Saturday, November 19, 2022


This is a photo of Papa Callan on La Belle Farm taken during Thanksgiving 2019.

Those were happy days, although even then I knew that he was not long for this world. He was 95 and his congestive heart failure had advanced to the point where he was very weak and often lost his balance and had a few falls. He never got seriously hurt, but this was because he knew how to break a fall and go down slowly in a lateral motion--something he learned in the Navy. When I told him I still worried about him, he replied that worrying is a waste of energy and I should use my time for more important things. I am grateful to him for these words of wisdom.

Although, at this time last year, I was not feeling particularly grateful. I had moved into his "Bachelor Pad" (his words, not mine) and I was annoyed by all the cleaning and cooking and chauffeuring and organizing and bill paying and most of all, by the difficult task of witnessing his demise.

Nonetheless, Papa Callan joy in every little thing. He was excited on Sundays when Sixty Minutes came on television and he looked forward to my Shrimp Scampi recipe. Once the eye doctor fixed his cataracts, he immediately came home and got on his tractor mower and zoomed around the yard in circles like a kid with a new toy. He told me stories of his life adventures, and his travels. Right up until his death, he was flirting with the health care workers. When the technician in the ER stuck a needle in him and then apologized he looked her in the eyes and told her he didn't mind getting a jab from a pretty girl. (She was probably in her fifties, by the way).

Everyday was a sunny day for him and yes, according to him, sunshine made him high. And life was all about having fun.

Was my year living with Papa Callan fun? No. Not, really.

But, here I am--coming to the point when it’s almost a year since he stepped up on stage for his final bow, a few curtain calls, perhaps an encore or two before he left the stage for good.

For nine months, I wanted my tenure as caregiver to end and I wanted it to never end--this father-daughter comedy, this Chekhovian melodrama, this wacky musical called Papa Callan and the Irish Lassie. Or perhaps more accurately, The Wayward Daughter Comes Home. 

Creative friends--this is the season of gratitude and so, your assignment is to look at a time in your life that presented you with seemingly insurmountable challenges. Think about an experience in which you were not necessarily at your best, but you did show up and you were present to the moment and you stood at attention, forever changed. Next, close your eyes and remember. Examine the color of the light, the taste of the air, the beauty in the unexpected gesture. Now, open your eyes and take this mixed-up soup of memory and imagination and make art out of it.

And as always, have fun.

Happy Thanksgiving!



No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.