My dad is a simple man. Don't confuse this with being a simpleton or unintelligent; he's as bright as they come. But his needs and wants have always been and continue to be simple.
Now that he's 80, he's gotten to the stage where he shares many of the same stories again and again. I think these stories boil down to the essence of who he is or how he wants to be remembered.
He's always been a hard-working man. One of his favorite sayings when we were growing up was, "I never want to have to step backward to pick up my paycheck." When I attended my 10-year high school reunion 25 years ago, one of my classmates asked me if I was Clyde Strother's daughter. He worked with my dad at "the plant" and said that he was known for his work ethic. He put it this way: "Your dad is crazy. He works so hard that he makes the rest of us look bad. We're always trying to get him to slow down." I was so proud that I could have burst my buttons.
And so my dad's own stories go, a litany of hard-scrabble, low paying jobs. He always gave more than 100%, even when he chose to work through slipped discs or sprained thumbs or pneumonia.
It's no wonder that one of his favorite baseball players was Randy Hundley, the Chicago Cubs catcher who became famous for "playing through the pain."
All of this gets me to thinking about what stories I'll repeat when I'm 80 years old. I do take a perverse pride when I recall throwing a baby shower and then driving myself to the CoH ETC (Evaluation and Treatment Center), only to find out that both my hemoglobin and platelet levels had hit all-time lows. Or the day that I turned away a discretionary red blood transfusion when my hemoglobin counts were at 8.3. "No, that's OK. I don't need it. I walked four miles in the 90 degree heat last night."
I know these stories have Cancer Banter readers regarding me in the same way that my high school classmate viewed my dad. "You are crazy!"
I may not share my dad's love of the "simple life," but I think we're alike in many other fundamental ways.
What will be the stories that YOU repeat?