Monday, April 15, 2013
Looking as elegant and refined as ever, Patricia Bellardi answered at the door. "Stevie, we've been expecting you," she beamed. "And the children are with you. How wonderful. Please come in and have some treats."
Stevie was relieved to find Mrs. Bellardi lucid and conversational. There were other days, she had heard, that the senator's wife wandered through the house not knowing who she was or where she was. Advancing Alzheimer's played its cruel tricks on the lovely lady every day. Stevie sympathized with her family.
Stevie saw Robert and greeted him with a pleasant smile and a businesslike handshake. "I'm just on my way out," he explained, slipping into his coat. "I have a ton of work to do. But I had to stay long enough to see you one more time and ... to say good-bye."
"I'm glad you did. I was hoping you'd be here. I didn't want you to leave Redding without knowing how much I appreciate and ... care for you." He smiled warmly. "I admire you, Stevie, for your strong convictions and the courage to live them out, even when the heat is on. All the best to you and the family," he said, reaching for the door. Then, with a cheery "Merry Christmas and good-bye," he was gone. "Good-bye," she said softly, but the door was already closed. She turned back to the party.