Ticking

I saw my dad this morning for two seconds.

I wished there would have been some way to capture that image of him in a picture..but since that was impossible, I wanted to do the next best thing and write about it.

I had an early  trip out-of-town this morning,  and my route took me right past the farm.

And there he was…

I suppose he was outside feeding the  cats.

It was just after sunrise.

The artist in me noticed the  shadows.  (I notice shadows all the time)

I noticed he was wearing his bibs.

Keep in mind all of this happened in a moment.  When you’re going 60 miles per hour,  things fly by pretty quick.

Several things stirred in my gut, in that moment.

______________________________

12 hours later….

I just got off the phone with mom.  We talked for 15 minutes.

I asked her if Dad had seen me this morning? 😉

Yep, He figured I was going out for breakfast with a neighbor.  I told her no. Son John  and I were taking off on a 6 hour road trip and I had to stop by their neighbors to pick up a stock trailer.

My dad is in the evening season of his life.  Not sure how many more years he and mom will be able to live on the farm.  Hopefully, several more…

__________________________________

Tell me about an older person in your life that has a special place in your heart…It doesn’t have to be a relative.    Maybe they are still alive, and maybe they have passed on.  What do (or did)  you appreciate  about that person, what do you miss ?  Would you mind sharing a memory or a story?  (The longer/ more detailed the better) 😉  DM

 

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22 thoughts on “Ticking

  1. I still owe you a blog post. This is why I don’t guest post often. I offer and then my mind goes blank as I stew over what would be appropriate. I’m going to write something on this topic though and I’ll email it to you for consideration. Thank you for the inspiration! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve written about many older people who have touched me in some way or another on my blog- some relatives, others just folks that I have encountered in life. I’ll share a memory though, really just a passing moment, but one that still means a great deal.
    I lost my dad in the mid 1990’s. He was a fraternal twin. As a kid both of our families owned property on a nearby lake and I grew up spending summers their, going between both cabins and swimming areas almost interchangeably. The twins were born in July, and for years and years we would have a large birthday party for them at the properties. I think the family, their siblings and my grandma while she was alive) really liked to mark their birth. It was probably a huge feat that grandma managed to carry them, birth them at home in 1920 and see them live to grow into men.
    Anyway, I don’t really remember having any sort of special connection with my uncle simply based on the fact that he was dad’s twin. Of course there was the resemblance to my dad, especially from behind with their saggy jeans, bowed legs, and bald heads, but their personalities were distinctly different. When dad died, I never really thought about how Uncle Lyle dealt with his death. I was too wrapped up in my own grief. Dad died in early June, and at some point, late in the summer, I decided to go out to the property and see Lyle. It would have been the first time seeing him after dad’s funeral. For the very first time, walking down the very familiar gravel driveway towards the cabin, I felt anxious. That place held so many memories of my dad and I couldn’t really comprehend what it would be like to be there without him.
    I came up to the porch, and there was Lyle. I remember hugging him hard because, for the very first time, I felt a connection with him, almost as if dad was using Lyle’s arms to give me a hug. We talked for some time, and it was such a different experience. I actually listened intently to him, and yearned for him to keep talking. Again, it seemed as if I was having a final conversation with dad. I came away from that visit filled with such joy.
    I didn’t see Lyle all that much in the coming years and then he passed as well. I will always be grateful for that short afternoon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My wife’s dad passed away in his early 60’s…he has a brother (not a twin) but a younger brother who has the same build, same bald head, same facial features..they could have been twins..anyway, I have similar feelings to what you describe when I talk with him @ the family reunions…Thanks for sharing! …is your mom still alive, if you don’t mind me asking?

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  3. Simply answered my dad.
    He taught me so much despite my mother.
    He adored SWMBO and used to bait here in argument as he loved the way she thought. They’d debate for hours too, always in fun.
    When he died he was betrayed by my mother yet SWMBO was the one he contacted.

    “Tell Paul I’ve found someone else” the message.
    Know what? I sleep in peace knowing that.

    A poem I wrote for him.
    11 11 at 11, Remembrance Day

    Sleep well my warrior father
    Sleep soundly and safe in your bed
    Your life’s deeds are being remembered
    My love, and my memories refreshed.
    Make merry with your old comrades
    Eat well from the plate of respect
    Drink deep from the cup of honor
    You deserve all that and above all respect.
    Sleep well now my dear father
    Sleep soundly and safe in your bed
    Your comrades are lying around you
    Like you pain-free, resplendent, and fed.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. All my life I seem to have got on better with my elders. Here on the marina we have made good friends with several couples old enough to be our parents (bear in mind we are both over 60 now), but going back a few years to Lincolnshire and a rabbit pie gives me fond memories.
    Michael was in his late 70s if not early 80s and owned a black labrador. We used to bump into them on our walks quite often and one day got talking about rabbits. He said he hadn’t had a rabbit pie since his wife died (5 years previous) so I promised that the next time I made one, I’d make one for him. Sure enough a week or so later, Hubby had come back from his pest control with a couple of rabbits, and I made three pies. Taking one into Michael’s newsagents, his face was abeam as he nudged his daughter serving behind the counter saying he hoped the pie was for him, as I’d promised, but he didn’t think I’d remember.
    I made him another a month or so later, and he was over the moon. Just a bit of extra pastry, some veg and some meat plus a little of my time and it made an elderly gentleman very happy.
    Sadly he died that year of a massive heart attack. On his coffin, his daughters had a picture of pheasant and partridge plus a shotgun and the words ‘Gone Shootin’ ‘
    We stood by the side of the road to pay our final respects when he was taken to rest in the local cemetary beside his wife. He was one of life’s gentle men, and it was a pleasure to have known him, even if only for such a short while. Mention rabbit pie and he will always come to mind, first in the queue for his I guess. Bless him.

    Liked by 1 person

      • We cooked the rabbit in the pressure cooker first so that we could get all the meat off the bone, lined the base of a pie dish with pastry, then I cooked up some swede, onions and potatoes with some black pepper. I made up a cornflour and stock cube sauce to add between the layers of meat and veg, and topped it with a pastry lid, then baked in the oven until it was crispy brown. Puff pastry is best, but my shortcrust isn’t bad for the base, and I need to roll it pretty thin for the top. Tasted OK though.

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  5. When I was a child I looked forward to my one week a year with my grandmother. Even though it was just one week, I remember every detail of the house, where she kept the cookies in the special drawer, the tiny Christmas tree in the dormer window, her bathroom that smelled of her rose powder, and the screened back porch that led out to the back yard and the fig tree with the most luscious, melt-in-your-mouth figs.

    She called me Sugar and I called her Grannyma. I used to rest my head on her ample bosom that was just the right height. After a too-short vacation with her I cried when I had to leave and go home.

    As I got older she wrote me letters, sharing recipes sometimes, talking about life, and I wrote to her. Then I married young and worked and supported my husband while he got a degree. I was just too busy to drive the few short hours to visit her. I hadn’t seen my grandmother in years when she died at age 84. My immature excuse was, “I want to remember her as she was.”

    I have never regretted anything more (and that is saying a lot) than my decision not to see my grandmother in her old age.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, I wish I would have been a little more intentional about doing a few things with my grandma (who sounds a lot like yours) as well. You two did have a special relationship…. there is something grounding in a young person’s life when they can write letters back and forth like that….Appreciate you sharing them with me (and whomever else might be reading over my shoulder) 😉 DM

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  6. Hi DM,
    I have the privilege of living a stone’s throw away from my father-in-law. He is 94 and a survivor of WWII, where the average life span of a Merchant Marine was 33 days, something he didn’t know when he volunteered shortly after Pearl Harbor.
    The Assisted Living facility where he has an apartment is in the same development where our house is, so from our front porch it’s an easy walk to his place. (Or, a three minute drive, since you can’t cut through yards with a car.)
    He is a privileged resident; his apartment has a kitchen. And he uses it, maneuvering his walker between cupboards, fridge and stove, while making applesauce from apples he squirrels away from his trips to the cafeteria for meals.
    His second floor apartment also provides a good view of the front entrance parking lot and all that transpires. He knows when new residents are moved in, and when they’re carried out. He knows the traffic flow…cars, trucks, motorcycles, and when the towed boats start showing up again. (Two today.)
    I meant it when I called him a WWII survivor – he was one of three who made it through being torpedoed and sunk three times.
    He is incredibly resilient. If ever there was a reason to be a crotchety old man, he has many. Yet I see no bitterness in him; only a quiet resolve and a tenacious ability to continue surviving.
    In the past three years, we have seen him through countless brushes with death, (often his heart) having us thinking during each vigil at the hospital that that time would be “it.” But never so. His ability to bounce back has earned him the nickname the “comeback king.” In fact, we irreverently joke about it now: “Yeah, when they pronounce him dead, we’ll see how long THAT lasts!”
    I love hearing his stories and never tire of hearing them…often repeatedly. As often as I spend time with him, asking questions and probing his memory, I never know when a new story gem will surface. Today, I had the privilege of hearing (for the first time) about his first experience deer hunting; he was twelve.
    As I listened, I couldn’t help but think of what an enormous resource we, as a society, have in our remaining “Greatest Generation.” They are a National Treasure.
    Yet he says that the majority of residents where he lives rarely or never have visitors.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love this story about your father-in-law. Reminded me so much of my mother. What made me smile was the recounting of “Yeah, when they pronounce him dead, we’ll see how long THAT lasts.” Mom would have what appeared to be a stroke, be lying comatose on a gurney in the hospital, and I would ask her doctor what he thought. One time he said, “If it was anyone else but your mother, I’d say she was a goner.” The next morning she would be sitting up in bed smiling and asking for breakfast. She survived cancer at 95, strokes, hemorrhagic migraines, lymphedema, vascular disease. We referred to her as the Comeback Kid. Mom was seven weeks shy of 102 when she died. You are blessed to know one of the Greatest Generation. Blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. There are a lot of older people I would point to– but here are just a couple: my mother- and father-in law. I only met them once, on a 7-week trip to my husband’s homeland.

    They were both country people–farmers and shepherds–who’d spent the majority of their lives in the most remote, craggy mountains, with no running water or electricity, hours by foot (or, if you were lucky, by donkey!) from the nearest mid-size town. My father-in-law, the only boy in his family, had lost his own father before he hit puberty. Without a father or any brothers, he and his wife would have to do well for themselves, because there would be no male relatives to offer a helping hand. They started out in a small cottage, had 4 children…and then lost them all to an epidemic. But they kept going, and years later, they had seven living kids and well over 50 grandkids and great-grandkids– a point of pride and happiness for my father-in-law until the day he died. He would stop what he was doing sometimes, and speak to his own father, long dead, gesturing skyward, and tell him, laughing, “look, Papa, look at your only son, who was just one– and now look at the family he has grown!”

    When I met them, they were already in their 70s, and slowing down, but they hadn’t stopped working. Both wizened from the sun and hard work, and tiny– both short and light in weight– they held esteemed positions within the family, and I could see why. My husband’s father still headed off to one of the fields everyday, marching a mile or more to where he would spend the day working, or, just as likely, hanging out with another man or two, around his age. (When it came time for harvest– and I would imagine, the hardest work of planting, too, although I was only there for a potato harvest and can’t testify beyond that– his sons and other family members would do the bulk of the truly grueling and back-breaking work, behind an ox, pulling a plow, or with the potatoes, the actual digging and collecting- he directed more than anything). I interacted directly with him very little but had heard many stories of his stern but forgiving nature. You could still see his strong will, even if now it gave the impression of being tamed and quieted. I did see a bit of that sternness one time, when a number of my husband’s relatives were speaking (not in English!) and happened to mention my name. My father-in-law jumped in and (as my husband later explained), admonished them all– since I could not understand what was being said, he told them, it was rude to speak about me, even to refer to me, even if all they were saying was positive things– I did not know what was being said, and perhaps I would worry at what was being said. I was a guest, my father-in-law told them, and above all else, I was to be made comfortable, not uncomfortable. I have remembered that ever since, and what a graceful reminder that was.

    My husband’s mother was the sort of woman who made anyone feel welcome, offering food and a loving presence– a prototypical nurturer– but she was not afraid to buck convention at times, having taken up smoking (when such things were not done by ladies) and refusing to stop despite at least one of her son’s finding it a bit embarrassing. It was her one personal pleasure, even now, when life offered a few less crises, but when she was still busy: midwifing babies all over the area, caring for the cows, helping with the crops, grinding coffee and spices by hand, making the spicy condiment that went with each meal, rocking the smallest grandchildren to sleep, walking hand in hand with toddlers. When I visited, the women from the neighborhood would come to visit and all us women would retire to a room to visit after lunch, where I was the only English-speaker. I could have been uncomfortable, but each time, my mother-in-law would gesture to me that I should sit next to her, where I would be offered the best cushions and brought beautiful tiny sweet glasses of tea.While the other women gossiped and joked, she was mostly silent, as was I. Sitting against the walls on cushions, I often found myself people watching, or looking out the high stained glass windows or out the eye-level windows at the steep, terraced mountains just outside. At the time, I still smoked, and maybe in the same way she did– as a little, personal pleasure, just one or two a day–I’d sworn not to smoke around my kids, so at home, I’d save my cigarette for nighttime, after the kids had gone to bed. So after I was seated, she would reach into the pocket of her voluminous embroidered robes with her deeply leathery hands, and pull out a cigarette, light it- and then pass it to me. We would sit, in companionable silence, smoking slowly, and would find myself feeling completely relaxed.

    What comes back to mind most when I think of those two together, was the time I walked in on their “bedroom” in the village. By now, the family had a large, multi-room stone, concrete and rebar house,with running water, electricity, even satellite TV and phones: the sons had done well. But because I was visiting with my kids, as were several other members of the extended family, some people had been pushed out of their permanent bedrooms–young cousins were sleeping with cousins; kids with their parents; and the parlor, usually used for visiting, held sleeping people at night. One day, early in the morning, I crept out of my room and began walking through the quiet house. Heading into the parlor, a room decorated all around with low sofas and cushions, I almost missed the two people sleeping, facing each other and completely entwined in each other’s arms, on a skinny cushion– the width of a narrow mattress made for one…but caught myself at the last minute. It was my mother- and father-in-law, matriarch and patriarch of the family, on a thin cushion on the floor. And clinging to each other, even in sleep, like newlyweds. The humility of the bedding– which they almost certainly chose, because their kids would have insisted on the very best, if they’d allowed for it– and the position they were in– is what sticks out in my memory.

    I never got to know them really well, but in that one visit, they made a strong impression. I am only sad that my kids have now lost all chance to really meet and know their grandfather…and may not really get to know their grandmother, either. But I’ll remember to tell them about these memories. 🙂

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