Coming Attractions

A chapter of my life concluded this morning, but I caught a glimpse of what the end of the book may look like.

A man who I had gotten to know well over the last nine years moved away today.

Not because he wanted to, but because he ran out of workable options.

Our initial meeting can be described by that classic phrase, “Honey, he follwed me home, can we keep him?”

If Ron liked you, you always had something to do if you wanted to and sometimes even if you didn’t want to.

Ron, at dinner , our house for his 81st birthday, back in May.

Ron, at dinner , our house for his 81st birthday, back in May.

Fiercly opinionated, Ron  owns more books and bottles of wine than anyone I know. Life was pretty black and white for him, at least during the years I have known him.  He was an enigma, wrapped in a puzzle.  Since we agreed on most topics (if two people always agree, one of them is not necessary) we gravitated and fed off each other’s enthusiasm for the same topics…our church, National politics and watching golf. . . always with a glass of wine.

His grown children live in far away states  as do my parents, and  I suppose it could be said that we adopted each other.

They wanted him to move closer to them, but he wanted to stay in his retirement  home, in Aiken.

As the years passed, his short-term memory and motor functions continued to show the wear and tear of eighty one years.  A few months ago, he drove his car for many miles with a flat tire, pulling in his garage on a rim… the car, never repaired, still sits in his garage. He  rarely asked about getting it fixed.

I guess he understood that chapter in his life was completed.

Still wanting to be independent, and not one to accept no as an answer,  arrangements were made for someone to come in for a few hours each day to be wth him and to take him around.  It improved his situation in some regards, but the progression continued and the man who could talk about many complex topics, often couldn’t remember what he had for lunch, or if he even had lunch.

I was becoming more of a back up caregiver than a friend. It was a role that I gladly accepted. I had almost daily contact with him.

I would take him to Mass on Sunday mornings and then we would stop somewhere for breakfast.  It was a routine that we both looked forward to.

My wife, being the nurturing person she is, started having me bring him to our home on Sunday evenings for dinner. It became another  routine for all of us. Watch golf, drink wine, eat dinner, go home.

Last week, we were going to be away on Sunday and we made arrangements for Ron to come on Saturday.  I picked him up and when we got to our house, he fell as he was walking up our front steps, hitting his head on the brick walkway and actually being unconcious for a few minutes.

An ambulance ride to the hospital, five hours in the ER and some tests was what it took to admit him and change the rest of his life.

He stayed in the hospital while plans were made for him to be transferred near his daughter’s family in the Philadelphia metro area.

Yesterday, Alicia, Ron and me…a sanitized goodbye.

Yesterday, Alicia, Ron and me…a sanitized goodbye.

It has been decided that he has crossed the line of  no longer being able to live alone safely… in his house,  with his “stuff”. This was a concept that he fought and fought, but this week, he seemed resigned to what was happening.

I was away on business most of the week, but I stayed in contact with his daughter and daughter in law to get updates.

On Saturday, Alicia and I went to visit him, only the second, non-family member I have visted in the hospital in decades, (no one likes it when the undertaker shows up at your hospital room door, right?)

We talked about him going away to get some strength and balance back, but we didn’t get into all that, “this may be the last time we ever see each other stuff”

I regret  that I sanitized the conversation. I should have held him and cried for the fact that he became such a big part of my life and I was going to miss him.  I wanted to ask him how it felt knowing  that he was not going back to his house, but to a “rehab” facility that was five hundred miles away?

I should have told him  how scared and sorry I was that he was entering that final  phase of the thing we call “life”.  What was around the corner?

We nevcer know what is around the corner, do we?

We nevcer know what is around the corner, do we?

Not only scared for him, I was scared  as this was a “Coming Attraction” for me as we never know what those last years, months and days will be like.

I kissed his head and walked away.

This Sunday afternoon, my house is eerily quiet as I watch some golf, sip some wine, cry and ponder life’s rules.

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Why Not?

This works for me. . .   

One of his many, interesting headers.

One of his many, interesting headers.

FromThe Eclectic One

Be sure to read his explanation.

 

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So True

This is called “The Older You Get, The Less You Care”

Maggie, twelve years old and queen of the pack

Maggie, twelve years old and queen of the pack

The 10-second video below  was taken this afternoon while Jelly was cleaning up the kitchen.

Someone wasn’t all that impressed with the need to clean up all the dog hair.

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Better Than Mushy, Green Peas

From the  “Come big, or don’t come at all” file

I’m out of town for a few days, but wanted to let y’all know I was still alive and kickin’

I have a good story to tell tomorrow night, however.

If I had a son, he’d look eat  like this:      Image

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Just Doin’ His Job

We all have a reason to be here, a role to fill. . .

A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire truck zoomed past.

Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the dog’s duties. “They use him to keep crowds back,” said one child.

th-1

“No,” said another. “He’s just for good luck.” A third child brought the argument to a close. “They use the dogs,” she said firmly, “to find the fire hydrants.”

Thanks to Mark P.

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Tempus Fugit

“Time Flies”

And the older you grow, the faster it seems to escape you.

I thought about writing a column that consisted of nothing but cliche’s and phrases from songs,  to describe the chaos of the last few weeks as a way of making excuses as to why so little has been produced on these pages.

However, this morning I saw what a BB* wrote after what I can only imagine was a stressful week for him (he’s a big-deal, financial type, very close to  the center of the universe). If he could  appear positive and of good cheer, why couldn’t I ?

I  used his stories to take a  five-minute, virtual vacation.

I left my kitchen table refreshed, rejuvinated and it didn’t cost a penny.

Avail yourself to the same therapy.  (coffee optional, deep breathing not)

Querencia       slide_434732_5678734_free

Zen Dogs

*  “Blogging Buddy”

Thank you, David.

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Conflicts

conflict
NOUN
[ ˈkänˌflikt ]
a serious disagreement or argument, typically a protracted one:
synonyms: dispute · quarrel · squabble · disagreement · dissension · More
VERB
[ kənˈflikt, ˈkänˌflikt ]
be incompatible or at variance; clash:
synonyms: clash · be incompatible · vary · be at odds · be in conflict · More
Powered by OxfordDictionaries · © Oxford University Press

There are several conflicts taking place in my  little slice of paradise. Some are self imposed, some are external and most come with hyperlinks and  zig-zag from point A to F.

First, I have been invited to pen a guest post on Kurt Nemes’ Classical Music Almanac, one of my favorite blogs. Kurt and I banter back and forth from time to time and he is another one of the guys I would love to live near so I could visit and be a bother.   He provided me a topic and and asked if I would consider writing a post as a “guest blogger” I quickly agreed, but some of the other conflicts are keeping me from doing it as quickly as I’d like to, but I will not let this opportunity pass by.

Gavin (L) and Jim. . . our "frontmen"

Gavin (L) and Jim. . . our “frontmen”

Next, after a typical, summer sabatical, the boys in the band are back at it and we are geting ready for some Fall gigging.  As has been the case, unforseen conflicts arise, making it difficult for us all to get in the same room for a few hours, but we are trying. We are down for the struggle.

A balance between work, family and quiet time continues to be the number one conflict in my life and I’ll leave it at that.

I feel conflicted when I try to decide whether to read, practice songs, sit and talk with the family, blog, or putz around the house.  Image

I did however, recently find a conflict that I enjoyed. It was a book given to me by the author, Clifford Lawrence Meth.  The book, written in  1998 is entitled, Conflicts of Disinterest and it is one of Meth’s earlier works, along with Crib Death & Other Bedtime Stories, (1995)  which was given to me as a gift from a mutual friend several years ago.

That mutual friend was the late Peppi Marchello, founding member and front man for the band, The Good Rats. It’s a New York/Long Island thing. Sort of like The Blue Dogs are  in Charleston.

Cliff and Peppi were friends in the truest sense of the word. I was a fan, but a fan for so many years, and Peppi was such an easy-going guy, that he remembered me and even called me once or twice a year to see when I might be coming up for a show.

Cliff spearheaded and effort to publish a book of  the lyrics and photos that described Peppi’s career. It is entitled Peppi Marchello, The Songwriter and I am honored to have a photograph that I took in 2011 be part of the book.

Alas, as often is the case, I digress.

June, 26, 2011, Lake Hopatcong, NJ...with his bat. This picture made the book.

June, 26, 2011, Lake Hopatcong, NJ…with his bat. This picture made the book.

I read . . . a lot, but I normally do not read fiction or short stories. I am a biography, politics and religion kind of reader. Safe to say that Cliff’s story books are at the opposite end of the spectrum from novels by Michael D. O’Brien, my favorite author.

When Al Feldstein,the former (and now deceased) editor-in-chief of Mad Magazine endorses the book, you just know it is going to be different. BTW, our generation lived for the next edition of Mad Magazine. Those were the days.

The intro for “Conflicts” was written by Peppi and there are several references to the band in the stories.  The things that I liked best however, is that the stories take place in NYC, Long Island and Suburban New Jersey, places I have lived and/or been to and  places he describes with a city-boy grittiness that I don’t seek out all that often. It was refreshing, in an edgy way. Buy the book, see for yourself and find a memory

Times Square, circa 1980's

Times Square, circa 1980’s

 

These are stories about living in and around the  center of the universe, New York City, during the 1970’s-80’s.  I can recall, with a subtle smile/smirk,  stories from my life that played out like some of the characters Meth brings to life.

 

During a  time that was so much simpler.

A time with less conflicts.

 

 

 

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