I awoke at 5:37 AM feeling well-rested and content, but rather peculiar without knowing why. Something was definitely off—not weird off, but like a revelation was about to be disclosed. As I opened the plantation shutters to the rising sun, there was a certain glow bouncing off terracotta roof tiles that reminded me of the Mediterranean. I thought of the French Riviera, and wished I could be there again, but this time as a young man during the 1950s before the turmoil of invading refugees from the Middle East: the velvet sea, the gay nightlife at the cafes on the waterfront, music in the air—jazz, always jazz. |
When I broke two eggs into a skillet, I remembered it was Father’s Day, and was saddened a bit that neither of our children were here to spend the day. But what-the-heck, it wasn’t practical anyway. My own father has been gone for 12 years leaving me with a somewhat empty feeling, but that’s the way of nature, right? Every day we march toward an unavoidable biological reality. There is no escape. As the eggs started to harden, a notion jumped front-and-center: this could be my last day! This could be Jim Morrison’s old friend, THE END. Oddly, I was at peace with the thought. My birthday was last week. Was it to be my last?
After breakfast alone—like almost every breakfast—I snuck a peek into a mirror. Although not the athlete I was, I’m still fit. My hair, though thinning, is still dark. People have been accusing me of coloring it for years. I will admit to having a certain degree of vanity, but would never put up with the hassle involved in that process. I attempt to shun all things that are not joyful, peaceful, and/or value-added. Life has been that—charmed. I’ve had a long marriage to a woman who loves me (and my foibles) unconditionally though we are as different as night and day. Maybe that’s why it’s worked. I think she’ll miss me, but get along just fine. My career with ups-and-downs has been rewarding, my health robust, and my hobbies engaging. What more could I want? The answer quite simply is time—there’s never enough time. So, if this is my last day, I’d better get to it; that is, writing this essay. I apologize if it’s only half the length of my usual efforts, but I’ve got a deadline—literally.
A close friend from high school days lives two hours south. We traveled from the Midwest to California years ago, and by chance, both ended up in the Arizona desert. He has had three heart attacks—two before we reached 40—among other physical maladies while I have been untouched by the rags of growing old. The irony is that he asked me to deliver his eulogy, but the reality may be that he’ll tell funny and poignant stories about me. How do you like them apples? He’ll do fine. He’s a polished public speaker although a bit wooden in his delivery, but not nearly as bad as Al “I invented the Internet” Gore. You see, it’s his nature to always be “proper” while I speak impertinently. Hey, I can’t help it. I’m a smart aleck.
I’ve accomplished most things on my bucket list, but we never get to finish the list if we are forward thinking, imaginative, and ambitious. All the usual international sights and experiences are long behind me. My personal list is continually revised and expanded; for instance, I want to ride in the Goodyear Blimp, and drive the Weinermobile. Stealing and joyriding in a garbage truck also strikes me as fun. Another item that would be “interesting”, but long behind me, would be to bring a date to one’s own wedding. Can you imagine what would hit the fan? However, it would be practical if you wanted an “out”. Certainly a better option than jumping on a plane and abandoning the affair the day before. Never happen you say? Au contraire! My best man pulled it off—showed up at my apartment two states away.
So if this is adieu—the French save that word for the final goodbye—I’ll see you on the other side. If someday after I’m gone, and you’re alone, you hear a strange noise like a slide-whistle, that’ll be me.
..and if this is a false alarm? Hey, there’s always tomorrow.
By Gene Myers. This is not copyrighted. I mean, why bother? Over and out.
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