So I went home to Moulton* today and hung out with the family. My stepdad’s mother was there, and my brother came around later on, so it was kind of small affair. No bouncers, or anything. Very few, if any, strippers.
I also went, as usual, to visit my buddy Rae and talk shop about a few things. While there, he was explaining something to me about how a starter solenoid works, when I noticed he was a little more out of breath than usual. It reminded me of a while back, when I first began to notice that Rae is actually getting old.
It’s not that I can’t understand people who live past thirty, or anything like that, but Rae just turned 64 this past July. When I met him five years ago, he had long, wild blond hair and wore enough Native American jewelry to costume every single back-up dancer at a Cher concert. When I found out that he was about to turn the big Six Oh, I couldn’t for the life of me reconcile those two things in my mind: the wild-eyed Vietnam vet I hung around with, and my own preconceived notion of what a sixty year-old person should look and act like. He just seemed so damned young. Perfect eyesight, quick, clear, modern speech, and a mind like the proverbial steel trap.
I kind of pieced it together today, when I noticed his speech is beginning to slur, and his encyclopedic knowledge of cars is beginning to blend together. It could be his medications–God knows he takes enough–but I think life has caught up to him again**, maybe for the final time. He could very well be at the beginning stage of the inevitable ten or twenty-year downhill slide. Hell, it could be sooner than that. Who really knows?
Anyway, the point is I had one of those moments today where you realize with over-sharp clarity that every single person you have ever known is going to die. Many of them will go before you do, while many more will wait (perhaps spitefully) until you’ve passed. I couldn’t give any less of a damn about who would smile at my funeral, but I absolutely do not want to watch my friends die. And, because I feel so strongly about it, I’ll probably outlive every last one of the lucky sons-of-bitches.
*Why did I make a 140 mile round-trip just so I could hang out for a few hours? Because my mom made meatloaf, that’s why.
**I say life caught up to him “again” because of the sheer insanity of the first fifty years of it. If I get his express permission, I might write about his life, maybe share some of his stories with all of you. Some of them are nigh on poetic.