Tag Archives: old age

Vanishing future

Route of young men.

I’LL TURN 73 toward the end of summer. This aging thing is quite interesting. I don’t recommend it, but it’s interesting.

Forget that malarkey about age being just a number. That’s arrant nonsense. The difference between a child of 10, a middle-ager of 45 and a coot of 73 is just a number?

Dream on, brother.

When you’re in your 60s, you realize you’re no kid or anywhere near it. But turning 70 is quite an eye-opener.

More and more I notice this phenomenon: “Future” vanishes. That long, straight macadam that disappears into the distance as if you’re motoring toward a faraway mountain chain, the Highway of Future. Well, you’re not driving it anymore, Bub.

Instead, you’re on Present Lane.

When you’re younger, “future” is simply something that’s out there, and it’s way out there, so far out there that you don’t really dwell on it. It’s just there, and you know it.

In your bones.

This mostly subconscious notion of an endless future affects lots of things — attitudes, lifestyle, decisions, plans.

Passing 70 years delivers an immediacy to life that you’d never known before. It’s very interesting. I do not recommend it, but there ain’t nothing you can do about it.

Not one blessed thing.

Route of old men.

Twelve things

  1. After two miserable weeks, my cold finally cured itself, and I’m my usual vigorous self. I wonder if these things hang on longer as one ages. Probably.
  2. An insane woman has been walking our neighborhood for a year or two. She seems to be in constant motion, and at times she lets out an angry, blood-curdling scream.
  3. We’re deep into miserable Springtime. Campesinos set fire to the countryside, an annual event, and black soot descends on the Hacienda. It’s a constant sweeping challenge, and sweeping soot is like herding butterflies.odds&ends
  4. We have two definite restaurant days: Thursday and Sunday. That doesn’t mean we can’t eat out on other days too because we can, but we usually don’t.
  5. There is one exception to No. 4, but I don’t really consider it eating out. It’s more of a convenience. On Saturdays, my wife is quite busy baking for her afternoon pastry sale. Before we head downtown with the goodies, we eat roasted chicken at a very humble place near the Hacienda.
  6. Heidi Cruz won’t be First Lady next year. Dang! Seems the Slovenian hussy will be. Or Slick Willy. Lordy!
  7. Former Mexican President Fox said nasty stuff about Trump a few months back, but now he’s apologized and invited Trump to Mexico to get to know us better.
  8. May is the final month to prepare the yard for the summer deluges. I’ll be hiring Abel the deadpan neighbor in a few days to cut and haul lots of stuff away. I want the yard in fighting trim before the floods arrive.
  9. Spring is the only good season for short-sleeved shirts. My pants, however, remain the same all year. Blue jeans.
  10. I’ll be 72 this summer. I’m noticing an occasional unsteadiness in my walk, wobbly-like. This is relatively new, and I do not like it one little bit.
  11. With every passing year, I like Mexico more. Not having been in the United States for seven years now, and not having lived there in 16, I’m forgetting what Gringo life is like. From what I read, perhaps that’s for the best.
  12. According to an article in The New York Times, bilingual people are less likely to get goofy with age. ¡Bueno!

Dust to dust

I’M A FILE man, a decades-long habit. I had a jammed file cabinet in Houston, and I have another one in Mexico.

I was going through the Miscellaneous file recently and came upon my mother’s death certificate and the certificate of cremation from Atlanta Crematory Inc. My sister mailed these to me in 2009, which is when my mother died.

You learn things by reading a death certificate and a certificate of cremation. I notice that my mother died on Jan. 8, and she was also cremated on Jan. 8. No time was lost.

There was no wake.

The certificate of cremation doesn’t have lots of details, but the death certificate is more informative. Mother died in Emory University Hospital at age 90. She had been hospitalized about a week, and had been taken there by my sister.

deathI only have one sibling, and she is a very conflictive person, which is one reason I was not present. I prefer distance between my sister and myself.

The death certificate says my mother’s “usual occupation” was teacher, and that’s quite right. Eighth Grade was her preferred class because she said they were old enough to wipe themselves but too young to have become smartasses.

Her parents — my grandparents, of course — are named. Her father’s full name was Walter Jackson Powell, which I knew. Her mother’s full name was Osie Evelyn Moree, which was interesting. I never knew her middle name.

Osie is a very old-fashioned name, but Evelyn isn’t so much. Nonetheless, you don’t see many babies nowadays named Evelyn. I like Evelyn. It’s all about Eve.

(Going back further, her father was Dard Moree, a very wealthy farmer who would have been born about the time the Yankee General Sherman was laying waste to Georgia. Dard’s success played a role in my being able to retire at 55, bless him.)

She was my favorite grandparent by far. My maternal grandfather died when I was 12, and my father’s folks lived farther north, way up in Atlanta, and we lived in Florida. Mother’s people lived in south Georgia.

It was an easier drive in the Plymouth, plus my father didn’t like his parents. My mother, an only child, loved hers.

Moving down the certificate, I see that even though the Atlanta Crematory Inc. cremated Mother, it was Wages & Sons Funeral Home in Stone Mountain, Georgia, that handled the arrangements. Mother had a contract with them.

Wages & Sons Funeral Home. Ironic, no? Wages & Sons also handled my father’s funeral back in 1991. I attended that one. I did not attend my mother’s funeral because there wasn’t one. I’m not sure exactly why. My sister ran that show.

The certificate goes on to point out that Mother was not embalmed, which I guess is normal if a cremation is in the cards. And then we get to the cause of death.

Since she was 90, the cause is pretty straightforward. She died of old age, but hospitals and City Halls want details, and here they are. Three conditions did her in.

Starting one week before she drew her final breath was “pseudomonas healthcare acquired pneumonia,” which sounds like she got pneumonia from being in the hospital. And then two days before her death, there was acute renal failure and hyperkalemia. I had to Google that last one.

The “cause of death,” it says, was congestive heart failure. And there was no autopsy. Good. Any halfwit who’d finished Junior High knows why she died. She was 90.

Down at the bottom of the certificate are the names of the attending physician, Sonjay Raja Lakar, and the “certifier,” Dr. Ronak Patel, demonstrating that multiculturalism is alive and well at Emory University Hospital.

Did you know the overwhelming majority of American motels are operated by East Indians? I read that somewhere.

It’s interesting to get into the files now and then.

* * * *

(Note: For a more heartfelt yarn about my mother’s death, one written just after the event, read Dancing the Hassapiko.)

Man and fire

fire

THERE’S AN ART to building a good fire.

And I have no idea what that is, so my approach is to bludgeon the matter. I pile a mountain of firewood, and I torch a handful of ocote, which is a resin-full wood that ignites gleefully when introduced to flame.

Stick the burning ocote under the stacked wood and wait. That’s all there is to it. Perhaps I do grasp the art.

I lit a fire downstairs yesterday, the first of the season. Before that, I climbed the circular stairway on the upstairs terraza to the roof and removed plastic sheeting from the chimney top. Most of the year it’s wrapped in plastic to keep mosquitoes out. It took me about three years to learn that.

On about two occasions, I forgot to uncover the chimney first, and you can imagine what happened.

I paused while on the roof and took a look around at the green mountains. I inhaled the clear winter air, and I thanked the Goddess, hardly for the first time, for landing me here in my declining years. It’s good to end one’s many days in such a spectacular fashion.

There were two blazes yesterday. The first was in the morning because it was dang cold. The second was late afternoon. It was less cold, but I desired a cozy atmosphere. After I got the fire burning, I sat on the nearby scarlet sofa and read a good book about Stanley and Dr. Livingstone.

And felt good about myself. A fine fire will do that.