Bonnie and Max

1998. At the cabin in Nederland, Bonnie and Max posing on Craig Bushman’s blue BMW.

A little story about love. Bonnie and Max, friends of mine since 1978, have lived together in a common law relationship (meaning they never formally got married) for over 50 years. They met when Max was 16 as I recall, (give or take a year, my memory is a bit foggy on that one), and so she would have been 19 at the time. He was beginning his first career as a luthier, and Bonnie, a folk singer, wanted to learn how to make herself an Appalachian dulcimer, her instrument of choice.

A few weeks ago Bonnie, now 76, had open heart surgery to replace 2 valves in her heart.

“Games of Hive and Carcassonne have morphed into lengthy walks through the grounds. Phone messages and email are getting responses. This girl is BACK. We had a trial home visit yesterday and tomorrow we’re checking out. Whew, this has been quite a trip, we’ll be home tomorrow but it’s still a long way to normal. It’s been a big job for both of us but not without some bright spots. Here’s one straight out of the movies. We have a secret song. You all know it, but of course I can’t tell you what it is or it wouldn’t be secret. Bonnie was still in the ICU. Her breathing tube had been removed. I think there were three people from her care team in the room and they were all trying to get some response from Bonnie. “Bonnie, can you open your eyes?” “Bonnie, someone is here to see you.” “Bonnie, can you hear me?” “Bonnie, Max is here.” They knew she used hearing aids so they were speaking louder with each request. Bonnie was having none of it. Zip, nada, no response. No one seemed very perturbed by this, all in a days work. They’d do some things, check some things confer for a bit and try again. After a few rounds I asked if I could try. I sang the secret song softly in her ear and her eyes popped open. Then she turned her head enough to see me. That was good enough for the team.”

I lived for 21 years in a small log cabin on their property outside of Nederland, from 1992-2013. I have so many stories about these two, I start to cry as I recall them all.

They often went for walks together which began as they strolled down the driveway past the cabin. They were always holding hands. And sometimes when I would go to their house to visit they would sit on the couch holding hands as we conversed.

The best love possible between two people, that’s what they have. Bonnie and Max.

Author: RJMS

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