Just because my life is in peril and I’m being threatened by secret forces of darkness doesn’t mean I can’t have a good time. Our return to Troy proved to be just that. We stopped in Jamestown to visit the delightful and informative Lucy and Desi Arnaz Museum, in Salamanca for one of the best antique shopping malls in the state and possibly on the East Coast, Corning for an afternoon snack and shopping and then on to Binghamton where to our surprise Commencement Weekend was in full swing and we were able to share vicariously in the celebratory mood of the young graduates out in the streets and in the bars and pubs and carousing into the night before their parents arrived the next day, some of the newly emancipated and athletic types shirtless and stumbling about oblivious, full of life and happiness and perhaps a little too much joy for their own good but harmless and appealing in their own fashion, and thus we spent the night without incident.

The next day we left I-86 and proceeded through a number of picturesque small towns with names like Trout Creek, Walton, Delhi, and Andes, New York, in the latter where we had a lovely lunch at Two Old Tarts, a bakery and tea shop run by a pair of kindred souls, one of whom had once lived in Los Angeles and expressed his fondness for the town and the good times he’d had there before finding true love and moving to a remote rural outpost to enjoy his good fortune, and then we wended our way to Margaretville, Shandaken and the buccolic Phoenicia and eventually back by back roads to Troy where we celebrated our return with a feast from De Fazio’s Pizzeria on 4th Street, home to the best “White Pizza” I’ve tasted ever in my life and I am possibly only exaggerating a little for the sake of underscoring my point that I can indeed occasionally set aside psychic pain and drama and be good company, having learned the hard way that ‘Fun to Be With,’ is virtually the only job requirement for employment and advancement in Hollywood, along with a willingness to be sexually available, of course, which didn’t count in the current situation unless the utterly adorable pizza delivery boy had been even remotely interested instead of just polite, but no one’s perfect.

At this point I had only another day and a half before I needed to return to my life in Los Angeles and in the time left I was determined to be as much fun to be with as was humanly possible. As these occasions demand, there was also the need to reflect and review.

“A remarkable adventure,” Rose announced over coffee the next morning. “Better than I would have imagined. We covered a lot of ground.”

“We certainly did.”

“I enjoyed myself thoroughly.”

“Me too.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.”

“And William?”

“I think he’s good, Rose. I do.”

“And this reading you’ve been doing. These ‘books,’ this research. Your plan…”

“Oh that.”

“Yes. That.”

“Okay, perhaps I overreacted.  I mean, you can go online and look up ‘remote viewing’ and you’ll probably find a lot of nonsense and – ”

“I know,” Rose answered shortly.

“You do?”

“I went on line.  Last night. After you went to bed. I learned there’s a former government employee used remote viewing to find the Ark of the Covenant.”

“Yes,” I replied. “He was in the book I was – yes.”

“He visited Mars too.”

“Yes.”

“His wife didn’t like it.”

“Well, you can hardly blame her for being upset.”

“The government tried to court martial him for going public about his work.”

“You know how the government can be when it gets pissed off.”

“And so this is what you’ve been doing? This remote viewing?”

“Not exactly but I thought it might be – I mean, I call it something else but there seem to be some similarities, Rose, with what happens when I – ”

“You can’t stop now.”

“What?”

“You heard me. You’re keeping good notes, right? I assume you are. You must publish them. You’ll probably never get on Oprah, of course, but that’s not the end of the world, then again you never know, stranger things have happened.  In any event, you have to keep going.  I’m certain William feels the same way.”

“You do? I mean, he probably does. I think he likes being remembered. It’s kind of a status thing on the other side, being remembered. Or, so I’ve read.”

“I’m not surprised. According to Sarah, my family is deeply grateful for my work on Ancestry.com.”

“I’m glad to hear that, Rose.”

“Yes, well, we all do what we can. Soldier on, my darling. As for this business about forgetting everything, however, I think that’s a big mistake. Or a misdirect by those who would try and divert you from your task.”

“Really?”

“There’s nothing wrong with being scared. People who say they have no fear are either liars or fools.  But you don’t dodge fear by forgetting. Set it to one side, perhaps, but you keep going. That’s what courage is: Life gives you something scary and you do it anyway. I had to remember that every time I walked out on stage.  If there’s any value to forgetting, it’s in forgetting words like ‘Shouldn’t’ or ‘Can’t’ because all they do is get in the way and keep you stuck.”

“But what if you don’t know what to do?”

“Except you do know, my darling. In your heart. You’re over 21, you’re not a child. There’s no turning back. Ignorance is not knowing. Stupidity is choosing not to know.”

It all sounded so clear and obvious when I listened to Rose.