Sunday, October 22, 2006

My Father's 80th

I flew to California for my father and his twin's 80th birthday party. My parents drove down from Oregon, my brother and family flew out from Colorado, and my unts and uncles and cousins drove in from their various locales in the Bay Area. The party was at my youngest cousin Eileen's house in Walnut Creek. Her father Bill is my father's twin brother.

It was a lovely afternoon party, the weather was perfect, clear and warm. After breakfast we went to a street art festival in the town I lived in for three years, Danville. The art festival was huge and had a wide range from lovely to tacky stuff. I picked up a present for my weekend cat sitter there.

Then we went to the party. It was a lovely afternoon party, the weather was perfect, clear and warm. My father and his brother and their two older sisters were all there. The eldest, Peggy, remaried at 80 almost 9 years ago. She is lively and spry. Virgina, the middle child, is in an assisted living/retirement home, but she spends all her time with her current boyfriend there. She needs canes to walk now, and her grandson Howard said she has on and off days. I immediately went over and talked to her, she asked me who all the people were who she didn't recognize, my brother's new wife and ihs step-kids. She seemed fairly on the ball to me.

The big surprise was her eldest son, Howards father, Rick. He had had a bypass surgury gone wrong, and strokes and I had heard that he was bedridden and barely functional. He was there, looking physically fit, a little halting in his conversation, hunting for words and names, but often coming up with snappy remarks, and pleased, pleased, pleased to be there and see everyone. Big hugs for cousins not seen in a long time.

His son Howard is an angel. He has two kids of his own, and takes care of his father, and his grandmother Virginia, and manages to be cheerful, sensible, and strong. He's a real Mensch.

This picture is of the four siblings in order of age, my father, his brother Bill, sister Virginia, then Peggy. We are talking of getting together again next year for Peggy's 90th.

Afterwords we came back to the hotel and my parents and brother and wife and I sat talking for a long time, then I went to my room and got some grading done. I am way behind on grading already. Today, San Fransicso!