... I am not going to stand here and wait.
I’m having a great time reading IN SHORT a collection of brief creative nonfiction.
This is very appealing as a lot is said in few words. I was especially taken with a
Tobias Wolff story called LAST SHOT. He is talking of an essay by George Orwell
called “How the Poor Die”. Wolff was reading on in good humor until he became
infuriated by the line, “It is a great thing to die in your own bed, though it is
better still to die in your boots.” Wolff was angered because he had lost a dear
friend to Viet Nam. Wolff goes on to lament those things his friend will never know
what it is like to have a child slip in beside him as he laid reading on a Sunday
My take is quite different. To me, dying in your boots has to do with old age. It
has to do with whether you let old age take over or whether you struggle against the
inevitable. I will be eighty-two come November 21, 2012. I had a stroke a few years
ago and was left for dead. I woke up after five days, much to everyone’s surprise.
My dear wife Catherine took care of me for the better part of a year. Through her
good grace, here I am.
I had pretty much resigned myself to the aftermath of stroke. I had to take frequent
naps, finding myself asleep with a book after lunch. There was a decrease in my
strength, mental and physical ability. Libido was a minus three. I thought, “That’s
what happens with stroke.”
There is a guy here in my building in the Melrose Tower Condo’s at 51 Melrose St.,
Bob Christensen, and he said I should play with his group at Mount Hood here in
Melrose. I was a 12 handicap at Bellevue Golf Club and, as my brother-in-law used to
say, “Golf is a way of life”. I truly loved golf and one day I decided to head to
Bob at Mount Hood.
This is the 10th hole at Mount Hood, a par 3.
Bob wanted to know what my handicap was and I said, “Maybe a thousand!” He laughed
and said he would start me off at three quota points. For those not familiar with
quota, if you get a par on a hole you get two points and for one over, a bogie, you
get one point. Should you be so fortunate to get one under, a birdie, is three
points. I have been going to Mount Hood for the past couple of years. I play nine
holes with about thirty or forty delightful gentlemen on Tuesday and Thursday.
Though my handicap of three points has not changed and probably will not. Still, I
am out in the fresh air and feel really alive for these few hours. I think I will
keep my boots on for a little longer.
August 3, 2012