Monday, December 25, 2006


We had a big dinner last night. There was turkey, stuffing, creamed onions—all the good stuff. It was delicious. The food was planned for ten. Eight people sat at the table. One of the missing was my good friend Sean, whom, like many people I know, is suffering through a winter cold. (I had one last week). The other absentee was my dad, who “had a bad day” yesterday, to quote my mom, and, stayed upstairs, just like at Thanksgiving. As then, I sat at the head of the table. And as then it made me feel strange, a usurper.

By “had a bad day,” my mom meant that my dad had little energy and was feeling generally poorly, including a bit nauseous. Neither she nor I want to yet accept these symptoms as anything other than transient, especially in light of his recent upswing. Hope springs eternal. But time will tell. It will be interesting to see how he is today.

As we did at Thankgiving, we took our deserts upstairs, to eat them in the company of my dad. He really enjoyed the attention and proceeded to cheerfully hold forth, as is his wont.

Later, I walked one of our guests to his car. A dear family friend, he has known my father literally for decades. I’ve known him probably thirty–five years. He remarked on my dad’s remarkable strength and will to live—which I cannot dispute—and that those may be the edge my dad needs to become an outlier, as opposed to a routine statistic. God, I hope so. I can think of no better Christmas gift next year than to have my dad still with us.

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