Dad got old very fast when his age flopped from 85 to 86 years old. He recognized all of his neighbors and kin, and what he recognized bore little resemblance to who each was at the time.
I visited him on Fridays at the Elmhurst house both he and I knew well, he as the provider and me as the sole daughter, who expected to be duly provided for.
There on the front porch, we tended to sit because I wanted to. Dad probably liked the indoors better but he was gallant.
One day was more memorable than most because I learned what dumb is. Me.
We sat on canvas sling chairs, marvels of engineering, having survived 40 years. We looked out at Utley Road in front of the house and down at our feet, which were closer.
Dad spoke: “It is a long journey.”
I felt ephiphany, which feels like wisdom, like soul. This would be a deep moment. I was ready to receive from him such wisdom about life, about age, about what the heck had been going through his head in recent days when he forgot where the garage was.
“Ah,” says I and I wait.
“Long journey,” repeats he in a voice that never before was baritone in timbre.
“Ah,” repeats myself and I wait.
Since nothing forthcomes in the pause between now and eternity, I look where he is looking, which is down, at his brown shoes. There an overfed, suburban ant is lugging a crumb between Dad’s two feet, heading gosh only knows where.