Alex Trebek says his skills are diminishing and he is thinking about leaving Jeopardy but I don’t think that is what is triggering me.
Got my ideas about it and know I am a half step off of my game because I discovered I didn’t pay four bills.
One of them really threw me because I have two alarms set as monthly reminders. I don’t miss this stuff…but I did.
Dad never told me his skills were diminishing but maybe it was unnecessary because we all knew it and so did he.
The most obvious moment came when he let me physically help him walk. It was just the two of us and at one point I felt his legs give and I kept him from falling down.
Neither one of us said much of anything about it, there wasn’t a need. He didn’t avert his eyes from mine and I saw something there.
Wasn’t acceptance nor was it defiance, it was something else.
There is a moment where a look is exchanged and I smile because the question of could you be blunter and more direct has been answered.
June asked Johnny what he was looking at and he said “our castle in the sky.”
She told him he had a lot of dreams and that most would likely remain that way and he just smiled leaving her to wonder whether he was ignoring her or planning how to build that stairway to heaven.
Back on earth the younger Mr. Wilner and I are talking about his grandfather’s final surgery and how much it bothered him.
We haven’t discussed this because some things he keeps close to the vest and I know Wilner men, young and old.
I understood it without his verbalizing and had from the that day I flew in to say goodbye. I didn’t stop him from talking or tell him it was ok because he knew.
Sometimes he complains that I don’t understand him or he doesn’t understand me and I tell him I am supposed to say that to grandpa or that I did.
After he shares his thoughts I tell him surgery was grandpa’s choice and that none of us should get sick, but if we do we should be able to make the important decisions.
I remind him he was amazing that day when he said goodbye to grandpa because he was. I think about their goodbye sometimes and am alternately saddened and comforted by it.
Been writing all over and wonder upon occasion if I have been more open than I ought to be. Wonder if I have been too blunt.
I smell cigars and remember smoking a Cuban on a balcony in Jerusalem and think about going to the shop in Grapevine to pick up one or two to enjoy in the backyard.
Think about sitting outside, with a drink, some music and the echoes of my grandfathers in my ears.
Think about how a bunch of us smoked them at bachelor parties and after our kids were born.
Some people tell me I am killing myself with them and ask why I poison myself. I ask what the impact of six cigars during the last 10 years is and wonder if the actual number is a little bit more or a little bit less.
Ask myself what I would do if I knew precisely how much time I had left and if I would share it.
There is a running list of questions in my head that seems to grow longer by the week because the people that could provide answers are largely gone.
Not sure how many dad could answer if he were here and not sure how many I would ask if I could because there are lines that could be crossed but that doesn’t mean they should be.
Throughout the years there have been some who have accused me of having a big mouth and others who accuse me of not knowing how to speak.
The younger Mr. Wilner tells me it is creepy how quiet I can get and I ask him if there are times he has nothing to say.
“Yeah, there are.”
“Me too. I have lived alone and learned how to be silent. I like my own company. I know you understand that.”
“And I know sometimes when I am interrupted I come off as being exceptionally irritated.”
“So did grandpa. Guess I picked up on it. I don’t necessarily mean to do it.”
He nods his head and I wonder how many of my habits and traits he’ll pick up and make part of his “bag of tricks.”
I wonder how much of grandpa was in dad and how much of my great-grandfather was in grandpa.
The family tree shows great-great grandparents who were born around the Civil war and I wonder what sort of traits float through the years and if a 19th or 18th century relative would look at me and recognize something in common.
I want to say I forgot to pay those bills because I was focused on building a castle in the sky or some kind of stairway to heaven.
Want to say I got lost in a secret world and was too busy roaming Narnia or Middle Earth to pay attention to the mundane but I can’t.
Or at least I don’t think I was, but maybe I am wrong. Maybe that is why the alarms and notes didn’t work and I missed those things.
Hell, I can’t be bothered with trying to figure that out now. For the moment we’ll call it is a glitch in Wilner’s brain and hope that is it.
So strange, that doesn’t happen…but it did.