March 20, 2014


I'm heading to Appalachia tomorrow to say goodbye to Big Bob, my favorite uncle.  He's over 80, and while his wife was away, something happened and a neighbor stopped by to borrow some flour (or a sheep or a rifle), and when no-one answered the knock, opened the door and walked inside, like people in all small towns of no great wealth are prone to do.  He found Big Bob prone (facedown -- supine is face up) in the living room and promptly called an ambulance.  That was five days ago.  While Big Bog apparently responds to sounds, he has not awoken from his coma.  An MRI shows no signs of stroke.  While Big Bob is diabetic, he does not appear to be in a diabetic coma.

The news is not good.  This is not a tragedy.  Big Bob has lived more than his three score and ten.  He has lived to see four lovely grandchildren, and, after the loss of his first wife, married again quite happily.  Nonetheless, I am not ready to say goodbye.

While at this point all my grandparents are dead, I have only lost one close relation previously.  That was Big Bob's first wife.  My grandparents dies at the ages 80, 80, 94 and 99.  The only aunt I lost died of emphysema and after effects of the polio that killed her mother and crippled her brother (her father died in World War II, having survived the Bataan Death March, when Allied forces torpedoed the boat taking him to a Japanese prison camp or  wherever they were taking him).  All my blood relations one generation up are still alive.  Big Bob is threatening to change that statement.  I don't like it.  That is all.

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