blessed are the easily amused

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Edgerton Clubine was a hundred and four.

Every night before going to sleep he'd kind of laugh as he prayed:

"Dear God, I don't have a clue why you've kept me alive this long. Maybe tonight I'll pass away. Well, Lord, if that's Your will that's alright. Amen."

I would appear in his kitchen around noon several times a week. Each time he'd say, "Oh, hello... Are you my granddaughter?"

I'd tell him, "No, I'm Lisa. I'm here to make you some lunch and wash your hair." He always found this funny. Here he was, a hundred and four years old and still alive. As if that weren't amazing enough, some girl was appearing out of the ether to fry up grilled cheese sandwiches and wash his snowy mop. Everything seemed funny to him. I guess once you've been alive so long, it's all like one big cartoon. What's the worst that could happen? You could die? Big deal.

The next question would be, "Have you accepted the Lord as your personal saviour?" I would do my best to explain that I felt I was still searching and that, although I was raised in a Christian home, I still felt there were a lot of mysteries that needed exploring through other avenues and bla bla bla. Not surprisingly, he would peer out of his million-year-old face, bewildered at my undergrad bullshit.

How he'd lived so long, no one could tell. Perhaps vanilla pudding and kraft dinner together make an elixir of eternal youth.

After lunch, he'd tell me the true stories of his long life. Like 'the naming of his children'.

"The first time Helen had a baby, I named it Bill.

The second time, she said, 'Look, if it's a girl, I want to name her.' I said that was fine, but it was a boy, and I named him Fred. The next time, we made the same deal. But it was a boy again, and I named him Charlie. The next one was John. Finally she said, 'I'm naming this one whether it's a boy or a girl.' I said that would be alright, 'but for God's sake give him a sensible name - not something stupid like Edgerton.' It was a boy, and she named him Frank."

These sons had taken good care of him in his golden years. Charlie had once approached him with tickets for a cruise trip around the world. "Imagine! An old man like me galavanting around the globe! I flat out refused. He talked me into it, though."

"Oh? When was that?"

"Well, I was 82 then, so it was..."

...22 years earlier, when I was born. He was already preparing to shuffle off into that short blue tunnel to his Presbyterian heaven full of hymns and carbohydrates.

I don't know how much longer he lived. But I stayed with him long enough to abandon my earnest bullshit.

"Have you accepted the Lord as your personal saviour?"

"Uh... yeah. Yes. How about pork chops for lunch?"

2 Comments:

Blogger green said...

excellent

Thu Oct 07, 01:41:00 PM

 
Blogger Huckleberry Finnegan said...

You gotta meet my Uncle Ray.

Fri Oct 08, 03:39:00 PM

 

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