I decided that since Keagan (my 32-year-old son) is in the US from Shenzhen, China (just across the bay from Hong Kong) where he lives and works. He had to come back to renew keep his Visa current. As it happened, he could come through Santa Fe on his return leg, I linked up with him for a visit with Father.
My father, who began working out during the Kennedy Administration in 1962 and who holds all the age-group exercise records at his local gym in Santa Fe, was finally showing his age. He’d been totally the same all his life until last June when he fell for the first time (as a function of his age) He is 94.
We spoke shortly after his fall, and he said that actually, falling for an elderly person is associated with end-of-life malfunctions and he really believed that the end is in sight.
One of Father’s stories was that at CalTech (where he graduated suma cum laude in Electrical Engineering in 1944) he used to break into the library at night in order to read medical books and history books. He read all his life; he knew a lot. Actually, he is the only truly literate person I ever met. His stories would interlink information of any epoch across literature, science, mathematics, or history and interlink them all.
Keagan and I linked up at the Albuquerque airport around 9am and drove up to Santa Fe. Father is in a hospital having a small procedure done. When we got there, he was sitting in a chair reading the newspaper with a drip bottle hooked to his arm. He is pretty cheery, but clearly has degenerated substantially in the past six months. He’s now about 5’ high, down from 5’8,” and stooped over. Still cheery, though.
Around noon, Robin came to collect him after the procedure; we returned to their home where we nibbled a bit and visited. They did not want to go in town for dinner, so we took our leave and told them we’d see them in the morning.
Keagan and I had taken a motel room together in town, and decided, after a while, to go down to the group of Indian vendors on the town square, where he found the “perfect bracelet” that was, of course, just slightly out of his price range at $500. He offered $300 but was turned down. It’s October and cold and not “in season,” but there were a number of hardy souls selling jewelry.
We spent about two-hours the next morning with Father. By the end of our stay, he was ready to take a nap. At that point, about noon, Keagan and I headed back down to Albuquerque and the airport. I returned to Austin; he flew back to Shenzhen.