We met via Twitter and chatted a bunch. We understood life in a way others couldn’t.
And then he disappeared.
I got an email this morning about Kevin. It was what I’d feared and expected.
Hi Geoff, hope are you well. This is Claudia – I was the former partner of Kevin Lyon (Scottish).I have seen on you blog that you are looking for Kevin. Unfortunately he passed away on December 6th. He is in heaven resting. Thank you for your caring – I’m praying for you.
It’s a horrible disease. Stories like Kevin’s remind me how very fortunate I am… how lucky really. I put up with a lot of shit, but I get to live. I am cancer free.
The questions is will it make a difference or are you pissing in the wind? Don’t believe the naysayers. They are scared of you. I come from a time when college and high school student were able to steer our national policy and even drive a president (Johnson, not Nixon) from office.
Dear Students –
My name is Geoff. It’s OK for you to look at me as old. I am.
You’ve gotten a lot of attention for yourselves recently as demonstrated by the amazing pushback by the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, FL. Make no mistake, it’s a movement.
The questions is will it make a difference or are you just pissing into the wind? Don’t believe the naysayers. They are scared of you.
I come from a time when college and high school student were able to steer our national policy and even drive a president (Johnson, not Nixon) from office. The issue was Vietnam and it divided America as we are divided today. I shudder to think what 1968 would have been like with the Internet.
On one side were people who questioned the war and what we were doing there. On the other side were people who wished to follow the course. I thought they were misguided They thought they were patriots. Looking back there are similarities with Second Amendment defenders today.
The pictures at the top of this entry are from “The Moratorium” in 1969 — I was there. I marched on Washington. I protested on The Commons in Boston. And the country began to listen. Support for the Vietnam War turned.
Back then the voting age was 21 (and the drinking age 18 — you got screwed on this trade). We had much less power. Today nearly every college student and many high school can and should vote.
My generation has felt special for the last fifty years because collectively we did something good. It was probably the first time in American history that ‘kids’ became a political force. We had a positive impact. Now it’s your turn.
Go with your conscience, but please understand we made a difference before and you should now.
Because this post has spawned some heated comments I am imposing limits. One comment per person (except I will allow Judy to support her statement). All comments must be directed to me about what I wrote, not another commenter’s thoughts. I welcome comments on all sides, but keep it civil.
My father wants to drink Coke. The doctor says water. My sister stepped up on this one. “He’s ninety two. Let him enjoy something.”
Lots of buzzing today. Family conferences taking place between my sister, me, our dad and LaTonya, his aide.
My dad went to the hospital after his fall, then on to rehab. He has returned to his apartment weakened. Yesterday he got a bag of iron via IV and he’s wearing a cannula for oxygen. He’s stronger Saturday than he was Wednesday.
He’s brain sharp but physically weary. No one is really healthy at ninety two. You’re always on the edge.
The good news is my dad can regain what strength he had. The bad news is that means doing things which are uncomfortable or bothersome including exercise. At ninety two my dad should stand every hour and walk up and down the hall a few times a day. This is at the edge of his abilities.
I’m not sure I could blame him for saying, “Screw this.” He says he wants to get stronger, but sometimes it’s tough to match action to those words.
At ninety two you can get away with a lot of shit. I asked him not to be a schmuck to others. I’m sure it’s frustrating to have physical life become so difficult. He said he understands.
Few of us can know what it’s like to be trapped inside a body that no longer works right. If my dad drops something it might as well be on Mars. He could bend down to pick it up, but he’d never get back up!
Part of today’s conversation centered on drinking more water. That my father’s kidneys work at all is a surprise. Allowing more fluid in his body makes their job easier.
My father wants to drink Coke. The doctor favors water.
My sister stepped up on this one. “He’s ninety two. Let him enjoy something.”
She’s right. Water is better than Coke, but he’ll probably drink more this way which is good.
I texted LaTonya. “I think we need to consider his life is full of what he can’t do.”
As a true fan Helaine viscerally understands no lead is insurmountable. As a Philadelphian she anticipates the worst. And then came this season. The Eagles did nearly everything right. We’re not used to this. Early on they won against the Giants on an improbable 61 yard field goal kicked by a sub who’d never played as a pro before. Their quarterback, Carson Wentz, became a potential league MVP. Last year’s disappointment, Nelson Agholor, became this year’s find. They won consistently.
I remember my first Philadelphia Eagles game. My friend Marlene invited me. Her dad, Frank, had a handful of season tickets. Back then, in 1976, a season cost less than a single game today!
It was fall, but it felt like summer with a bright blue sky. The seats were in Section 614 at Veterans Stadium, high on the shady side near the 30 yard line. We walked out of the concourse and into the stands as a field sized American flag was being unfurled. Ten seconds in and I was hooked on the experience.
I ended up buying a pair of tickets from Frank for the remainder of that season and a few afterwards until I left Philly.
My first year the Eagles went 4-10 with me sitting in the stands in December, freezing. I always still stayed until the final gun.
I was a season ticket holder first, then a fan. It was the experience that got me hooked. Caring about the team came second.
And then I met and married Helaine. Her father was a rabid sportsfan. Only child Helaine had little choice. It was she who came into our relationship with a subscription to Sports Illustrated! She’s the most knowledgeable sports fan I know.
Nearly every Sunday for the last 35 years she and I have watched the Eagles… maybe anguished with the Eagles is a better way to put it. As a true fan Helaine viscerally understands no lead is insurmountable. As a Philadelphian she anticipates the worst.
And then came this season. The Eagles did nearly everything right. We’re not used to this.
Early on they won against the Giants on an improbable 61 yard field goal kicked by a sub who’d never played as a pro before. Their quarterback, Carson Wentz, became a potential league MVP. Last year’s disappointment, Nelson Agholor, became this year’s find. They won consistently.
And then, in a most Philadelphia way, Carson Wentz went down. The star was gone for the season. Hope was lost.
Except it wasn’t. The new QB, Nick Foles, started rough but finished strong. The Eagles totally dominated Minnesota in the NFC Championship game. And they’re doing it without real stars. It’s a team of role players with a very smart coach.
So, today is the day. It’s Super Bowl Sunday and the Eagles are in it with a decent chance to win. In true Philly fashion, Helaine says, “I just don’t want them to embarrass themselves.”
Stef is coming by with some friends. Helaine has cooked/baked enough for a small army. We are hoping for a win or at least they don’t embarrass themselves.
I’m on a mission. It’s about my fruit trees. They haven’t produced much fruit. This year I’ll change that… maybe, hopefully.
My concern centers around my potted orange and grapefruit trees and a ground planted plum tree. Of the three, only the plum has produced fruit, four very tasty plums last year and one the year before.
The orange and grapefruit trees have both set fruit, but none has grown bigger than a golf ball. My opinion, the growth has been too spread out. In the end it was more than the trunk could feed.
This year these trees will be heavily supervised as they grow. Energy previously spent on new branches will be redirected to the fruit.
This has meant brutal trimming. Any thin branches from last years growth were chopped. Growth off the main steam has been pinched back where there was congestion. The trees are scarily bare, but very vital.
Since the purge three days ago new growth has exploded on the orange and grapefruit¹ trees. These pre-blossoms are off the main stems and should be more able to get nourishment. My hope is this will serve them well. I can’t be sure.
Should I thin the miniature clusters of orange and grapefruit blossoms now forming? Some of the fruit will naturally fall away while tiny, but can the process be sped up with more benefit to the plant? And how much is the right amount to thin?
I only have a few plants. I’d like them to count.
¹- From past experience the plum tree is a very late bloomer.