There are 7 days in the week.
Someday isn’t one of them.
I’m almost at that point in life when someday is today or never. That thought occurred to me about a year ago and I’ve been scrambling ever since.
My Dad came into the city today to have his eyes checked. He’s 90 and rather spry for his age. The key word in that sentence is “his age“.
My siblings and I panic when we know he’s coming. He has no idea how the phone lines heat up between all of us as we try to figure out who will accompany him. In a city where everyone is going 100 miles an hour, my father is tooting along at a mere 40. He loves it here though and insists on taking the Long Island Railroad to Penn Station. It’s there, in front of the Kmart store, that one of us meets him. Today was my turn and when the appointed meeting hour, 11:15 AM, came and went I wasn’t sure how much more time should pass before I dial 911. My eyes strained this way and that only to have the old guy sneak up behind me and scare me half to death. He laughs like a school boy and I want to bop him in the head but hug him instead.
He has his routine down pat. We head for the E train which we take uptown to Lexington Avenue. There, we transfer to the uptown 6 to 59th Street. His doctor is a few blocks from the station. I gave up years ago trying to get him to take a cab. He likes to be in the thick of mankind and there is no better place than the New York City subway system for that. He’s been riding the subway since he was 6 and at 8 he and his cousin would spend days unsupervised just jumping from one train to the next. They always made it home in time for dinner.
Today he was supervised by me as I trailed behind him ready to grab him in case there was a misstep. I was prepared to knee anyone who looked like they might topple him in transit. I didn’t have to. The crowds were just lovely as they seemed to part in front of him like the Red Sea did for Moses. Seats appeared out of nowhere and I thanked just about everyone in sight. He doesn’t hear or isn’t paying attention to the kindnesses offered. Instead, he tells me in a loud voice about the cat or what the subway was like in 1932. People smile at us as the stations pass by.
His eyes are in perfect health and we are both relieved. We stop for hamburgers at a restaurant on the corner. His is piled high with onions, cheese and french fries on the side. I have a naked turkey burger sitting on a bed of lettuce. One of us is on a diet.
We head back downtown the way we came. I can tell he’s absorbing the sights and sounds with a hunger that hours alone tends to build. This time though his energy is waning and I wonder if I should worry. We arrive at Penn Station with time to spare. He buys himself a celebratory ice cream cone and we stand waiting for his train track to be announced. His cone is finished just as the track is announced. I follow him down to the train making sure he takes his seat. We hug as he says, “This was a really good day.” I agree.