Well, my father had been sick for several days.
We warned him, but he didn't listen (The Sky Is Black! 1-23). He continued on his walks. In the cold. In the wet. It didn't matter. We asked him not to. It mattered less. We told him not to, but he knows better. He always knows better. He was determined to walk his illness away. He thinks walking will help him live forever, but it just might be the death of him.
I was sitting in the den. All the lights were off. The drapes were closed. I like the dark. I guess that makes me Team Edward.
I swear, my father must have a Chinese spy balloon somewhere inside our house, because he'll stay in his little in-law house at the front of our property until one of us, mainly me, enters the kitchen. Then, seconds later, he'll stroll right in. My theory is he is constantly monitoring us via an Apple AirTag he secretly acquired on the geriatric black market. As soon as he knows we're moving around, he gets moving as well. Out of his house and into ours.
I was drinking a cup of hot chocolate.
Why not my usual gourmet coffee, you ask?
You sure do ask a lot of questions, my friend.
Well – sometimes life is more than the status quo, but, I'll admit, I dump a heaping teaspoon of instant coffee to my cocoa to add a little kick.
“Why don't you just have coffee?” my beautiful, but bossy, wife will ask me.
“Because I don't want coffee,” I'll explain. How can she have lived with me for so long and not understand?
You’ll think I’m crazy, but sometimes I'll even sprinkle a spoonful of instant coffee over vanilla ice cream as well.
“You know, they sell coffee ice cream.”
“Pop doesn't like coffee ice cream.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Only everything,” I say.
With my wife upstairs, and not downstairs passing judgement on my culinary choices, I was peacefully watching the History Channel.
Is life good or what?
No sooner did I get relaxed, than I heard the door in the kitchen open. A second later my father walked in. How did he know I was there?
I rest my case.
As he entered, I could hear him breathing heavily through a runny and congested nose. How is it even possible to have both at the same time?
Sniffle, sniffle! Cough, cough, cough!
He walked right by me...
Cough, cough, cough! ...and made it to his favorite chair a few feet away. I sat still, trying to hold my breath until the germs settled on the floor, but within seconds of sitting – Achoo! Achoo! – he began all over again. Cough, cough, coughing with no attempt to cover up. Is that just part of getting old? The older you get the more you forget to cover your mouth? Or do you just no longer care?
I didn't want to hurt his feelings by leaving, so I started hoping for a distraction. It was a long 15 minutes of listening to his bodily exclamations.
Cough, cough! Achoo! Sniffle, sniffle, sniffle!
Finally, salvation. My wife showed up.
“Hi, honey,” I told her, got up, gave her a kiss, and used Newton’s First Law of Motion to walk out of the room. As I was exiting, I heard my wife tell my father good morning.
“Achoo!” he answered.
I went upstairs and into the master bathroom to wash my face and hands. I can't afford to get sick. I have road trips to take and hiking to do.
When my wife is sick, she stays in her room. When I'm sick, I stay in my room. But not my father. He loves to spread his joy around. Not to mention his germs. When he's sick, he likes to be in the middle of a room full of people just so he can yell at everyone to shut up.
“Why don't you go to your room?” we'll tell him.
“Why would I want to do that?” he'll tell us.
“Because it's quiet.”
“It's quiet here.”
“You just told us to shut up.”
“Well, it's quiet now.”
“You can rest.”
“I'm resting now.”
“You can lay down.”
“Lay down and do what?”
It's no use.
Hmm… maybe I should take some vitamin C.
You know, just in case.