Lola Jane Chester, daughter of George W. Chester and  Marvel "Scottie" Jackson

Born: May 7, 1936. Died: May 15, 1997.


Tennessee, Hannah Marcus and I went to Muir Beach. We were there for about an hour when a morning dove came walking up to our spot and started hanging around, acting like it might be hungry. I offered it some bread but it declined. I tried a cap of water but again, it didn't seem interested. Meanwhile, it was very close -- close enough top nibble at my finger. Which it did.

By this time, I started to figure it had a broken wing or something else wrong with it. Then it hopped up on me and made a perch of my arm. He became very skittish when Ten or Hannah or anyone else got near him, but seemed perfectly content to be in contact with me.

After a while, the Park Service showed up and decided that Mr. B, (as I had begun calling him in reference to Uncle Chrisís bird), was injured and needed a ride to the humane society. That sounded reasonable enough although I had already developed a bit of a bond, and felt vague objections to anyone else taking over for Mr. B's well-being.

Anyway, the two rangers closed in and reached down with a gloved hand to scoop up the apparently flightless bird. Well, I knew instinctively that however tame this bird might appear to be, he wasn't gonna go for anyone but me. And he definitely wasnít going to go for the glove. In fact, he flew away! We were all shocked -- Mr. B could fly. He had just wanted to hang out with us. Mr. B was gone, but I wasn't too upset -- after all, at least he appeared healthy.

Hannah and Tennessee went looking for the bird and actually found him in a marshy area about 50 yards away. They couldnít coax him out, so they called me. I went over and they pointed him out to me. I called him and he came walking out. He walked right up to me and hopped back on my arm. Tennessee was fairly awestruck; we all were, actually. Who was this bird, and why did he like me? Over time, it seemed to many of us that the bird was an incarnation of Lola. In later years, I came to have other odd encounters with birds that felt like little Lola visits.


July 11, 1996

I've been in Fort Worth now since the night of Wednesday, July 3, 1996. Mom had her bone marrow transplant. Lat night, she was taken into surgery at 12 midnight for a crash surgery. They took a vein out of her arm that was suspected of being infected. She's in a lot of pain, physically and psychically. She's been taking it on the chin, over and over again, without complaining or asking for pity or sympathy. I cannot believe how tough she is. It's incredible. Even in all this pain, she asks after everyone else. When I came to the hospital the first night, my knees were dirty because I had been up late the night before gardening and never showered. Well, when I got to her bedside in the Oncology ICU, the first thing she asked was, "What happened to your knee?". She thought I had skinned my knee and was worried. What a mom. And when she was going into to surgery, she was thinking about Tennessee, asking about him, etc. She told me how cute and funny and wonderful she thinks Tennessee is. She's such a trooper it breaks my heart.

Lola had another vein removed the other night. Nick and I flew wing together from 5:00 pm til 3:00 am. We got pretty giddy in the OR waiting room. When we followed the guerney as they wheeled Lola into surgery, we were joking about it because trhe hallway was sloped and that guerney had no brakes. We were thinking it could be an Olympic sport -- downhill guerney racing -- and of course that led to the requisite "Jamaican Guerney Team" jokes. " ... Coming around the corner and, oh, he bashed into the wall. That one looks like it really hurt the rider, Bob. That's gonna cost 'em a lot of points. I don't see how they can recover."


Lola had yet another vein removed while she was still in the hospital. The plastic surgeon stapled the wound closed. 28 big staples. Last week, I took Lola back to Dr. Ferris' office to have the staples removed. The incision was pretty long -- maybe 14 inches -- and Lola was feeling depressed. She said she looked like frankenstein. I told her it was too bad she was getting them removed. With her bald head and all those staples, she could come to San Francisco and be a guru on Haight Street. The young people would be following her everywhere. "Like, I got a few nose rings. but did you check out the new babe with the staples. It's hard core, man!" Lola about doubled over in her chair laughing. If she'd been a little healthier, I'm sure I would have heard the sucking sound of the patented Lola inhaling laugh.


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