Friday, July 11, 2014

It Makes Me Think

A year or two ago, I had some business cards printed. You know those "free" Vista Print specials. Wow, like I didn't already know to run like the wind anytime the word "free" is ever used. To make a short story long, I'm very happy with the cards, but these free ones cost me a lot of money.

They have a pic of me on front with my nose taped. What, you expected me in a business suit? I announce myself as an Extreme Swimmer. I like that. Pertinent information like my cell number, blog address, and slogan, "Fighting diabetes one stroke at a time," finish out the card. I always keep a few in my wallet and give them out with pride. The look of confusion on people's faces when I pass them out causes me extreme joy. Maybe I'm sick.

I got a call last night. It's a wonder I answered because I didn't recognize the number. I was almost to Minter City, coming back from Masters Swim in Cleveland, MS, when my phone went off, and I had to turn down my brand new Marty Robbins cd to answer. Marty was singing about loving a Mexican girl in El Paso at Rosie's Cantina, and I was just about to cry. That song does it every time, so I was a little pissed somebody messed up my experience with the dark-eyed Mexican beauty and Marty's enchanted story telling.

"Zane Hodge?"


"I found one of your business cards at Kroger" [in Cleveland where I had stopped to buy fruit and some diet drinks].

I waited.

"It says you're an extreme swimmer."

"Yes I am," I answered with pride expecting questions about my athletic feats to follow. Instead, what followed was:

"Well, you swam away from you wallet at Kroger."


Already I was braking and the truck was lurching towards to shoulder of the road before I finished my scream.

Dude, who does that? Lately I've begun to worry myself. I locked the keys in the truck at Twin Rivers last week. I popped the hood on my truck, Tuesday, and was working on my battery connection-- me and some good Samaritans-- for a good ten minutes before I discovered instead of a battery problem, I had simply left the truck in drive. Who does that? Now the wallet. Who loses their wallet in a busy supermarket in a crime-ridden town? Who tapes their nose with pink duct tape to swim? Who swims in catfish ponds? Who takes his wife's dog riding with the window down to look for cats?

*Raises hand meekly*

OK, maybe I am different, but so was my dad. All of this made me think about him. In fact, everything makes me think about him. Everyday I think about him, and the thoughts are always good.

My sister texted me and wanted me to take Mom to the doctor. No problem. This was my older sister who has been here from Florida for several weeks, and I must confess she has given my younger sister and me a nice break. She also wanted me to go with her to the place in Carroll County to dump some corn, Huh? Don't ask. It's a long story and it involves our dad.

I took Mom to the doctor, and back at the house, Helen was ready to head to the hills. The bed of Dad's truck was filled with corn, really, hundreds of pounds of corn. We dumped the corn in an open field. I don't hunt much anymore, but it is far enough from any of our stands that maybe we won't get arrested this winter if we carry a rifle out there. Then she wanted some gravel, four buckets full, so I loaded her some gravel.

We stopped at Acy's on the way back and had a burger. It was nice.Their burgers are the best, and I don't know when I've enjoyed being with my sister more than then. She was happy, pleasant, and we talked about Dad. She told me that before he died, a Scripture came to her mind,

Genesis 25:8 And Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, and old man, and full of years, and was gathered to his people.

She said the idea of a "good old age" began to purcolate in her thoughts. For Dad, his old age was beginning to cross over the line of good into the region of just old. He had stopped fishing in Louisiana, he had fallen in his little boat in Carroll County and wounded himself severely. He had sold his big boat. He had several unexplainable wrecks. He just couldn't do the things he always had, and he went home, "full of years and was gathered to his people."

She said that had prepared her for his death. Nothing had prepared me for his passing. Dad was my hero. In my entire life, he only disappointed me one time. That was when he died. It takes a long time to get over something like that.