2 June 2004
"How very strange," muttered Simon and/or Garfunkel, "to be seventy."
They'll get there fast enough. Meanwhile, Dear Old Dad goes ten percent beyond, turning seventy-seven today, and while it would be starry-eyed in the extreme to say he's in the best of health, he doesn't seem to be deteriorating much, either.
Still, I worry. Emphysema has turned his lungs into a wasteland, and he's tethered to an oxygen source. He can walk fairly well, sometimes better than I can, but he can't walk very much, simply because that plastic lifeline will only go so far. And while he wasn't a traveling sort of fellow maybe all those years in the service took the Wanderlust out of him it's hard for me to accept the fact that he'll likely spend the rest of his life in those same three or four rooms.
What matters, though, is that there is a "rest of his life"; with Mom gone twenty-seven years now, and the surviving children spread across town, he's the unmistakable center of the family, and were it up to me, he'd stay there as long as possible.
And he has one secret weapon: the woman he married after a decent interval of widowerhood, who is still by his side and always will be. I pretend to chafe at having a stepmother my own age, but I have no doubt that without her, he'd never have lasted this long.
To both of them, I raise my glass, and towards the sky, I raise my hopes.