You may recall that my 77-year old father recently spent a week here, plastering and painting my bathrooms. It's the kind of thing he likes to do, and the way he shows he cares: fixing things for others.
My dad is of a stoic generation, a guy who grew up chipping mortar off of used bricks so his parents could build a house, who climbed a ladder to get to his no-stairs-yet bedroom, whose family went camping in northern Canada for fun.
I have piles and piles of stories of his near-brushes with death and major injury. He has been knocked off a sailboat (solo) into the middle of a lake as a storm was rising, tumbled down various rivers and ravines while hiking, broken his back twice, scraped the skin off the top of his balding head without noticing more times than I can recall.
When I was in college Dad came to visit, and upon being served authentic Szechuan food for the first time and being told to avoid eating the hot peppers promptly downed a few and said, with astonishing calm, "Those were a little hot." The guy is either indestructible or has some seriously powerful guardian angels.
Yesterday I got an email from him with the subject heading, "I lost the battle". Hmmm. The contents relate how, during his early-morning multi-mile walk with a friend, he was crossing the street at the designated pathway, when a stopped car suddenly revved forward to move into traffic on the adjacent street. Next thing he knew he was coming to, 20 feet down the road. His buddy was also hit.
His narration continued, "We got out of the road, ambulance and cops came, I phoned Joan (sirens screaming in the background for good effect) to tell her I wouldn't make that trip in half an hour to pick out a granite counter top. "
He got in the ambulance and went to get checked out by the doctors. His email continues,"So Joan came up a hour later to find me back from a CAT scan and x-ray, no detectible serious injuries. We then went to look at granite. "
Yep, that's my dad.