they'd stop at the outlet shops on Route 301 on their way, or even take some extra time in Chestertown to browse at all of the little local stores. It meant a lot to me that my grandmother, who was in her mid-seventies at that time, would go to the trouble of riding in the backseat of my parents' car for nearly four hours round-trip just to see me and support me. She sat through some plays that must have seemed pretty strange to her.
So, back in the dream, I'm telling her that of course we'll go back to Chestertown. We can go this summer, in fact. She tells me that I'll have to help her out because she wouldn't know where to go. This goes without saying; she never got her drivers' license in the first place. So I make it perfectly clear that I will take her there, and that we'll see the sights together. It even crosses my mind that I had better make these plans concrete. After all, she might not be around for too many more years, and I've got to take advantage of the time we have together. I realize how much I'm enjoying just sitting and talking with her.
Of course when I woke up, the first thing that crossed my mind was the reality of the situation. Boots passed away in August of 2006 after enduring two years of various health complications initially brought on by a series of strokes. Dave McNally, too, is dead, having succumbed to lung cancer in December 2002.
After the initial disappointment of feeling like I'd lost my grandmother all over again, I've been reminding myself to be grateful that in some way, for some small amount of time, I got to spend some time with her again.