The Hand Not Taken

I go through periods of time where I listen to the same album or songs for a while and then I just…stop.

Been wrestling with whether to give myself a social media time out because I am tired of the negativity, nonsense and knuckleheads.

Had someone ask for proof of a politicians position on something so I provided them with a video of the politician stating they did not support a particular position they flipped-flopped on.

They responded by telling me they weren’t sure it was accurate because it came from a conservative source.

I pushed back and suggested that unless they could prove the video was a fake they ought to take it as being accurate because the person speaking on it was the aforementioned politician. It was her responding to a question about her position and providing a specific answer.

The Hand Not Taken

I had a dream about the hospice and the nurse who told me how strong dad was and that he couldn’t tell me exactly when the end would come, but without saying so was telling me he had already exceeded expectations.

I woke up hearing the gurgling noise dad made those last few days. The sound was horrific because he sounded like he was drowning but the staff said he was comfortable.

In spite of their assurances I asked a couple of friends who are docs to confirm and when they did I relaxed a hair.

In the dream I relived telling dad it was ok to let go and that I would take care of things. I remember the feel of his hand in mine and promising again it would be ok.

His hand was still warm and though he didn’t squeeze back I swear I saw an eye flicker and I took that as a sign that I had been heard.

Wasn’t all that long before the end came and I saw him for the final time.

That last moment where I whispered to take my hand and I would stop everything and get help. But when I let go of his hand it didn’t move and when I lowered my ear to check his breathing there was no sound.

And I knew that the hand not taken was for real.

Wake me up.

Hope The Parachute Opens

I remember telling dad about two situations I encountered playing some pick up ball.

The first was a story about how the ball got stuck between the hoop and the backboard.

It is not uncommon and most of the time you can get the ball down by throwing another ball at it or by having a player jump and tap it out.

There was a brief time in my early twenties when I could touch the rim but I was better about putting both hands on the backboard.

Didn’t have great hops, but they were ok.

That ended after I chipped the talus on my right ankle, it was just never the same.

Anyhoo, at this particular game we didn’t have a second ball and no one who could jump so I took a different tack.

I ran and slammed into the pole and tried to shake the ball loose.

Dad rolled his eyes and told me that I ought to be cautious because eventually it would catch up with me.

“You’re 45, eventually your body will let you know.”

I said I figured I still had some time.

Wasn’t too long afterwards that I told him about how I guarded a guy who was six inches taller and had at least 80 pounds.

“You had no business guarding him.”

“Wasn’t anyone else who was big enough to give him trouble and no one crazy enough. I made him work a bit, moved him around, but in the end it didn’t matter.”

“You can’t teach size.”

“No, you can’t. You know what grandpa would have said.”

“Yeah, I know what my father would have said. That would have gotten you kicked out and maybe sued.”

“Probably would have, but if I did it like grandpa taught the size difference wouldn’t have mattered. Work smarter, not harder right.”

Dad rolled his eyes and shook his head.

“Still not old…dad.”

I won’t mention what he said when I told him I needed surgery for a hernia.

*****

The music plays and I am back thinking and planning because it feels a bit like I jumped out of the plane without checking to see if my parachute was attached.

Because I was distracted by 10 million different things and fighting monsters, demons and 948 people from lollipop land.

There was a time when dad would have laid into me about that and asked what the hell I was thinking.

“Double or triple check that kind of stuff…c’mon.”

“Listen old man, I have at least 12 flashlights scattered around the house, spare batteries, a lantern and lots of tools.

And though I may not be who I once was, I am close enough to it to manage it all.”

I know what his response would be, but I won’t get to hear him say it anywhere other than inside my head.

There is more to say and write, but not here.

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