Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another Trip Down Memory Lane

A month ago my family and I visited the town where we kids grew up, re-connected with several old friends and toured the town. We had soooo much fun remembering all the good times there.

When we visited last month, my brother's friend dropped in on us at lunch and had a nice visit. He told us his 102 year-old father was in the air at that moment, flying back here for a visit. What a spunky father! They apparently had a nice time together the next week... then Mr. 102 went on to where the sisters live. He got sick, landed in the hospital, and promptly died. Oh.. and it's an interesting story. He had been a small town, general practice doctor for 40 years and known for being a very good diagnostician. He was sharp and clever right to the end. He was feeling his own belly and told his daughter, "I think I need a surgery consult." Within two minutes he had breathed his last breath.

So back we went to the old Stomping Grounds for the memorial service. The church was full, the service was a very nice celebration of Doc's life, and we once again saw old friends and had great times re-connecting. After 40 years of never going back, I have now been back three times in the last nine months. It feels good to re-connect, even when it's for a bittersweet reason.

the church, full of folks paying their respects. I sat next to a 95 year-old guy who leaned over to me and said, "there are a lot of old people here."

small town America, slowly dying... so sad

an old advertising mural on the side of one of the town buildings

dusk, with the sun kissing the top of this cloud bank

1 comment:

Sextant said...

You have to feel bad for Doc 102, yet damn, we all have to die, and by God he did it the right way. I hope I am so lucky.

A story similar to that was told to me by a guy I worked with on my business trips. His neighbor and close friend made it a point to go up and fly his Cessna on his 98th birthday. Nothing really unusual about that he was medically cleared and had a valid pilots license. He had went up on the weekend before and after his 98th birthday but he did make it a point to go up on his 98th birthday.

One time in his 80s he had hopscotched to Europe, Labrador, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland... and landed in Sweden. He wanted to rent a car. "Sorry Sir, but you are too old to rent a car in Sweden." He replied, "To hell with you, I'll just get in my plane and fly to hell out of this damned country." Which is exactly what he did.

For the sad ending, after flying on his 98th birthday in July, he caught pneumonia in September. He couldn't shake it and died in December.

I recently change my estimated check out age from 80 to 99. I didn't like the fractions 63/80 equals 79% consumed with only 21% to go. Damn, that don't seem like much. If you want more pieces, you have to bake a bigger pie. 63/99 equals 64% with a whopping 36% left! Now we are talking! Three things are required. 1) My wife is still with me. 2) Both of us are mentally alert (its Ok if we are a little goofy--because we already are--you know put the milk in the sink and the dirty glass in the frig sort of thing) 3) We have enough money that we are not eating dog food.

The plan is that we are going to die together while in an intimate moment. The furnace is going to blow up and the heat of the explosion will melt us together requiring that we be buried in the same casket.

This appeals to me in a number of perverse ways. 1) My somewhat prissy son (at least regarding his parents sexuality) will have the embarrassing task of explaining to all the mourners why there is only one casket. 2) Save funeral costs. One service, one casket, one opening fee, and my son will have an extra burial plot. 3) There is something romantic about spending eternity in the missionary position. 4) I want to see the look on St Pete's face when we arrive at the gate naked, sweaty, out of breath, and stupid smiles on our faces beaming with the afterglow.