Not long ago I promised myself that I would be here daily…and I haven’t. I have been running through the house(s) (mine. the octogenarians and my neighbors’) looking for things to fix; preferably those things that seem beyond repair and things to sharpen (knives, tools, my wit).
In all honesty, I am a simpleton; there are a great number of things that I just don’t understand. If I can’t wrap my tiny little mind around an idea/concept; I fix things.
A simple tinker I am.
Should the Truth behind the concept totally escape me, the more elaborate the tinkering; I’m trying to repair an antique wall clock (never done it before) and I’m sharpening every knife, wood plane and ax on the block.
Tinkering is my path to the Truth; a clock is running properly or its not; a knife will cut or it won’t…a concept has Truth or it doesn’t; the perfect world for a simpleton.
John J., one of the octogenarians, father to the SWMBO, suffers from vascular dementia (according to Marion J., not nearly as much as she does). The nature of this affliction is such that he will reach plateaus and then declines with no chance for improvement. John’s declines have been happening in rapid succession, effectively shrinking his world.
John also has an abdominal aneurism that is growing, growing to the point that it is becoming life threatening. The repair is a simple, out-patient procedure.
Thus far I have had no problem, certainly nothing that would drive me to my wet stones.
John’s doctor, a more than competent vascular surgeon, has suggested that doing the procedure would be a waste of time, considering the rapidly advancing state of his dementia. “He probably won’t live more than two maybe three years longer.” (Quoting the doc, not me).
John remembers every classmate he had from grade 4 through high school; he’s told me (more than twice) about his time in WWII as a parachute rigger, the flood in ’62 to that devastated his home town, his adventures with his Dad and Uncle Joe at the Russian Club in Seymore, CT.
We share war stories and I listen, he likes to talk; he loves music and he reads a lot. Is he a perfect specimen? Hell no. Is he alive, fully living? I don’t know.
Over dinner the SWMBO, the octogenarians and me discussed his upcoming procedure, “Why am I doing this?” He asked.
“So you don’t die, Dad”.
“Oh, good…I don’t want to die.”
I am an uneducated old man and I have made few, if any, contributions to peoplekind, I’ve never held any title of note; other than: simpleton and tinker.
I fix clocks, pots, vacuums and gnomes; I play in the dirt and enjoy the company of children and madmen; I speak softly and when I laugh it can be heard for miles.
The Truth is: I can’t, I won’t, throw away a toaster if I can brown one more piece of bread with it. I can find NO Truth in judging a man unworthy to live.
I’ve heard John’s tales many times and I will hear them many more (God willing); I will listen and ask questions…if only because it gives him joy. But, his two young great-grandsons must hear his stories, they are their history.
Well, I have four knives in front of me right now that require my attention…and I will try not to think of all the other doctors across the land, that hold the life of a man or woman that is too old, too feeble, too poor, too simple to own the days, the months, the years that are rightfully theirs.
I am far too simple to find the Truth in that.