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Posts Tagged ‘Aging’

I rub the sleepy out of my eyes and stop making the bed. It’s wash day! I can skip this chore. After breakfast I turn on my favorite radio talk show to listen to while putting on my face. Ummm, he must not come on this early.

I can’t believe it! I missed both my pills yesterday, morning and evening! Better wash one down right now and how did they get in the wrong slot?

I get a better look at that object by my mailbox when I open the windows. It surely looks like a newspaper, but I don’t get the paper on Monday or Tuesday. Too bad the delivery guy made a mistake. That means I’ll have a slim Monday paper to read on this rainy day.

The drizzle is kind of pleasant, the air a little cool as I retrieve my illicit newspaper. Darn it’s heavy for a Monday. Ummmm I don’t remember getting the fat Sunday paper yesterday. Plop, it goes on the table. Darned if it isn’t Sunday’s edition. That guy must have forgotten and dropped it a day late.

What’s the date on that paper? Twenty-fourth. Let me check the wall calendar.

Uh oh! Sunday? Today is Sunday? Let me turn on CBS. There is that big yellow sun and the Sunday Morning show. You mean I don’t have to wash clothes, gather and take garbage, clean litter? Then I glance in the bedroom. There’s that unmade bed, just as rumpled as my mind.

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Multi-generational epics bore me. Just give me a good read about an important slice in someone’s life and I can be swept away. So I find myself verging on vertigo in my real life. Epics are difficult to avoid when you have lived through a few decades. You can’t say, “No, just highlight this part or that.” The parts string along like toilet paper on your shoe until you find yourself tangled in a true-life multi-generational epic. Well, if not epic then situation.

This is what brought that on. We are planning a few upgrades on the home we have lived in for almost thirty-two years. One son re-roofed for us a few years ago, his friend installed new windows, and another re-habbed the master bath. Our son-in-law (an electrician) upgraded the power box. Strangers installed carpet. How did that happen? Now for a second stage the same friend will tile the other bath, the neighbor kid, now all grown up, will do the plumbing. The son of our son’s best man will do exterior painting.

In that mix of characters are a father fighting for custody of a child, another denying his child until DNA evidence turned him into a real father. That son is being a real father to his new child. A couple of young fathers being fathers with or without marriage, a worker with great promise ending back in jail.

Do you need a scorecard? The point is almost all these very competent workers we knew as children or knew their parents before they were born (except the jailed one). We are aware of many of their most private struggles and successes, many poignant slices of their lives. Those slices now strung together form the ingredients of an epic.

Okay, it’s just a house that needs work and has no other significance. I’ll just curl up with a book of short stories until it is finished. Sometimes I think too much.

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Distance

mothersmemorial-015.jpgI have an “elder” aunt who is. Aunt Fayrene has her finger on the pulse of our “tribe.” We don’t seem so far removed from the ancients when I look at it that way.  Our modern tribe’s feminine head creates family connections and archives not by chiseling stone, but on Hotmail. The result is the same. She is the glue that binds our family and records our progressions.

When the two of us were young a few years age difference seemed as vast as the distance from the street to our house. Now I drive by the old homestead and my front porch is almost sitting in the street. It’s not such a big step to relate this to the winnowing of family members. The top layer of the family has been peeling off over the years until now only a few aunts remain above me. Aunt Fayrene is the hub of the family, the go-to person, the “exalted elder.” At some point I came to realize our age difference is not as vast as it seemed when we were younger. She is only eight years older than I. Eight! All of a sudden I see myself sitting much closer to the street.

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beda70thbd-0051.jpgbeda70thbd-0041.jpgJack Jack LaLanne, my role model, on his 70th birthday swam 1.5 miles handcuffed and shackled while towing 70 boats with 70 people from Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary.

I think I’ll pass, but on my 70th there should be something I can do to honor his influence in my life. So check out these pictures taken today of the pose I held for 70 seconds. It’s the best I could do, Jack.

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