Saturday, 28 March 2015

Old Friends, Good Scotch

We arrived in Tallahassee, Florida last night to the invitation for dinner and a place to stay with an old friend of mine. I use the word "old" in both its senses; we haven't seen each other in 15 or more years, yet before the first hello was finished, he and his wife Bonnie had invited is to share their home with them, share a meal with them. Their sons came to visit, we spent the evening reliving old stories, making up new ones, sharing dinner, taking a post-prandial scotch on the sun porch.

When you are young, you don't realize that the years don't appear suddenly, that growing older isn't something which happens one day in the future. It is a process, a slow slide over the years, a pathway we all walk down. You wake up one day and realize that you have arrived well past middle age, at least you do if all goes well in your life.

Illness is a part of this process. Tom is fighting a long term battle with prostate cancer. He was first diagnosed five years ago, treated then with continuing treatment along the way. The cancer has spread into his lymph nodes. Fortunately it is a very slow moving cancer; radiation therapy seems to work well for him, killing off the cancerous lumps as they appear within his body. Yet even with this, his life has been impacted.

As a young man, I thought I would be strong forever. The time I took to enjoy my life wasn't out of any sense of failing capacity. For some reason it has always made sense to me to enjoy the ride as much as possible, rather than waiting for the end of the ride to find enjoyment, rather like this road trip. Each stop, each sight, each happenstance is something in which to find pleasure, a way to fulfill my life. I've always done this, sough that fulfillment in every day.

As an older man, failing in health, I know I am no longer strong. ALS has done this to me, yet in a few years growing older would do it just as effectively. It's all the more important for me to find the joy of the moment, to share laughter, to eat well, to have a nice glass of scotch. Each time may be the last time; I just didn't think it all that real in the past. Now I know for sure that this is true, that I should enjoy it while it lasts. Soon it will be gone.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my dear take each day with pleasure . I love you