Dad reports that he is enjoying the adult-sized tricycle my brothers and I chipped in and bought him this year for Christmas.
We were a little worried he might not like it because it was new, not used. In their late 80s, my parents are of the generation raised in the economic landslide of the Great Depression and graduated into adulthood with a call to service as war broke out across the world. These events made a lasting impression on them. As a result they are very frugal and service-minded, and we were scared Dad might reject the present as being too extravagant.
I cringe slightly whenever I hear politicians of either party presenting what they do as public service. To me it isn’t public service if you get paid to do it, and our politicians get paid well above and (for too many) below the table. There are plenty of examples but the one currently in the news is Newt Gingrich. Not only did he get paid for his time in Congress but then parlayed his connections for millions more by peddling influence. Public servant, my foot.
Anyway, we visited my folks the weekend before Christmas.
My brother Bob and brother-in-law Billy put the bike together and brought it over on the same day we celebrated. They parked it outside the back door, planning to bring it in when it was time to open presents. Dad has pretty much lost his eyesight to macular degeneration and they thought he wouldn’t notice it even if he walked by it on the way to the garage. Wrong. In less than five minutes he saw or sensed it through the small window in the back door so he got to have his present before everyone else.
That was fine with everyone.
When we were kids, Dad was always the last one to the party. He delivered packages for Marshall Fields, and the department store’s policy stated that all packages had to be delivered on Christmas Eve. While the rest of us enjoyed a dinner and played games, Dad, no doubt, was doing his best to get home as early as possible. It was one of those times as a kid when a minute could seem like an eternity as we anxiously awaited his car to pull into the driveway. After a hard day of work he no doubt had earned the right to come home and relax a bit before the hubbub of opening presents, but he was always a good sport and jumped right into the activities.
The bike proved trickier to ride than we thought as it balanced differently than a two-wheeler, but he soon got the hang of it. He was hoping to ride it the six blocks to the public library to get his books on tape but the gentle incline to that destination has proven to be just enough to keep him from getting there. Instead, he’s been riding around the block and picking up garbage as he goes.
You can take the man out of the service but not the service out of the man.
The following weekend, we drove to Denver on Christmas Day, where Sabra’s parents and some other family members live. I didn’t want to go this year because my dog Buzz’s health is failing, and I refused to leave him home alone. In the end, we decided to take him with as he’s usually very comfortable in the car. This trip proved no exception, and he slept the entire 12 hours of the journey each way. Wish I could do the same, especially through Nebraska.
We took the bed he sleeps on at night and the blanket that is thrown over the couch he likes to sleep on during the day. For some unexplainable reason, though, he crawled into Sabra’s parents’ bed several times.
You can take the hound dog out of Iowa but you can’t take the hound out of the dog.