rainbow and roses

Just a few days before my fall, we had celebrated our 57th Wedding Anniversary. I was a few months from turning 80. But, you know, I never really felt old.

I had subjected my body to a lot of things over the years: bucked off horses, bruised up in sports, battered around jumping out of airplanes. A lot of hard work before I found my life’s occupation, stagehanding, and then when I settled on it, it was 24/7. long hours, little sleep, working part of it outside in the heat and the freezing cold.

I was fortunate to work as a stagehand, work that had great diversity, getting paid to work things that people paid big bucks to attend. Working big time names, acts, events. And while I missed so much of my sons growing up, I made up for my loss when they got old enough to work next to me. Sons, nephews, daughter-in-law all worked beside me. What a thrill! Something most people never experience. As the years went by I became one of the old-timers in the business, but I never really thought of myself as old.

Because of all that ‘fun’when I was younger I ended up with knees that creak and hurt, among other aches and pains. Heck, if I raced a tortoise it would be the damn turtle that would have to fall asleep in order for me to win. But you know I really never thought of myself as old.

I saw my our sons grow into adulthood and raise families. I saw our grandkids graduate from high schools and colleges. So proud of the family that my wife and I were blessed with. And even at our family get togethers and found myself looking up to talk to many of the family, I still really never thought of myself as old.

I saw the gray strands of hair that my wife tried to hide with black touch-ups. I looked in the mirror and for several years the face that stared back at me from the looking glass was not mine; but rather the face of my father in his later years. But still I never really thought of myself as old.

And then one night I fell, and from that night on I felt old, realized my dancing days were behind me. I must be content to watch baseball on TV, rather than climb stadium steps to watch in person or heaven forbid, actually play softball at a family picnic. I’m old…but happy.

As the grandkids grew older they saw less of their grandma and their poppa. What really hurt was the fact I had no more children to sit on my lap, to read to, to tell my stories to. The prospect of great grandkids are far in the future. And then we were blessed again.

Our youngest son, Dirk, married late and now we have three little girls to watch grow into young ladies, which they are doing much too fast. Already they are too big for Poppa’s lap; but not too old to overlook their grandparents’s need to be a part of their lives.

Dirk brought the three darlings to the hospital to see me, to help me recuperate faster, to cheer me up in a way no cards or flowers ever could.

I sat up in bed anticipating hugs and kisses. But the three of them stayed back from the bed.

The youngest, Jaycee, age 8, explained that ‘Daddy said we can’t hug or kiss you, Poppa, or even get close to you because we might give you some germs and get you infected.’

‘But don’t mean we don’t love you, Grandpa’, interjected Jenna, age 10.

‘Right!’ said Jayda, age 11.

What a wonderful get-well gift. A gift an old man can enjoy long after flowers fade and cards are thrown in a drawer.

FAMILY…mi familia…the family that raised me…the family that raised my wife…the family my wife and I raised and now their families.

I beg your forgiveness in my writing this account of my medical experiences due to the fall. I know that old people converse a great deal about their aches and pains and medical experiences like I have been doing. It can grow boring fast. In this case, I wrote it more as a catharsis for myself than for the entertainment of the reader. It is a shock to admit that you too have grown old, and a joy to be given a chance to grow older.

In THE FALL I used music as a prop. Laying flat on my face, hearing in my mind, Sinatra’s THAT’S LIFE, that song clearly was the Present.

The Past was represented by a song, C’EST LA VIE, bringing to mind my growing up in the French/Dakotah town of Mendota and a saying the old- timers said with a shrug of their shoulders.

And the fear of the unknown after brain surgery, QUE SERA, SERA, the Future.

And while all three are some of my favorites, the one song I start out my day is Louis Armstrong singing:


The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people goin’ by
I see friends shakin’ hands, sayin’
“How do you do?”
They’re really sayin’,
“I love you.”

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know

And I think to myself


MLB All Star Game 2014

Minnesota Twins Field

19 thoughts on “EPILOGUE – THE FALL

  1. Not boring at all. Thank you for sharing. We care about you, and will always want to hear what you have to say 🙂 It is a shock…age…I’m sorry that all this happened.
    It is indeed a comfort and a true blessing to have one’s family love and care about one, and I think the love you have given them has come full circle 🙂

  2. Great post. Yes, it’s that comeuppance of accident or disease that foists itself on you, and then age does become a factor. I agree with the children and grandchildren as medicine most delightful. Good luck in your recovery..

  3. I work as a Greeter at Home Depot. My job is the most fun when children come in. I truly enjoy them. Even more so with Christmas coming. A smile from a single child can ‘make my day’.

    “I never felt old” you say. I know what you mean. I sometimes think I feel no different than I was when I was 30. Until I look in the mirror or see a recent photo of myself. Then I can’t believe how old I look. Even more scary is that I look a lot like my father.

    We don’t know when the bell will toll – and we cannot stop it. I only hope that when that day comes I feel that I have achieved what I was supposed to.

    • Wise, very wise words JC. As far as children making work go easier, I can’t begin to tel you how those little laughs and oh’s and ah’s brought me joy when I was working something ike A CHRISTMAS CAROL or NUTCRACKER.

  4. Well Don, sooner or later if lucky to be alive at certain age, we all arrive there, my only problem with that, is it seems so damn fast, doesn’t it?

    I am glad you are with your family, and enjoy your grandchildren, hope we keep reading your great off stage entertaining stories for a long time to come. 🙂

  5. Thank you for your kind words and wishes. Funny how as a child time goes so slow as you wait to be old enough to get into the next grade or old enough to drive a car and finally you finish off high school and from the on time begins to fly by.

  6. Don you have a way with words that I wish I had. I have enjoyed these posts even more so for being so heartfelt and personal. Do not ask for forgiveness. Just keep up the great work and don’t go anywhere! My parents just had their first grandkid and it caused me to note that people are always motivated to stay healthy for their grandkids. You never hear Herb promising “I got to stick around for Roy, my fat unemployed loser of a son.” Just an observation. 🙂 Your grandkids do sound adorable.

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