The old gentleman wheeled himself into the lunch room at the nursing home. He was simply but nicely dressed in a snap front western style shirt and jeans. He had a pen and note pad in his front pocket, a habit he undoubtedly carried with him from his working days.
" I'll bet you're ready for your coffee aren't you Mr. Johnson?" one of the nurses said.
He smiled. " That does sound pretty good to me right about now." he said. He probably says that all of the time.
The nurse brought the old gentleman a big mug of coffee and a saucer. She placed it in his big hands. I noticed that he was still powerfully built despite being extremely elderly and confined to a wheelchair. I'll bet he was a farmer or a carpenter. I'll have to ask him next time I'm there. You can hear some interesting stories from these little people.
Mr. Johnson sipped his coffee and after a couple of sips I noticed that a look of utter contentment was impressed upon his countenance. It occurred to me that the it was the same look that Little Boy had whenever he hugged his Mother or ate pork tenderloin that I made on the grill.
Unfortunately, I remember everything. The only blessing conferred upon one by dementia is that it allows you to forget. I'm not there yet. Sometimes I think I'm working on it but I'm not there yet.
I leaned over to the nurse working at the station beside where I was standing. " I don't believe I've ever seen a man enjoy a cup of coffee any more than that gentleman." I said.
" Mr. Johnson likes his coffee. He'd drink it all day if we would let him." she said. " You hang around here long enough and you sure start realizing all of the things you take for granted."
Boy, ain't that the truth. I can walk. I can bathe and dress myself. I can drive my car. I live independently in my own little house. I don't need help to go to the bathroom.
And I can drink coffee anytime I goddamn well get the notion.
As you read this it is Palm Sunday which commemorates the triumphant entry of doomed Jesus into Jerusalem. Thus begins the week long journey to Easter Sunday which is my favorite day on the Christian calendar. But more about that next week.
Suffice it to say for now that ever since I have embarked upon this latest, and probably final journey with Mother, I have become acutely aware of the fleeting nature of our earthly existence. As one my friends, a man who is bravely battling cancer, reminds me, " Life is just a flicker."
I am the only one in my boat. It is up to me, and me alone, to do a better job of manning the oars and turning the rudder.
No man enjoys his life more than I do. Despite my numerous allergies which are currently killing me, I enjoy robust good health. The men in my family typically don't live very long and I am bumping up against the window of my mortality if genetics is any guide. But I have an armada of frowning physicians hovering over me and my cardiologist flat out told me a couple of weeks ago that "[y]ou are never going to have a heart attack."
If the unthinkable occurs and I am indeed someday found on the golf course colder than the wedge in my hand, I hereby direct my executorto sue the only 6'6" heart doctor in Little Rock for breach of warranty.
Sure we're friends. But bidness is bidness.
Life is but a flicker. We take it all for granted. From a Mother's hug to a cup of coffee.
We start out each Spring undefeated. It's time to make some changes.
But more on that later.
Any pub is good pub: My brother called to say that last night he saw "themovingfingerwrites,blogspot.com" written on the bathroom wall at a local watering hole called "Vino's" here in Little Rock. I've gone from being cited by one of the idiot callers to "Drive Time Sports" to the wall of a joint where a bunch of gnarly goth type kids hang out.
"My, my, my" as John Thompson, the legendary coach of the Georgetown Hoyas, used to say.
" I'm just surprised that the word 'sucks' did not appear after the word 'com.' " I said.
" Oh, it does now." John said.
My, my, my.