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Cruising With The Top Down

Cruising With The Top Down

Steel repetitively cutting through white foam. Upon occasion the appearance of a red streak breaks the surface and is soon blotted by fluffy white paper. I look at the glass and the man that I have become looks back. He looks a lot like my father at this point in his life. I am just four years short of his last year ever. I remember watching him shave. At some time he switched to electric and it wasn’t as interesting to watch. I expect that if I had mentioned that he would have switched back, despite the cuts.

My fathers life was full of joy and pain, mostly of the physical variety and knowing what I know now, some fear. He had lived most of his life with type 1 diabetes.

I do not know what he was told upon diagnosis as to any limits his life had. I do know that he lived his life as if he had none.

It wasn’t until I was older that I noticed that time was imposing physical limits. Limits that would make sense had he been 25 years older. His eyesight was going. His peripheral vision was the first to go. Laser surgery could only prolong the inevitable.

Through it all my Dad woke up every morning and lived. He woke up, injected himself and went to work. Sometimes he woke up , injected himself, went to work, came home, slept, woke up and went to his second job. My Dad worked a lot to support his family.

I remember coming home for lunch and eating in the basement so as to not wake him.

It would be just a couple hours before he went to his second job. He had four kids by the age of 28. In those days that is what you did, although I am not sure that the schedule wasn’t accelerated. Time was not an ally.

Although he worked a lot I have plenty of memories of time spent with him. My earliest memory was of cruising through the sunshine in my Dad’s red chevy convertible. My brother and I were sitting in the back seat and it started to rain.

I remember my dad laughing and saying,“Its just a sun shower, we won’t melt.”

He kept the top down and my brother and I laughed. His life was like that. It rained sometimes but he laughed, kept the top down and cruised on.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers and those that love them.

Yes, there is some sadness in my heart. But I can still hear my Dad’s laughter.

“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”
Mark Twain

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Good Men and Celluloid Heroes

Good Men and Celluloid Heroes

I watched a few movies last night that I had seen before. What they were doesn’t matter. What they were about was pretty simple. Just everyday guys being good men.

I had seen both movies before but I needed to see them again. The dozen or so previous viewings did not seem enough. I should own them I thought. Close friends had told me as much. Then I realized that  I did not need to own them. I had a good guy playing the role of hero in my life since 1961.

A good man, the definition of which expressed with words seems to devalue the meaning. We all have a definition that lies within our hearts. For my heart that definition was and always will be my Dad.

We see the world with glasses tinted by our parents and for the most part I see silver screen heroes trying to live up to the standards of the heroes that  I have been blessed with in my life. So on this fathers day give the Dad in your life a hug or a glance towards the stars and thank him for providing those celluloid heroes with something to shoot for.*
*Yea I’m ending a sentence with a preposition. I’m giving the english teachers out there a chance to whip out their red pens. Enjoy.

Something Different for Father’s Day: Fathers Day Blues, Soon to be Brights.

It will be my eighteenth Fathers Day with out my father. I woke up feeling a bit sad. Yes, I still miss him. I always miss him. Feeling the need to express my self in a more mournful manner, I picked up my guitar and began to play some blues progressions. I usually begin too fast and slow down as the moment takes me. I was starting to reach the proper tempo where the feeling in my soul begins to resonate with the notes but before that happened I stopped and decided that I needed to look at his death with a different perspective.

I put down the guitar and thought about this. I thought about my sense of loss but more importantly my father’s sense of loss. My father was a type one diabetic almost his entire life. He was diagnosed at a time when the only self administered glucose test was a urine test. Use of the urine test is kind of like using a history book to predict today. It reflects the amount of blood sugar of the past not the present. It also does not reflect low blood sugar levels.  Because of this it was very hard for diabetics to be accurate when trying to maintain normal blood sugar levels. It’s the extreme rise and fall of blood sugar in a diabetic that causes major damage to many of their organs.

My father’s body was no exception. By the time he was in his mid 50’s, the blood circulation in his legs was poor and several procedures to increase blood flow showed minimal success.  It became very hard for him to walk and his vision was very poor.  This was difficult for me to witness, I can’t imagine how hard it was for him to live through. He had been very active his entire life and he was now unable to take part in many of the things he loved.

I look back at  the direction my dads body was headed, with blindness and amputations just around the corner, and I know that it was a blessing that he never got to that point. I have suspected this as truth for a while but I was hoping that full recognition of  this would help me become more at peace with his passing.

I went back and picked up my guitar, hoping I could now play a happier tune. I strummed a few chords to the Eagles “Take It Easy” but they just didn’t hold together. I thought that my soul was not ready for such an upbeat tempo so I then tried “Teach Your Children” by Crosby , Stills and Nash. Still it fell flat. I then went back to the blues and my soul hummed in harmony with my guitar as my fingers danced along a blues progression in E.

I guess I will be a bit selfish for a while longer but the good memories I have and the knowledge that he is at peace will help me to strum a less mournful tune someday.

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