Day of the Dead

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November 2, 2017, Prescott-

Hispanic families, in Mexico and elsewhere, observe this day as a way to honour their departed ancestors and strengthen the ties between this world and the hereafter.

As I looked out the window, this morning, I swear I could see Penny’s image, and that of her father, looking back at me, in a tree across the way.

Some have gone on, this past year, who had roles, large and small, in my life.

Uncle George Boivin, one of my last surviving father figures, gave me a paving stone from Boston’s old Scollay Square, which was transformed into Government Center, when I was about 12.  He was ever available, when I was in Colorado, to set me straight, in the difficult  2 1/2 years, immediately following Penny’s passing.  His mind was sharp, until the end, and those doll houses live on.

Al Tercero served our American Legion, at the post and district level, for over 30 years.  Now he is in what we call Post Everlasting.  The Honour Guard he helped establish is still the finest in Arizona.

George Marchessault, also a Past Commander and Honour Guard stalwart, stayed true to the Legion code and was ever present at our gatherings, on almost a weekly basis, until his last illness confined him to rest.

Bea Cronin, a grand-aunt’s sister-in-law, was always outside watching the Saugus High football team, from her back yard. There was an open door and welcome to the kids who knew her sons, and to us, her far extended family, when we were in the neighbourhood.

Ivaloo Mac Vicar was always in the hall, when I was passing to classes in seventh grade, admonishing us boys to WALK down the stairs, ONE step at a time.  She made it to the Century Mark, and a bit beyond, as did-

Evelyn Porter Anderson, who gave my mother a shot at success as a hairdresser and cosmetologist, in the uncertain days after World War II.  She never stopped doting on the five of us, until blindness and infirmity kept her confined to her last home.

Bernis Hanlon taught me, in fifth grade, to rely on my own wits and to start building  layers on my thin skin.  It took twenty more years for that lesson to really stick, yet less time for her next life lesson, appreciation of fine drama, to be absorbed, six years later, when she was the  High School Theater Advisor, who didn’t mind my being on the periphery of that club’s efforts.

Firuz Kazemzadeh was a high-level scholar of the Baha’i Faith, and one of our most accomplished mentors, serving in so many capacities, legal and educational.  His was always a bright and friendly face, at national and international gatherings, as well as at “our own” Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference, held annually in Phoenix.

So many others have come and gone- and some day a person or two will write of my time on this Earth.  There is much to do, as yet, so let it not be too soon.

 

Centenarians

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I read a piece in Yahoo! yesterday, about a 100-year-old woman who met her natural daughter only six years ago.  The daughter is now 77.  This seems to be a very positive, life-affirming event, for both women, and for their families.

This is one of the many anomalies that have arisen, and will continue to arise, as more and more people reach the century mark.  If you aspire to attain Methuselah status, what are your plans for such an event, and, more importantly, for the time afterward? Some, like George Burns and Bob Hope, just barely crossed the finish line and made it their last race.  Others, like all those who become the Oldest Man/Oldest Woman in the World, or like Frank Buckles and Claude Choules, the two last surviving combat veterans of World War I, (both of whom died last year),have plans for staying in the game and achieving real goals.

If I am so indulged, I want to leave this all behind with my hips swinging and my arms outstretched, in embrace of all that life has to offer, and with an appreciation for what this life has taught me.  As my Penny said, “I want to die with my boots on.”  She did so, when it was her time, though far from the century mark.  I wouldn’t mind going the distance, since her spirit is always around, and I have this thirst for achievement and experience.