Monday, June 22, 2009

Who am I to think that I won't go first?

Yesterday I took a different route to visit my Dad on Father’s Day and drove past the cemetery where many of my relatives have been laid to eternal rest. One of these days I will join them because my wife, in her infrequent moments of planning ahead, purchased gravesites for both of us there several years ago. I’m sure my Dad will be buried there too when it is his turn although that’s a topic that will not generate any discussion with him.

The cemetery was jam packed with cars and people making their annual Father's Day visit, placing flowers on the tombstones and saying a few prayers while fondly remembering the good old days when Dad was around. I didn’t stop to visit the gravesites of my paternal grandfather, grandmother and both sets of great grandparents who are buried there. I just wasn’t up to it and preferred to use the time I had available to spend with my Dad.

I’m one of those weird guys who likes to visit cemeteries and stroll up and down the rows of gravesites and read the names, dates of birth, dates of death and anything else engraved on the tombstones. Being numerically-oriented, I like to calculate the age of the deceased when they passed away while wondering who they were and the life they lived. I’m really fascinated when I discover a tombstone of someone who lived a long time ago and lived a very long life, wondering what their secret was or if they were just blessed with good genes and good luck.

About 10 minutes after passing the cemetery, I arrived at my Dad’s house and we had a good time and great conversation. He likes to talk about the good old days and I like to listen to his account of those days. Yesterday we spent time talking about barbell squats because he was and still is a big believer in that exercise which he attributes to the very good strength he still has for someone about to turn age 83. He recalled a squat competition he entered in the early 1950s when he as about 25 or 26 years young. That day, as a middleweight of about 165 lbs., he squatted 420 lbs. and took home the second place trophy. The winner of that competition was none other than American Olympic weightlifting legend Tommy Kono. My Dad’s recollection is that Mr. Kono’s winning squat was about 460 lbs.

How many more Father’s Days my Dad will have is anyone’s guess. If I had it my way, I’d like at least a dozen more. Truth be told, one day he will get called home for his eternal rest. When that day comes, those Father’s Day trips to visit him will be to the cemetery that I passed today while driving to his house.

But there are no guarantees in life and maybe that is not how it will turn out because who am I to think that I won't go first?

Pax Domini sit simper vobiscum


Chip said...

Happy father's Day, Ed, and give your pop my best wishes!!

pierini said...

Thanks Chip!