The Spotted Towhee pecked at seeds on the ground and flitted from tree to rock to limb. I watched him for a full 20 minutes, and decided he was such an adorable little creature. I think he has taken up residence in the tangle of arctic willow trunks. Watching the pretty bird in the cool evening breeze, I reflected on many things. On how Dr. Seegmiller has decided to care for his invalid patients by making home visits, kneeling at recliners to clip nails and shave callouses. On how the new Church missionary from our neighborhood, off to Argentina for 18 months, had discounted her “simple faith” because it was not more sophisticated or profound, not realizing, yet, that simple faith is pure and powerful faith: genuine. On how Dad observed one evening, “Rog, if you got married now, we would be in a rest home” and I thought he might be right, and I determined to continue my mission to minister to my parents in their days of feebleness and need. On how I gave an ethics presentation to the city’s Public Works Department (water, sewer, and roads divisions), a tough crowd in boots and ball caps and dirty jeans, and how I coaxed them to laugh and to think, and how Mom and Dad insisted I show them my PowerPoint slides in an abbreviated show, and how we learn ethics through living, and promise to do better next time. On how I took Mom and Dad for a roll, pushing Mom’s wheelchair, past the guard shack and gate, into wealth and privilege, all the Porsches and Audis and Lincolns and BMWs racing by, and how they are not representative of most of America, or of me, and how I joked with Dad that he would be pulled over if he didn’t stop riding off the edge of the asphalt trail. And on how Steven had remarked that for all Dad’s disappointment and misery, and despite two minutes of agony every two hours (when nature calls), he is happy in his life, reading his books (several a week), scanning the New York Times (daily), watching television (totally at Mom’s mercy since he cannot operate the remote), enjoying tasty nutritious food (yesterday French sauteed chicken in onion cream sauce), visiting with visitors (from church, mostly), balancing his checkbook (check register in one hand, pencil in the other, calculator on his lap), doting on grandchildren and great-grandchildren (I have lost count), and chatting with his white-haired sweetheart (of 62 years). And Mr. Towhee hopped and flew all the while.
Above: French sauteed chick in onion cream sauce, roasted tarragon asparagus, and scalloped potatoes from a box.
Below: The melted jumper cables from my failed attempt to jump start Mom’s dead car battery.