Saturday, April 2, 2022

He fought the good fight.


I stayed at Papa Callan's Bachelor Pad this past week.  I've been appointed as the Executrix.  Yes, that's the legal term for what I'm entrusted to do.  It's my fiduciary responsibility to take good care of my father's estate.  I don't take any of this lightly, even if the "estate" is Papa Callan's modest 1950's ranch house  along with his 2014 Chevy Cruze.

Anyway, we sold the car, met with an accountant, met with realtors and are now in the process of putting the house up for sale.  It's been a  sad time this week, filled with so many memories.

Despite this, there were flashes of joy.  The realtors knew Papa Callan!  They were there with him at the "Save the Woods"  town hearings.  They said he gave a great speech.  And although, they ultimately lost the battle to save the woods,  I was cheered to hear stories of Papa Callan, especially from this unique viewpoint.  He was more than my father.  He was a man who fought City Hall.  He was a neighbor, a protester, a friend to the trees, and a defender of the woods.  

I am still grieving, but you know what--these little stories cheered me and brought be great solace.  And more than this, the stories took the messiness of the past year and gave it order and meaning.  After living on this planet for ninety-seven years, my father's life can be expressed in the story of his fight to save the woods.

Yes, he fought during World War II, he fought to keep my mother alive when she was dying of cancer, he fought to keep her diabetic cats alive and in his final years, he fought to keep eating chocolate chip cookies and riding his lawn tractor.  And yet,  I do believe that fighting to save the woods (and ultimately losing) might just have been his most glorious moment. 

Creative friends--your assignment this week is tell a story about someone who is no longer with us.  Begin with a seemingly ordinary event.  Let this memory unfurl and then let it take you wherever the wind blows.  Let it surprise you by its grandeur and its humility. 

Finally, think of your own stories and how you would like to be remembered and then live your life as if you are creating a story.

Because you are.

And as Papa Callan would say, have fun.



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