He shuffles now. I'm not really sure when that started happening. I just know that he can't keep up with me anymore when I am walking next to him....or rather in front of him. No matter how hard I try to slow my pace, I seem to always be waaaaay ahead of him. Well, he is almost 80. That is so hard to believe. What's amazing to me about Dad is that he still has a presence about him. He is still a natural leader and people are drawn to him for many reasons one of them being his hysterically wonderful sense of humor. The man can make you laugh! He can work a room full of people like no one else. Maybe this is why his occupation as a sales rep fit him so well. Gregarious, charismatic, incredibly observant, witty and full of puns-this man is just plain fun. Even now, Dad can lapse into any accent imaginable while telling a story, joke or just talking. His repertoire includes: A stuffy Brit, a New York Jew, a non-New York Jew, a Southern gentleman, a Southern black man, a Swede, a Nazi-German, a regular German, Italians from New York, Philly and Italy, any Latino, any Asian, a person from India, an Amish man, and any US President that has an affected way of speaking! I'm sure there is more. I am just so used to it that I almost expect it when we talk. It is because of him, that we all (my siblings and I) tend to lapse into accents when we talk or tell stories but Dad is the king!
You could say that my Dad looks like Paul Newman. He has Paul-Newman-Blue-Eyes and beautiful Paul-Newman-Silver-Hair. He truly is a handsome man even at the almost age of 80! He and his identical twin brother, so I'm told by Mom, were quite a pair of lookers in their younger years. Apparently they had all of Havana (Cuba)in an uproar when the two arrived there to spend their summers studying at the University of Havana. That's how Mom and Dad met (this will be another entry at another time). Fluent in Spanish and a stickler for the proper use of the English language, Dad knows more things then I will ever know in my lifetime. In other words, he is extremely intelligent and has a knack for knowing the most trivial things. This always used to annoy me that I could never possibly know as much as he knows but now I realize why I love to learn so much-it's because of Dad. He is and continues to be intrigued by the world around him, by people and their habits and culture, by world history and local history.
Okay, so he's a bad dresser. This was always his problem but no worries, Mom was always there to pick out, buy and make sure he wore them appropriately. Why he would insist on multi-patterned outfits I will never know. Mom would just about die when he would come downstairs wearing plaid shorts and a striped shirt. She would gasp and say in a high pitched-annoyed voice, " Ken, go back upstairs and put on the shirt I bought to go with those shorts!" And then he would look at her and do his impersonation of a crazed husband cocking a shot-gun, aiming it and shooting it at her and then he'd say in a crazed-husband-who-just-shot-his-wife voice, "Gee Officer, I don't know how I managed to shoot my wife by accident." (this always made us laugh hysterically especially because he could make the cocking-the-gun-sound sound so real) Then he would change his shirt and the day would go on.
Thanks to Dad, my siblings and I all have this problem; we get ugly when we get mad. It's more like ENRAGED. We all scramble when we see the beginning signs. It starts with the bulging eyes and the popping vein in the neck, then it moves to the unusual skin color metamorphasis (see "Goodbye Garden...." for an example of my rage), but by far the worst is what can come out of his mouth. Let's just say it is not pleasant and I pity the poor wretch who forgot to take cover.
I will be spending time with him today. He visits Mom every day at the nursing home and so I will take them out to lunch at the local Medical office down the street. "Do you know they have a cookout on Wednesdays?", says Dad. That's where we will eat. It's an outing for both of them. It's sad to think that this is what they look forward to for an outing but I guarantee Dad will entertain us in the process. I look forward to this. I love my Dad even if his shirt will not match his pants anymore and even if he wears his slippers in public.