As with most major events in my life, this particular episode began with a seemingly innocuous morning conversation.

Finally on the road to recovery from the latest in a series of illnesses and able to once again enter his private domain bulging with all manner of saws, grinders, sanders and multiple tool cases filled with hammers, screwdrivers, pliers and Lord-only-knows-whatsits, my Best Beau stared into his coffee cup and said he had been thinking.

Over the years, these words have raised the hair on the back of my neck fairly often, and I say short, silent prayers to the Big Guy that this would be one of his good thoughts. (Our trip to Alaska’s Glacier Bay began that way.)

“Since you went back to work full time, I’m pretty much left to my own devices. There’s no one to talk to except myself, and you know what a lousy conversationalist I am. How would you feel about getting a…

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