Mathias Freese writes about the writer and aging in his blogs WORKING TIME and I LOOK AROUND. (See his blogs: he’s good.) A day or two later and we’ve both aged a bit. Matt writes about what we all face much more intellectually than I could; and he seems to have moved into a better place than I have. I ask you what’s fair about contracting Parkinson’s, except in my case the disease is progressing slowly and my doctor has prescribed writing to keep the loss of memory at bay. What could be better for me?
My time for stopping hasn’t come because stopping would bring me one step closer to the inevitable. Luckily people around me argue against this inevitability and hopefully they’re right and a cure will be found in time for me. Honestly, I don’t think too much about the inevitable. It’s healthier not to. I do what I can to “power over Parkinson’s” by riding my bicycle (even when it hurts) and writing (even when I don’t have much to say). Sure, getting old sucks, but you have to decide what you’re going to do about it. I’m against meeting expectations; I’m for exceeding them.
People around me have said I’m losing my memory. My doctor, after listening to my wife, has given me medicine to slow this process down. I don’t believe them, while I’ve known the symptom of denial before. The blanks I have drawn so far have been fleeting; when I first start thinking, before I’ve turned the switch on. Yes, it seems as simple as turning a switch on. Nothing much seems different than when I was younger. I’ve never considered myself very bright. I, however, now know that I’ve often sold myself short. It was my perception of where I started from that threw me off; and if I were as limited as I thought I never would’ve caught up. And far exceeded my expectations. Actually, my father had to have been extremely intelligent, as evident by his ability to fix anything, to his building parts for airplanes, from the earliest WWII fighters to the latest jetliners.
We all know our childhood well. It has, profoundly, been a part of all of us. Our family’s history comes with our pedigree, and genes certainly have played their part; and since we can’t get away from any of this, we might as well use it. But I haven’t yet written about our reunions and my aunts and uncles, all dead now but a strange, funny lot. The historical Ford-Carder-Wright-Swink-Craft family…as I see it in my imagination…is material for me. And when I went back to Gage Oklahoma when my great uncle still lived (Uncle Lem Wright), he showed me a cement fence with a perfect arch built by my grandfather (Daddy Ford) that was still standing after a hundred years. He had built the fence as wedding present to his bride (Mamma Ford.). Before that, at age sixteen or around that age, Daddy Ford ran away from his home in Tennessee and never returned (and we never knew why, which in itself…the why…is a germ for a story). What story material! And, when there is so much more, such a wealth still, Uncle Eddie and his snipe hunt: what are snipes anyway: why do I worry about tomorrow? Why worry about tomorrow when I don’t know what’s going to happen? Why not just get busy and go for it? Who else is going to write about the Ford-Carder-Wright-Swink-Craft family? Who else will record what went on in Gage, Oklahoma? Who cares as much as I do? Well, other family members do.
Better get busy, Randy Ford