Dorinda D.

Dorinda D.
Orlando, Florida, United States
May 20
I teach writing at several universities. My two daughters are seven and 18. I adore my children, have trouble raising them, and you will read more about them than you care to. I am a professional cancer survivor. There is a lot more that I don't know than I do know.


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MARCH 27, 2012 12:54PM

Savannah Starbucks Redux

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The Savannah August 2007 was originally posted on Open Salon when I first began blogging in 2008. 

Savannah August 2007

I am on my way home down I-95 to Orlando from the rural north of Charleston where I visited a friend  who tries so hard but is so terribly conservative and ex-military and we just are not meshing. His elderly dog stays on the old-fashioned sleep porch watching Fox news all day which amuses me in bad ways.

I stop in historic Savannah on the way home for lunch. I love River Street, the city parks, and the general elegance not found elsewhere. I buy a cool Harley Davidson t-shirt with long fake tattooed sleeves and have shrimp and grits with two glasses of Chardonnay for lunch. This means I have to kill two hours before driving again.

I walk down the street and see a palm reader storefront.

A week before I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. The prognosis is iffy.  I had read the following information from the National Cancer Institute.

Prognosis describes the likely course and outcome of a disease—that is, the chance that a patient will recover or have a recurrence. IBC is more likely to have metastasized (spread to other areas of the body) at the time of diagnosis than non-IBC cases (3). As a result, the 5-year survival rate for patients with IBC is between 25 and 50 percent, which is significantly lower than the survival rate for patients with non-IBC breast cancer. It is important to keep in mind, however, that these statistics are averages based on large numbers of patients. Statistics cannot be used to predict what will happen to a particular patient because each person's situation is unique. Patients are encouraged to talk to their doctors about their prognosis given their particular situation.

It might be amusing to spend $25 to see if the fortune teller sees that.

Hmmm . . . . There is a man in his late forties who has dark hair, dark eyes, problems at work, and the need to discuss said problems with me.

Gee, I’m a middle-aged woman -- what are the odds that this could be true?

Also the next year will be a healthy year for me and I will triumph.

OK. We’ll see.

I leave and ask a concierge at a nearby hotel for directions to the nearest Starbucks. I am severely addicted to Starbucks venti unsweet iced tea and spend a fortune on it every month. Fortunately this iced tea is easily found. I need caffeine in my system to balance out alcohol so I can drive home. The concierge tells me to go down the street and turn left at the front of the silver-plated domed government building. (That should tell you what Savannah is about.)

I do that and walk three blocks to Starbucks and stand in line because well Starbucks always has a line and is always crowded. A homeless man behind me is curiously obsessed with obtaining an espresso brownie.

I think whatever and tell him, “I will buy you the brownie.” He does not realize he has scored and continues on about hospitalizations, surgeries, miseries etc. I tell him that is in my future, I’m sorry it is in his past, and I will get an espresso brownie too because I never had one before. So I get to the cash register and order the iced tea and brownies.

On the way out of Starbucks a half dozen of Savannah’s lovely citizens stop me to say they will pray for me because their family members/loved ones had cancer too.

I sober up and drive home.

I do not know that I have cancer in 2007 and will yet again in 2010.

Savannah March 2012

I am on a train from Kissimmee to Savannah with a new gentleman friend.  As noted earlier the previous gentleman friend tried hard but we did not mesh.  My train companion is not necessarily new but he is a kind, handsome, progressive Atheist who enjoys live music and works hard at entertaining me  He knows I love to hear the sound of trains in the night and romanticize them.  We can mesh with the best of them. He is also pragmatic and when gas is at $4.00 a gallon a train is cheaper. We now know why Europe has so many trains.

Thus he is on a train with me for over six hours. We spend some time in the lounge car being as I describe “Nick and Nora” and when I remind him of the old movie characters he says he remembers.  We see many lovely views of the St. Johns River and cool shotgun shacks with tin roofs out in the middle of nowhere.  I decide I want one of those instead of the stereotypical cabin in the woods.  I want to hear rain on the tin roof while the trains pass at night.  We converse with our overeducated lounge car bartender about philosophy.  My friend is very interested in  the obscenity of American exceptionalism and I just like Emerson. The lounge bartender has thee graduate degrees . . . one in behavioral mathematics.  I decide I want to Nick and Nora the whole trip.  We know we are going to see John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett in an acoustic performance for the Savannah Music Fesitival.  We will also stumble onto fabulous gospel and blues performances by Ruthie Foster and the Campbell Brothers.

We check into a luxury hotel with a balcony view of all of Savannah that twinkles in the moonlight all the way to the ocean.  There is a light rain and we set off walking  down shining old cobblestones through lovely parks until we improbably find a middle eastern restaurant called The Casbah where we enjoy meeting the waiters, learning how to grill fabulous mideastern tomatoes, and have the attention of a belly dancer in a green I Dream of Jeanie outfit.  We leave The Casbah and walk one block until the rain gets heavy so we duck into a small Irish pub to learn to like Bushmills Black and dislike the shrill fun being had by a bridesmaid’s party.

Back at the hotel other stuff happens.  We wake up late and I need the tea.  I am and likely always will be addicted to Starbucks iced green tea UNSWEET and must have the largest trenta cup available.  We go to Starbucks where there is quite a line.  My friend sits in a comfortable chair reading and waiting as he has learned to do.  I go to the counter to order my tea.

Then I realize where I am.  I had forgotten which Starbucks I was at in August 2007.

I get my tea and find my friend sitting in a chair located where some stranger prayed for me five years before.  Starbucks has likely redecorated a few times.  I have my tea in my hand and am crying when I kiss him.

Ruthie Foster “Full Circle”

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This was so meaningful to me. Thanks for sharing it, wow, it touched a special place. You are a gifted writer.
I would love this even if I had never met you and H and even if I hadn't been (along with some others here) a small part of your story. But because I have been, I love it even more.
This was so touching, Dorinda.