Mortality

Yesterday I read this interview feature quoting Clint Eastwood’s reasonable response to the criticism he’s received from Spike Lee. Look at the guy’s face in the photo. He’s gotten old.

When I was a kid, I mean in elementary school, I remember we, the boys, used to love talking about war movies we’d seen on TV. That was back when it was a big deal to see a fairly recent motion picture televised. Like ABC’s Movie of The Week. One of our school yard favorites was that Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland movie about a bunch of WWII soldiers in Europe stealing SS gold with the collusion of the Panzer commander guarding the treasure.

I’m more than halfway to old, now. Last night, I woke up thinking about Clint Eastwood: Old Man, and then thought about the passage of time, or my journey through time, and how I’ll end up old someday pretty soon. Contrasted that with infant son sleeping in his bassinet. Will he remember me as the active and healthy man in early middle age I am, now, or as whatever it is I’ll be when I die?

Mom, younger brother, me (on the camel), and Dad wearing Burmuda shorts and I Spy shades

My father died at the age of 58 after having lived more than a hundred normal human years. I remember him as the angry tyrant I loved carrying us through Europe wearing Bermuda shorts and Robert Culp I Spy sunglasses – shades, he always called them. I remember spending Saturdays going to garage sales with him. I remember his road rage – that’s where I learned about creative name-calling. I remember his funny voices and the brilliant way he was able to do impressions of popular and classic actors. Probably the actors he grew up watching at the cinema. I remember Dad’s sailboat, and our nocturnal scavenging sessions at local boatyards picking up a sail here, an outboard motor there. I remember more than I’ll write here. I remember Dad throughout my life up to the time he died.

His birthday was in early June. I can’t even remember the date. I don’t remember the year or the date he died, either. Strange lack of recollection. Dad was one of about three people I always knew loved me. He was the one who disappointed me most frequently. Those disappointments were agonizing.