My “cousin”, Ray, helped us move to the east side to a brand new deluxe apartment at 1143 Shady Lane. He had two helpers, a 16-foot truck and a lot of energy. He’s partner to the kids’ Aunt Florence, really no relation, but a distant in-law.
We buried “cousin” Richard on my birthday. Now, he lived long enough (112) to be everybody’s cousin. If you look at it that way, by virtue of being associated to the Overton family, I have lots more “cousins”.
If you haven’t heard yet, my dad is in a nursing facility. Nazareth Hall next to Loretto Academy at Trowbridge Dr. and Raynolds St. in El Paso. The one where Juanita Cable, an old family friend, once resided.
Right before Thanksgiving was his accident. Dad shifted wrong when trying to stand and his hip gave way. The doctors inserted a rod just like the last time on his other hip.
But he was unable to bounce back like before, so it's been determined that he needs 24/7 care. All he wants is to go back home. But now he's stuck.
When my father gets an idea in his head, like escaping, there is no deterring him from having those thoughts. Whether he acts on them, is most likely an impossibility. I think mostly he misses the independence he thought he had.
That pisses him off. When he had a car he could come and go, freely. Or just to putter around the house unimpeded.
He likes to stand staring out the window at the front yard, warming in the midday sun while checking out the goings-on in the neighborhood. He both loves and regrets leaving his tan recliner and dining room and poker table chairs behind.
At the house, Dad was always the first one up in the morning, making coffee for his visitors . Then later in the evening, he dozed off in his recliner watching his favorite shows like the News and Blue Bloods on television. All in the comfort of his own home, one built by his own hand.
He has spent his life learning the ins-and-outs of our little house on Mountain Ave. I’m sure he can feel the ghosts of the past, haunted by the little things only he knows and which nobody else will ever find out. My father wasn’t much of a talker. Like most men of few words you were always left guessing about how they felt.
He has lived 96 years, loved reading before his eyes lost patience, still watches his share of TV, was married to my mother for 54 years, got a master’s degree in business Administration, and fathered seven children. At one time, he loved hunting, fishing, and sports.
Most of all, he is a World War II Army Air Corps Veteran. Started as a fighter pilot trainee, but got washed out. Then joined up with a B-52 bomber crew as a navigator/ gunner .
He flew during the last year of the war. Once on a mission over Germany, he experienced a peculiar event. A formation of alien spaceships hovered around him looking like flashes of light. There were hundreds of them.
Dad still debates whether what he saw were UFO's or souls leaving the Earth amidst all the devastation and death of the war. Once, I asked him if he ever bombed over Dresden. That would have explained it, but he couldn't remember.
Whatever they were, one thing for sure is that he kept a diary that my snoopy little sis Cristy discovered in November while visiting. It starts January 1st 1945 and recounts the adventures of an Air Force sergeant during the last year of the war.
Get well soon, Dad!