You don’t expect to find a homeless man standing on the side of a trail but you don’t expect to see your dead father beckoning you to head into the woods either.
The first asked me if I understood the concept of chasing what is forbidden.
“It is hard to catch what is not yours.”
“It is hard to see a black dog in a dark room. How do you know what is or is not yours. They say what is for you won’t go past you.”
Bright eyes shone up at me from the midst of a very dirty face. Tattered clothes adorned a body that hadn’t lacked for food even though it had missed bathing.
“You don’t accept being turned away easily do you.”
“I get paid not to and I learned long ago many say no because of inertia not because they want to or believe it.”
He started to say something else but I smiled my head and resumed walking but I hadn’t gone more than two steps when I felt his hand wrap itself around my wrist.
I almost told him to let go and then I heard my father call me so I started moving…fast. I felt his body being dragged behind me but I did not try to free myself, I just kept going.
It is the benefit of being built for demolition and brute strength. You don’t ask me to be Baryshnikov, you ask me to knock down walls.
I couldn’t quite see Dad, but I heard him clearly enough to know where he was. His voice was strong, but it wasn’t him calling me over to talk or show me something.
What I heard reminded me of a time he needed my help to get to the restroom and almost fell over. It wasn’t fear in his voice, but it was get here quickly before I fall.
We didn’t have many of those moments, but there were a few. “Josh, your mother can’t do this and neither can your sisters. You’re the only one.”
He wasn’t around long after they amputated his leg. It didn’t solve the problem so we never had to figure out how to get help for him to get around the house.
But I had more than a few dreams about it and sometimes I still do. We’re not the tallest men, but we are broad and a little person isn’t much help.
Once when we left chemo I shoved a man out of his way much more aggressively than I intended. I had meant to gently place my arm between Dad and him but that wasn’t how it turned out.
Dad gave me a look. I can’t tell if it was disappointment, approval or exhaustion. He didn’t say and I didn’t ask.
Did You Do Your Best?
When I was a boy and upset about how something turned out the question Dad always asked was if I had done my best.
“That is all you can do.”
I heard Grandpa ask/say the same thing so I know it came from him but don’t know if it goes back any farther. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.
My kids have heard it more than once too so it continues on down the line.
They have advanced to the conversations that pull it apart and dissect it. “What happens if your best wasn’t good enough? Have you really done all you can do? Can you go back and take another swing at it but use a different strategy?”
Two bills for more than $500 dollars sit next to my computer. They are supposed to be my portion of my healthcare.
The larger is from my diagnostic colonoscopy, the one that was conducted to help prevent me from succumbing to colon cancer or some other disease.
If they find any polyps and remove them it magically evolves into something different requiring an additional fee.
I have good health insurance so my portion is significantly less than it would be for others but it is not inconsequential so I will appeal. I am not required to simply accept what is fed to me. Maybe I’ll be denied or maybe it will be approved.
Can’t know without taking a swing and I hate striking out because I watched the pitch cross the plate.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Moving from Hans to a series of Johnny Cash songs and echoes of the future and visions of the past floating through my inner eye.
Got a very clear sense of what the present looks like today and several questions tied to what I see now.
Can hear that homeless guy talking but it sounds more like a taunt and less like a statement.
Wouldn’t be surprised to hear my voice respond to him with the kind of edge people recognize as a sign to get out of my way.
Might have done my best but my best isn’t done yet…not by a long shot. Got the write stuff flowing and it makes me wonder if maybe this is more like measure twice and cut once than anything else.
Was a hell of a day and got one that might be twice as crazy or four times as good tomorrow.
Just have to get through a few things to get there and I will.