This was taken on Christmas day, and he’s dressed in anticipation of the Great Blizzard of 08, in Southern California.
Which never happened.
We spent Father’s Day at his house. I took some steaks and fixed lunch for everyone, and it’s just wonderful when you do something like that and it all comes out just right and the steaks were not over-done. No one argued about politics, nor even brought it up. I helped my sister hang new curtains in his bedroom to keep the room a little cooler in the afternoon, then Mr Pie installed tiebacks for the curtains and a handrail in the bathroom. He has trouble rising from a chair now, and I wonder how much longer my sister will be able to take care of him without outside help.
He’ll be 90 in four weeks. We are planning a large party; it was originally going to be a surprise party but we discovered that we needed his help with the guest list because we didn’t know whom to invite: we were worried that he’d outlived all of his friends and most of his relatives. So, yesterday we let him in on the secret and he was thrilled.
Then today I got an invitation to a birthday party for his cousin’s husband Max, who will also be 90, and the date is two weeks before his birthday. I laughed a little because they are stealing Dad’s thunder.
Menace to Society
He’s still driving.
I tried to get his doctor to help us out and ask the DMV to have him tested behind the wheel, but no dice. I have kept an eye on his driving skills for the past five years, but recently the skill level has dropped and I’m alarmed, so I called around today and discovered that I can send a letter to a Safety Bureau and they will request that he come in for a drivers’ test.
He just announced that his license is due to be renewed on this birthday, and bragged that he only has to take the written test. I don’t know how the state can allow something like this, but I know that they do.
Dad told me yesterday that an acquaintance had his license taken away. Doug is younger than Dad, and Dad was a little horrified that it had happened. I pointed out that Doug’s license should have been taken away 30 years ago for general incompetence having nothing to do with age, because Doug is an idiot. Dad had to agree with that, but I know that he is worried that he will lose his license, and I know that he will take it very badly if he does. He lives with my sister and her daughter, and I visit him at least once a week; there are neighbors who will give him rides if we aren’t there, as well as a local shuttle bus, but all of these will feel like a poor substitute to him.
He’s never been a sissy. He had a massive stroke nearly 25 years ago, was paralyzed on his left side, and you’d never know it unless you knew him really well. The only tell is his left hand which doesn’t work too well these days, only because he didn’t keep up with the exercises.
It isn’t just the getting old that’s hard, it’s the being old.