He loves it, one more thing to help him stay in his home. He recovered from his stroke a few years back better than anyone thought, but he now has a hard time standing and sitting without a little help. Every morning, he gets up and gets settled in it and reads the daily message from "Our Daily Bread" and then the Bible. That's something he's done every day since retirement, after his morning work out (Dad was a Golden Glove Boxer and still has a very strict exercise regiment that included swimming and Nautulus at the Y with my Step Mom well into their 80's). Then it's time to get dressed and get about enjoying the day.
But dang, I was hoping for an auto launch feature that would get me airborne.
Initiate Launch Sequence! (that's it??)
The family room, where the chair is housed, has barely changed since I was in sixth grade. The folks built it onto the house over what was most of our huge cement patio. We took a vote as a family one year when I was in grade school. Vacation to Hawaii with the kids (the parents had already gone on their 25th anniversary alone) or add on a family room? The kids decided it. Family room! We can play! We can make noise. We can spill stuff! We can take the TV set completely apart with tools while they're at the grocery store (oh, dang, busted)
It has the previous living room carpeting down over the original harvest gold linoleum now and the drapes have been updated. But much is unchanged. The 1970's fixtures for the fluorescent lights that Dad crafted by hand. Still there. That Mexican hat on the Wall? A VERY embarrassing River dance gone South episode from some tap recital of mine. The barre built into the wall where I did my ballet warm ups was removed and replaced with paneling. It was there under the kitchen window that Mom once took out with a golf ball from the back yard when that was the back window to the house. Fore! (hey, I didn't know Mom knew that other word!)
The couch is new, but the quilt is one my Mom crocheted in the 70's. There is another one, but it sits in my linen closet, not where Barkley can chew on it, but where I can occasionally hold it, smell the scent of Chanel No. 5 that only exists in my memory. It's where I can remember her hands working away on it while we kids watched westerns on TV and tried to outshoot Marshall Dillon with our little cap guns under the watchful eye of our Lord.
The small bath by the family room, though, was in dire need of help. It was always the "utility" bathroom, old faded paint, bare window, no storage at all, and small and hard to get around in as there was nothing for him to hold onto if his balance or strength waned. But it's the one he uses the most.
Big Bro took care of the construction and I took care of the paint and the decorating.
He cared for her in his home through that, until her death, years more than we expected, but not easy years for him. But as she was his cross, she was also his salvation and he refused to put her in a nursing home, even when she acted out in anger against her children, not recognizing her own life, but somehow, always recognizing him.
But after she was gone, he changed his mind. His Mom was from Indy, and he enjoyed it here, but he didn't want to leave where he's lived all these years. He wanted to stay where his memories are, good or bad, in his own church, in that old house. I understood.
This is the home in which his memories reside, in every furnishing that's 30, 40, 60 years old. There have been other houses, for summer vacations and the old family home in Montana, but this modest little place was always the center of the family. Outside, is the bed of my Mom's rose garden, replanted with other flowers now, yet still containing for him, those pink and red and coral buds and blossoms, long after they've fallen to dust, no more dead to him than the hands that tended them, the drops of blood they sometimes drew.
My room at home is virtually unchanged and that was not by my request, but his will. Photos of family and family and extended family all around. The rainbow I painted on my walls in junior high. Dad said I could, but I had to use leftover paint which is why my rainbow is every shade of totally tacky 1970's paint we had. (yes, we had rooms painted those colors!)
He knows his days are short, we all do. But he's very happy, lousy view and all. There's Big Bro and his kids nearby. I fly out as often as I can, becoming an expert on the cheap air fares (how many stops?) My step brother drives six hours to take him to lunch and until very recently, out for a game of golf. He has friends, good ones, but new ones, as all of his original group has passed on. He's active in the church, and he eats very well with a hot meal daily from the sweet lady that is his home health aide and the snacks and small meals I leave for him in little freezer containers between visits and Big Bro's cooking, which is always good.
Big Bro and I will make sure he's safe and happy, however he wants to live. With Big Bro ill, there's more for me to do, but I don't mind in the slightest, as they would both do the the same, and more, for me. I can't say what the future will bring, but one thing my brother and I are both agreed on. Dad has outlived his wives, and his first born child, we're going to fight to make sure he does not experience any more loss of what he holds dear. (OK Bro, I'll cancel the Acme Rocket Propelled RV6 order - beep beep!)