We had turkey over at Mom & Pop's on Saturday. They had Joan over who has been a friend of the family since I was born. She and her husband were very close friends of my parents. Murray passed away a couple years ago and that hit the old folks pretty hard.
It was kinda awkward at times but we muddled through. My parents are at that age where they're old and stupid. It happens to all of us where we get old, disconnected with the times and realities and start living in our own bubbles. After Joan packed it in after supper and drove home, Mom regaled us with how bat-shit crazy Joan has become. I winced in sympathy pain when it came to light that Joan was at war with her daughter in law. Why do old women pick fights like that? They have to lose; if they win families break up and everyone loses. I'll say this for my parents - they have always respected my wife and I and stayed out of our affairs - and I love them and thank them for it. Joan lived with her kids and I think she really needed time with people her own age. But who knows, Mom is more than a little batty herself.
Unca Don isn't doing too well apparently. He's downsizing, de-cluttering and cleaning up in preparation of selling his big house that he's lived in since I was born. He comes from an age when intellectuals and academics were still respected, and were - for the most part, respectable. Of course today they're mostly conceited assholes and intellectual poseurs that couldn't find their own ass with both hands. But back in the day Unca Don was a respectable intellect that published books, held political office and was still a good man despite being solidly liberal. Of course today most liberals are all assholes too - the man is a living artifact from better times when we were better people. His library has to go - and the sad old man discovered that people no longer wanted books anymore. He managed to donate some to the homeless shelters and such - but was forced to throw many away. Books were holy things to him, as was education. Today I shop for books in my underwear and order whatever I want online. I don't have to put up with endless, overflowing book cases or trashy paperbacks. I suspect everyone else is the same. Nobody with an intellect respects public educators anymore, or university professors or books. Poor Unca Don is obsolete and irrelevant - and he knows it and he will not let it destroy him or make him bitter. He's in his 80's now, at the lowest point in his life - and yet I suspect that his last hours on this earth will be his finest - and only a handful of people will see it. He doesn't complain, or feel sorry for himself, or whine about it - but it is clear that he has to struggle greatly to accept it. That is real nobility - or, at least, I think so.
Pop and I clashed on politics afterward. He was pissed right off about Trump and his treatment of women and his mud slinging. Gently I told Pop that they were both slinging shit as fast as they could throw it, that Bill Clinton was a serial rapist that Hillary covered for, and all this talk of Trump's sexual malfeasance came suspiciously close to the election - where have these rape victims been for the last forty years and why didn't they come forward then? Well, Pop - he was stunned. Pop is much like his big brother. He knows truth when he sees it and will not throw it to the winds in exchange for warm fuzzy beliefs as my mother will. He wanted to say something - but fiddled with his wine glass in silence. I sipped coffee and left it at that. Pop was a respectable liberal too, of sorts.
It's strange. Our family dinners used to be loud and boisterous with all the class of a Viking hall where all the barbarians got pissed up and argued and laughed and loved with gusto. Today, they're quiet, thoughtful affairs where we tread lightly and gently. Old folks get fragile in many ways.
Such is life, I guess, and soon it will be our time. May God grant me the strength to handle it as my ancestors do.