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Time Flies When You’re Flying

August 27, 2013

Ever since college I’ve lived by the credo, “Own lots of underwear. Do laundry less often.” It’s not that washing the laundry takes a lot of time, but if I’m going to spend the time doing it, I try to use that time efficiently.  

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Papa winning a hand at poker.

I spent last week with my grandfather in Florida and we quickly fell into a daily routine. Over breakfast, which always included prunes, “Keeps you regular,” Papa said (Note: In Florida, not only is this acceptable conversation, it’s preferred), I created a To Do list for the day. Our lists included errands to Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond, plus tasks like cleaning the car, changing light bulbs, and organizing his papers. At 92, little chores have become large obstacles and I was glad to help as it takes me much less time. But sometimes my quickness was too much for Papa. “Slow down sveetheart,” he’d say. “We’ve got time. All dose years I rushed and now look. For what?”

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Laundry day

One morning he woke me, holding the laundry basket. “Come, we have a busy day.” After I insisted on carrying the overflowing basket, we headed to the laundry room, Papa shuffling behind me with his cane and the detergent. On my monthly laundry jaunts the only items I separate out are workout clothes; everything else goes in together. But Papa carefully separated towels, sheets and clothing. He’s got time now for simple tasks not only because he moves slower, but because aside from watching the stock market, playing poker twice a week, and visiting doctors, there’s no longer a reason to rush.

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Papa making the bed.

Thirty minutes later we were back in the laundry room, Papa bending over the dryer. I insisted on transferring the clothes and once he was assured I was doing it right, he went outside to take in the scenery from four stories up. I soon joined him. A warm, light breeze gently kissed our cheeks as we quietly watched the folks down by the pool, a comfortable silence between us.

Back inside his air-conditioned home, Papa sat down, tired from the short walk. Willard Scott was on the “Today Show” wishing happy birthday to folks who turned 100.

“One day that’ll be you,” I told Papa.

He sighed. “I don’t vant that. Just one more good year.”

“That’s all?” I asked.

“After dat I’ll ask for another. Don’t vant to be greedy.”

“Well, you know how fast time goes, it will be here before you know it.”

“Time goes faster de faster you rush,” Papa said. “When you do things slowly like I do now, time goes slower.” He rested his head in his hands, his eyes, tired and sad from memories that won’t, can’t go away. I turned away, my eyes brimming with tears, but he saw. “Don’t vorry, sveetheart.” Papa smiled. “I’m not going anywhere yet.”

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13 Comments
  1. MARK Schwartzbaum permalink

    Thank you

  2. Anne permalink

    I love your Papa. You are very lucky to have him in your life.

  3. Edes Gilbert permalink

    So very touching and so very true. You are so lucky to have each other.

  4. Rosalie permalink

    Enjoyed the slice of a day in the life of Papa very much.

  5. Katy permalink

    Thank you for reminding me to slow down sometimes.

  6. marilyn permalink

    LOVED THIS ONE, ESPECIALLY THE PICTURES. WISHING YOU & YOUR FAMILY A VERY HAPPY & HEALTHY NEW YEAR & WE HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON.
    LOVE,
    MARILYN & NORM

  7. Felice, you are blessed to have such great relationships with your parents and your grandparents. This was a lovely post – can feel the love in your family :))

  8. Deborah Golden permalink

    Papa – you are so lovable. Felice darling your latest writing brings such tears to my eyes and an ache to my heart…in a good way. Your Papa is a realist and a smart man. After all he has been through in his life he continues to amaze me. Your life stories bring me great joy and thinking back to all those years ago that we met, I know it was a very lucky day for me.

  9. Phyllis permalink

    Thank you for sharing your Papa

  10. RAB permalink

    I called my mother after I read this blog. She is now almost 102. Maybe we could fix them up? Just kidding. She did not want to be on Willard Scott’s Smucker jar for her 100 birthday, but she did love getting a letter from the President and his wife.

    Your reminded me of all the wonderful quiet times I still have with her. I treasure every phone call that ends with” I love you, my darling” and each day that she is still here to say it. Your story reminded me of how lucky we are to have them in our lives.

  11. james nomikos permalink

    how blessed you are…Naomi

  12. Jeanne Schwartzbaum permalink

    Felice-I really enjoyed reading this story about your time with papa. I felt like I was there with both of you. I am so happy that you were with him. He really is the greatest and I am so lucky to have him as my father in law for the past 35 years (especially after losing my father when I was 12 yrs. old). My eyes were also brimming with tears just reading your story. Love, Jeanne

  13. Theresa permalink

    Chief! This is absolutely most precious! I Love Papa and what you two share.

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