Four Score and Five

years ago a thirty-four year old lady from Hungary, and living in Chicago gave birth to a boy. He lived. Back then many new borns died at birth, but this boy survived. His father who was also from Hungary named him Joseph. Two years earlier this father lost his first born son Joseph Junior, age six, to scarlet fever. This new son was a replacement for his namesake and first born.

The sadness associated with these circumstances has always placed a damper on my birthday celebrations, and throughout the years I have spoiled many a celebration on this day with my sullenness and refusal to show a hint of happiness. This year seemed no different, even though my friends came, and we drank wine, and we had a seemingly great time. I shifted my paradigm however, by claiming it was not my birthday because my birthday was the next day. Instead I told them we are celebrating a going away, I am leaving 84 behind and going toward 85.

My three kids all called me to wish me a happy birthday and that made me happy. My oldest son has reached the age at which I had retired from my job to live happily ever after with my wife Barbara. He will not be able to retire yet for a number of years, and it is the same with my daughter and youngest son. They all live lives raising their children and working like we are all supposed to do. My grandkids are all responsible citizens, and that makes me very happy.

With each passing year I develop a new sense of urgency. As my time on earth shortens, the fire to complete my goals increases with intensity. Like my current intarsia art project burns inside me. I keep telling myself that I can’t leave the planet with an unfinished pile of wood pieces which my kids would not know how to deal with. At least a completed work could become a reminder of who I was, but a pile of wood?

The next project on my list before I start a new intarsia work is to complete the manuscript for my first novel, Space Rod. As with many projects I put writing a book aside when my second wife Peggy needed my help to negotiate Alzheimer’s dementia. She has been gone for four years now, and I either have to finish the work or find a new reason to use for not doing so. Unfortunately, finding reasons to blame are a whole lot easier to come up with than putting in the hard work and time to finish. My story line has had a lot of time to fester and I’ve had many ideas for how to change the story, but in the end I think I will proceed with my original line of thinking. I always thought it was a good story idea so why should I change it now. I can’t rest until I send the manuscript off to be published.

So many things to do, and so little time.