If you need a short pre-cursor to my conversations with my gym buddy, please see the links below.
I was worried Monday when Vince wasn’t at the gym. He is easy to spot when he walks the track – a slow moving figure with those (I am convinced) self-invented arm movements that he swears by.
Today, however, he was in his spot on the couch as I was leaving. He claims that he waits for it to get a little brighter before he goes home. That’s bullshit. It’s dark when he comes to the gym (about six in the morning I think) so if he was really worried about driving before the sun comes up, he would arrive later in the day. He is eighty-six and long retired, I imagine his calendar is fairly open. No, Vince comes to look at the girls. God bless him.
Anyway, today he told me that he finally made peace with the Veteran’s Administration. If his lung cancer gets to the point that he can’t stay home, he is going there. As he said so eloquently, “The Army may have tried to get me killed, but at least they got clean sheets.”
No conversation is complete without a little mortality discussion. Dare I say, the man is more prepared for death than most people are prepared for dinner? His secret seems to be two-fold. First, he has an unwavering faith in God and heaven, and is quite convinced his next stop will far exceed this current one in terms of desirability. Secondly, he is making a concerted effort in the days he has left to be completely at peace with his life and existence here.
“I’m giving everything away. These people with boats and a house in Florida, it’s just more things to worry about. When you give everything away, you are left with only the things you need. That’s a great feeling.”
He goes next week for the results of his recent PET scan (that’s where he was Monday.) “Then they are going to guess how long I have left.” He chuckles. “They have been wrong every time.”
Before I leave, he lays this line on me. “On the other hand, King Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, so who’s kidding who?” I don’t know Vince, but I know we can all use some clean sheets once in a while.