Dad’s Hands

My father died. They called us from the hospital, early-early in the morning with news he was in serious distress. I have always suspected he was already gone by that point, or nearly so. There had been some telephone mix up. A transposition of telephone numbers, and they were unable to reach his home. I said I would handle it, and we hung up, but the phone rang immediately with my sister saying only “It’s time”. When I came into his room, it was crowded. There were a lot of students and someone explaining how to remove various tubes and hoses. I asked the first kid I saw if it was over she… went into shock. I turned to the next with a similar result. Clearly, we had not reached the how-to-talk-to-family chapter of the textbook. “I am Virgil’s son. Can anyone here tell me if Virgil has died this morning, please?” Finally, a voice near the front said, “Yes. we’re sorry for your loss.” I explained the family was coming and we would like the room, please, and if it all possible, could they continue to remove the various tubes, hoses and apparatus? This was quickly done while I waited outside the room. At some interval, I saw my sister coming down the hallway with Dad’s widow. I didn’t […]


I Miss…

The March of Time is, well marching on. And a lot of good things and people and ideas have gone away. I miss them. I miss…  those little vent windows at the front of the side windows on cars. I miss… Peter Jennings doing the ABC News. I miss… the Lands’ End Square Rigger attaché bags. I miss… going to the A&W Root Beer drive in and getting a Baby Beer with mom and dad. I miss… the old Banana Republic catalogs. I miss… the original air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle. I miss… watching Alan Alda as Hawkeye on M*A*S*H. I miss… the thrill of writing my first computer programs in BASIC. I miss… playing guitar really, really well. I miss… my mother’s breakfast of eggs and bread and some other stuff (and Love) in a little bowl. I miss… Sally, Dick and Jane. I miss… the feeling of control over my finances I had when I used Microsoft Money. I miss… the education I got from the old Comer-era Lands’ End catalogs. I miss… putting in the miles on my Schwinn LeTour Luxe bicycle. I miss… being a writer. I miss… Mary Tyler Moore. I miss… family reunions. I miss… people being ashamed of being ignorant, instead of being proud. I miss… the American space program. I miss… Plymouth cars. I miss… the Double-K (actually the Double-KK, but never called that) restaurant. I miss… crossing the country in a time […]


April in the Rear View Mirror

I gotta say it: I’m not going to miss April. My father died in April. My mother died in April. A Facebook friend’s dog died, and a cousin’s dog died, too. And last week my favorite aunt, my father’s sister, also left us. We also finally completed refinancing our mortgage. And we cashed in our landline telephone and a bunch of TV channels we didn’t really watch so we are saving a tiny pile of money next month over what we spent in, say, March or February. But it all adds up. It’s been a lot of stress. I got to see my own sister again, which was terrific. But I also had to say goodbye to her again, which was awful, again. We had an out of state wedding to travel to which was really nice, but it was a long trip there and a long trip back and we couldn’t spend as much time as we’d have probably liked because of that. Somehow, I didn’t quite get our income taxes tuned-up, so I had to file an extension. Now I noodle a little bit every other day or so on them and hope to get them done in the next few days. When I was a kid, I somehow had this idea, maybe from fairy tales or something, […]


Uncle Frank…

The first experience with Death that I can remember was when my uncle Frank died. He’d been sick for a long time with some kind of a kidney ailment. The state of the medical arts was not as good back then as it is today. Today, they might have put him on a list for a transplant, or maybe by now there are medicines that would help, I don’t know—I was about seven or eight, I think. He’d gone from hospital to hospital, from doctor to doctor to specialist and specialist. Frank had a bit of money, but it didn’t help him. At some point, the medical people told his wife to take him home and make him as comfortable as she could and to… wait. We’d gone to visit him a couple of times. The first time he was just sleeping. He looked like Uncle Frank, only a little sallow, and a little thinner than I’d remembered him. He looked tired. The second time we went he scared me. He got out of bed and was hallucinating and yelling and cussing and wanted to pull at the various tubes and hoses. His wife and kids calmed him down and got him back into bed and made sure that everything was still connected. They scolded him for his outburst and he […]