Wednesday, June 29, 2016

RIP, Pat and Buddy

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Daddooooo sat in this iteration of a Windsor writing desk every morning.  We called it the Jefferson Chair, because Thomas Jefferson is said to have composed pieces of the Declaration of Independence in a similar chair and that must be true because we saw the same kind of chair at Monticello and it was something on which my parents agreed.  There was no reason to examine something that didn't cause an argument.

But, I digress.

After his breakfast of oatmeal and hot tea, he'd take the New York Times to the Jefferson Chair, open to the death notices, and begin to read.  Why?  "Just checking to be sure that most of them are older than I am," was his standard reply. "

Lately, I've begun to understand his reasoning.  He used those obituaries as a measuring stick; he was still young if the newly deceased were older than he was.  As he aged, he began "checking to see if I know anybody."  It must have been reassuring to find himself on this side of the abyss; I know it makes me happy to find myself here.

And so, when I awoke to find that Bears' defensive coach Buddy Ryan (yes, he did other things but that's how I remember him) and Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summit were dead, I had a Daddooooo moment.



Buddy Ryan was 82, but he's frozen in time for me in 1985, 50 years old and ornery.  Pat Summitt had been sick for a long time; her release from early-onset Alzheimers felt sad but not tragic.  Neither death should have been surprising, but they were.  Neither should have shaken me, but they did.

Little Cuter was a newborn when Buddy's Bears won the Super Bowl.  I conjure baby pictures of her in the same imaginative frame as I find those football players.  It doesn't feel that long ago.  And yet.... if Buddy Ryan has aged, then so have I.

I had no idea that Pat Summit and I shared the same birth year; she always seemed so much more mature than I.  Yet, there it was on the screen this morning... and I came face to face with the fact that I am at the age when it's not my parents and my friends' parents and actors from the 1940's who are dropping like flies, but my friends and my friends' friends and famous figures from my time.

I'm not complaining.  I'm glad to be here.  I just don't like being reminded of my mortality.

Take good care of yourselves, denizens.  I'm not in the mood for any more bad news.

9 comments:

  1. I always think I don't get shocked by any death. My best friend, cousin died in her mid-20s of a shock illness. Since then i've seen that happen more often than I would wish. Still at my age, death is always a possibility. I was shocked though when my one-time sister-in-law died last week-- also very abruptly. I still saw her as the age she was when my brother and she divorced. I'd heard how her life was going through his tidbits (they had two children together so they stayed connected even if I didn't). She went way before she was supposed to-- except there is no supposed to. In my own family, on my dad's side, i am the oldest one let alive. It does make you think... except not for too long. Life is to be lived while it's still here.

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    1. "there is no 'supposed to'"... as I know all too well. I try not to dwell on it, either, Rain, until it smacks me upside the head!
      a/b

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    2. oh but there is a supposed to lol It just doesn't always work out that way. The irony with my ex SIL is she lay down on her sofa and they found her there the next day after she didn't answer her phone. That is how one of my younger cousins died a few years ago. No warning, no clue it was coming. We kind of expect a warning even if it doesn't always work out that way either. It's merciful when it happens that way as it did with my mother but she was the age where it's not surprising. The other two were not and with no real illnesses ahead of time. Life definitely comes with no guarantees

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  2. Yes, 1952. When I saw that was Pat Summitt's birth year, I too was shaken. She always seemed to be such a force, and now she's gone. Way to young as far as I'm concerned. I'm hoping to live long enough to see a great grandchild which could happen in another 20 years.

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    1. TBG and I had that exact same thought -- we want to dance at FlapJilly's wedding!!
      a/b

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  3. 1952 - the year we married. Now, that'll make one think!

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    1. Amster, my best friend here in Tucson, was born in 1976,the year after we were married. It does give one cause for pause!
      a/b

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  4. It always takes me by surprise when somebody big like that dies. It's like a warning bell that it could be around the corner for me. However, I don't take it to heart. I'll live till the day I die and that will be it.

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    Replies
    1. Every day is a good day if the sun comes up and I am here to see it. That's my motto, and I'm sticking to it!!
      a/b

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