It’s cold outside.
Snow and ice everywhere, but me and my dog Marcus are going for a walk. Maybe slower and a shorter distance than I’d like, but the main thing is to get it done and be safe.
Maybe Marcus and I will go up to the ponds when one of the children next comes over. I heard about a heron fishing up there. I heard that there might be Red Wing and Fieldfare; winter visitors.
I just take one of them with me for extra safety. It’s wet and slippery up there.
My daughter is always telling me not go out without one of the big children, but I’ve got Marcus and my phone and that should be enough. I don’t want to have to sit around until one of them is free to ‘take the old man out for a walk’. Like I do with Marcus.
I know that the better I am, the more I can do for myself and the less time I will spend in hospital if I have to go in. That’s in my hands. Nobody but me.
When the doctor tell me, I confess, it shook me. Shook me bad. But you know, man must carry on. Every new day is a gift and a joy. We do what we can and there’s no point in weepin’ and wailin’. I been through all that when me wife pass. It took me a while to accept what I had been told but I do now. I’ve had a good life and it’s not over yet. I try and keep it good.
My family have been supporting the hell out of me. I love them all. But I also enjoy me peace and quiet. You know - it’s possible to love someone and still want to be on your own.
Since my wife is gone I spend my time listening to the music that was our soundtrack for growing up on and growing together. I can almost feel her with me when Carlos Malcolm or Miles Davis plays. Man! That Miles Ahead. Fifty years on and still miles ahead.
Then one of the kids shove their head round the door t see if I’m alright and it breaks the spell.
I cherish my time with the youth so much but they don’t know about waiting until the end of the solo before they start talking.
I don’t mind getting old. I just don’t like being around old people. You know the ones. People who are dried up on the inside and forever saying” someone ought to do something”. They tire me. They don’t know that we are the someone and if we don’t try to do things, they won’t get done.
That’s why I avoid the groups; sitting around in a circle, drinking tea and talking about their ailments.
The Facebook groups are better. Easier to ignore the stupidness and get to the point. There are some really good people out there and some damn fools!!
I’d rather stay home with Marcus and try and learn things on my guitar. I’ve been working on ‘All The Things You Are’ for a couple of months and we are getting closer. Sometimes Marcus sings along ( he loves Redemption Song ).Other times I get tired and give up. Progress comes a piece at a time so I always try again.
I know I won’t get to see my granddaughter’s children grow up, but that’s alright. I saw her graduate with honours and that will warm me for the rest of my days.
All I want is to see my family grow straight and strong. To achieve more than we did.
I miss not being able to get up and go to Ronnie’s, 606 or Mambista. They’re going to have to wait on me a while.
I miss not being able to just take off to the Fens or the Black Hills and just sit and watch the birds. Just get in the car and go; travelling light. Just me and Marcus, walking and watching.
These days, I spend a lot of time in my ‘Den’. That’s where the music is. Four good guitars and a wonderful stereo that can bring Miles Davis or Oscar Petersen right into the room.
Bob sits with his head in my lap, snoring. Close to heaven!
When I go, I want to go on my terms; like a light going out. Not a long drawn out affair when disease and old age hollow me out. I make sure my will is up to date and that Marcus will be looked after.
I will dance, walk, sing and play until Gabriel blows his horn, but I’ll not just sit and wait for him to arrive.
He can come look for me.